OLYMPIA — The Washington State Senate passed House Bill 1469 today, protecting those who pursue or provide legal reproductive care in the state. Introduced by State Rep. Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island), the Shield Law is a robust legal response to other states that have moved to criminalize or impose civil liability for reproductive care in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.
“As soon as the draft Dobbs decision leaked, we knew other states would be creative and aggressive in restricting access to abortion. We also knew that we would need to be creative and aggressive in fighting back,” said Hansen. “We are committed to using every tool we have available to protect people in Washington from the reach of anti-abortion laws in Texas and elsewhere.”
Once signed, the Shield Law will:
- Prohibit the issuance of out-of-state subpoenas seeking information related to abortion & reproductive health care services.
- Prohibit out-of-state criminal investigations & arrests seeking communication and other evidence related to abortion & reproductive health care services.
- Prohibit the Governor from extraditing any person for out-of-state charges regarding reproductive health care services.
- Provide a cause of action to recoup damages and other legal costs for hostile out-of-state lawsuits related to reproductive health care services.
- Protect health care service providers from harassment for providing protected health care services.
“Washington has a long tradition of protecting individuals’ rights to privacy and bodily autonomy,” said Courtney Normand, Washington State Director, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. “In this moment, we see overzealous prosecutors and lawmakers in hostile states – such as our neighbor, Idaho – pursuing laws and policies that try to impose civil fines, criminal liability, or professional discipline outside of their own borders. We are proud of Washington state leaders demonstrating that they will do everything in their power to protect the fundamental rights of health care providers and patients. Providers and patients should never have to fear being investigated or jailed for providing or obtaining legal health care services, including abortion and gender affirming care. We commend the legislature for passing HB 1469 and especially thank Rep. Drew Hansen and Sen. Yasmin Trudeau for championing this critical legislation.”
The Shield Law is part of a comprehensive package of bills introduced by House & Senate Democrats this session that would protect private health data (HB 1155), eliminate co-pays and deductible requirements for abortion (SB 5242), and block out-of-state disciplinary action against doctors and nurses who provide legal reproductive care to their patients (HB 1340). Its passage also comes shortly after the state announced it was purchasing a 3-year supply of mifepristone to ensure residents continue to have access to medication abortion.
The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 29 to 20—after passing the House with bipartisan support last month. The bill will now be sent to the governor’s desk for his signature.
A video of Hansen speaking about the bill can be found by clicking here.
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