2023 Session Victories: Reproductive Care and LGBTQ Rights

Dear friends and neighbors,

Rep. Jinkins selfie on top of Tacoma Dome with Pride flag

Over the last year I’ve found myself thinking about Washington’s role as a beacon of hope.

June is Pride month for most of the nation (although Tacoma celebrates Pride in July) but this year we’re also recognizing the one-year anniversary of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Pride has always been an act of resistance, a celebration of the fact that queer people are here to stay, and that we deserve equal rights, protections, and access. Earlier this year the Secretary of State’s office had an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of marriage equality in Washington state. In my remarks I reflected on how much has changed in my lifetime, and the courage from so many people who helped make that change possible. As other states enact cruel and discriminatory policies designed to actively harm transgender youth, eliminate queer people, and push us out of public life, we need to be courageous in our defense and support of LGBTQ people, especially our youth.

Similarly, across the nation we’ve seen a coordinated attack on abortion access, reproductive health care, and bodily autonomy. Last year the Supreme Court of the United States decided to undo longstanding legal precedent to strip away rights from millions of people. Since then, many states have restricted or banned abortions and other kinds of reproductive care. The people of Washington state enshrined abortion access into state law by initiative, and we’ve expanded those protections through legislation and budgetary investments.

However, if there is anything I’ve learned in over 30 years of advocacy, the work continues. Below I’ll go over some of the work we did this session to expand protections for LGBTQ people and for people accessing reproductive care.

I am immensely proud of Washington for being a place people can look to for hope. I hope you are, too.

Laurie Jinkins eSignature

This session we solidified access to abortions and reproductive care.

We passed legislation shielding patients and providers of reproductive care and gender-affirming care from retribution by other states. By ensuring that states like Texas cannot reach into Washington to implement their archaic and punitive laws, we can ensure care remains available for people who need it in Washington state.

We also passed the My Health, My Data Act which protects the right to reproductive care by blocking websites and apps from collecting and sharing sensitive health data.

We know that protecting access to abortion, reproductive care, and gender-affirming care in Washington also means protecting our providers. We passed legislation to ensure they cannot be disciplined for providing care in accordance with Washington state law, no matter where their patients live.

Finally, we passed legislation ensuring that Washingtonians will continue to have access to a safe abortion pill, Mifepristone, regardless of pending federal lawsuits.

These bills are supported by a $24 million investment in reproductive health services to ensure that Washington providers can meet the increased need for services in our state as people come here to get the care they need.

LGBTQ people are under attack across the country, with much of the focus on the transgender community and LGBTQ youth. That’s why we expanded protections for LGBTQ people this session, with a focus on protecting those most at risk.

I mentioned gender-affirming care in a couple of the reproductive rights bills; that ensures providers can continue to offer gender-affirming care, whether their patients live in Washington state or somewhere else, without fear of retaliation from states that oppose bodily autonomy.

In addition to those protections, we passed legislation to help get homeless transgender youth into housing, offering protections for homeless youth seeking gender-affirming treatment. We also passed legislation that makes it easier to seal name change records, protecting transgender people and making it safer for them to seek housing, employment, or medical care.

The data on mental health for LGBTQ youth and particularly transgender youth is devastating. These kids need a loving and supportive community, and they need to be able to see a future where they can live and thrive. I hope Washington can help provide that hope.

I’d also like to remind you about my upcoming community conversations. These are intended to be small group discussions so please stop by to ask questions or talk about issues that are important to you!

Thursday, July 13th from 2-3pm at the Fife Pierce County Library, 6622 20th St E, Fife, WA 98424

Thursday, July 27th from 6-7pm at the Center at Norpoint, 4818 Nassau Ave NE, Tacoma, WA 98422

Tuesday, August 29th from 11:30am-12:30pm at Heritage Coffee and Plant House, 2310 Court A, Tacoma, WA 98402

Tuesday, September 5th from 12:30-1:30pm at Tacoma Public Library South Tacoma Branch, 3411 S 56th St, Tacoma, WA 98409