Rep. Thai Attends White House Convening on Reproductive Rights

OLYMPIA -Two weeks ago, Vice-President Kamala Harris and the White House convened more than eighty state legislators from forty-one states fighting on the frontlines for reproductive rights. Of those eighty, Representatives My-Linh Thai (D-Bellevue) and Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island) were in attendance.

A little over one year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade forcing the Washington state legislature – among others, to take decisive action to protect the fundamental right to reproductive health care. During the convening, White House officials met with Rep. Thai to share the President’s commitment to protecting access to reproductive health care at the federal level, and to discuss the Washington legislatures’ progress on this issue.

“In our state, we believe every individual has the right to their own reproductive autonomy,” said Rep. Thai. “Last June, I vividly remember seeing and hearing the anxiety our community faced in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision. I felt it was very important to share the successes we’ve had as a state as a source of inspiration and solidarity for legislators in state’s struggling to pass similar protections.”

During the 2023 legislative session, House Democrats moved to pass a package of legislation focused on reproductive rights. Key legislation included:

  • a first in the nation law to protect private health data (HB 1155)
  • protecting providers from disciplinary action for providing legal care (HB 1340)
  • protecting those who pursue or provide reproductive care (HB 1469)
  • eliminating co-pays and deductive requirements for abortion care (SB 5242)
  • creating a state stockpile of mifepristone for distribution (SB 5768)

To reduce the disproportionate impact caused by lack of health care access, House Democrats invested over $24 million for reproductive health services provided by the Department of Health, Department of Corrections, and for contraceptive vending machines on college campuses.

Rep. Thai added, “My colleagues and I knew we had to act quickly to send a message to the Supreme Court, the President, and Republicans in Congress that we won’t let Washingtonians be victims of the anti-choice laws being enacted nationwide”.

Looking to the future, House Democrats are working with stakeholders and federal partners to pass reproductive health care protections at the federal level and enshrining the right to reproductive care in the state constitution.