OLYMPIA, Wash. – In fiery remarks by the state Capitol steps, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Saturday blasted the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade as “radical” and “un-American,” and called for a state constitutional amendment to protect the right to an abortion.
He said he would instruct the State Patrol not to cooperate with law enforcement officials from other states who may be seeking to prosecute violations of their states’ abortion laws as people travel to Washington seeking abortions.
Inslee said he plans to work to boost health care resources, starting with $1 million, to deal with an expected increase in people coming to the state for abortion care.
Inslee called out former Vice President Mike Pence and Republican plans for broader curbs on abortion that would reach to Washington state and declared, “we intend to stop them.” He lamented the end of an era of politics when a number of Republicans, too, were “pro-choice.”
He also took worried note of Supreme Court Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Friday’s overturning of Roe v. Wade that same-sex marriage should be reconsidered.
Inslee’s press conference with reporters at the Capitol follows his announcement Friday — within hours of the end of the constitutional right to an abortion — that he had joined with fellow Democratic governors from California and Oregon in what they called a “Multi-state Commitment” to defend reproductive health care, including abortion and contraceptives.
These states are expected to see a surge of patients seeking abortions from other states, such as Idaho, where anti-abortion laws will soon take effect, and the three-governor initiative is intended to expand access and protections for patients, as well as providers, who come to these states to seek or assist with abortion care.
“Washington state remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the ability and right of every patient who comes to our state in need of abortion care, and we will fight like hell to restore that right to patients all across the county,” Inslee said in a Friday statement.
Inslee in 2018 signed the Reproduction Parity Act that requires all health plans that include maternity care services to cover abortion and contraception. In 2021, he signed a law that allows doctors who practice in Catholic-run hospitals to bypass ethical-religious directors and provide medically necessary abortion when a woman’s life is in danger, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
On Saturday, Inslee was joined by several state legislators, including state Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, and state Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, as well as Washington state director of Planned Parenthood Courtney Normand.
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