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Washington State Passes Five Laws Expanding Access And Protections For Abortions, Gender Transitions

  On Thursday, the state of Washington passed five laws to expand access to and enhance protections for both abortions and gender transition...

 On Thursday, the state of Washington passed five laws to expand access to and enhance protections for both abortions and gender transition procedures.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, claimed in his blog that abortions and gender transitioning constituted freedom.

“The right of choice is an issue of freedom,” stated Inslee. “Health care must remain the providence [sic] of individual Washingtonians. These laws will keep the tentacles of oppressive and overreaching states out of Washington.”

One of the bills, SB 5768 from Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Karen Keiser, authorized the Washington Department of Corrections to distribute a three-year supply, 30,000 doses, of mifepristone — the abortion drug that the governor purchased last month. Inslee managed to secure the abortion drug three days before the District Court for the Northern District of Texas ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revoke authorization of the drug.

Upon Senate passage of the bill earlier this month, Keiser touted mifepristone’s safety and efficacy. However, concerns continue to exist over the safety of the drug. 22 attorneys general petitioned the FDA in a letter earlier this year to reverse its decision allowing retail pharmacies to dispense abortion pills.

The concerns over the abortion drug’s safety predate increased focus brought on by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last summer. In 2021, over 100 U.S. senators and congressmen petitioned the FDA to enforce safety precautions for its distribution after the agency overturned a Trump-era rule requiring women to obtain mifepristone in person from a medical provider.

In February, Texas Rep. August Pfluger and Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, both Republicans, claimed that reporting requirements on the safety and efficacy of mifepristone are weak, and that at least dozens of deaths and hundreds of life-threatening complications have arisen from mifepristone. Pfluger and Hyde-Smith accused the FDA of abusing pathways allowing the expedited approval of drugs by categorizing pregnancy as an “illness” and mifepristone as a “meaningful therapeutic benefit.”

In another bill signed into Washington law, HB 1469 by Democratic State Rep. Drew Hansen, the state was made a safe haven for abortions and gender transition procedures. The law prohibits compliance with other states’ subpoenas, prevents compliance with other states’ investigations, and bans extraditions for violators of other states’ abortion and gender transitioning laws.

Hansen’s bill, also called the “Shield Law,” has been in the works ever since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision last summer.

The third bill, HB 1340 from Democratic State Rep. Marcus Riccelli, shields health care providers from disciplinary action or license revocation related to abortions or gender transition procedures given to patients residing in not only Washington, but other states. Meaning, abortionists punished under other states’ laws could still retain their license in Washington.

The fourth bill, HB 1155 by Democratic Rep. Vandana Slatter, requires companies to obtain consent for any consumer health data, as well as prohibits geofencing certain locations for data collection and sales. One of the main purposes of the legislation was to protect women who receive abortions or those who receive gender-transitioning procedures.

The fifth bill, SB 5242 by Democratic State Sen. Annette Cleveland, prohibits health carriers from imposing cost-sharing for abortions.

In addition to these five bills, Inslee announced that the state of Washington plans to allocate over $15 million over the next two years to subsidize abortions. However, Keiser noted on Thursday that there could be up to $23 million set aside for abortion clinics.

“We can’t let extremist judges in other states take away reproductive freedom from the women of Washington,” stated Keiser.

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