OLYMPIA, Wash. — A series of bills were introduced to the state Legislature Tuesday to strengthen abortion rights and make the procedure more accessible and affordable.
In the morning session, Governor Jay Inslee testified in front of the Senate Health & Long Term Care committee on behalf of SJR 8202. The bill would make abortion a constitutional right in Washington. During his testimony, Inslee said that no legislator has the right to force a woman to endure an unwanted pregnancy
SJR 8202 would need a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate in order to pass. If it does, it would be put up for a special vote, and if Washingtonians vote to approve, the amendment ensuring abortion as a state constitutional right could go into effect later this year.
Meanwhile, dozens gathered outside the Capitol building to call for lawmakers to protect and strengthen abortion rights. But others showed up to the Capitol to oppose the legislation.
Steven McLain of Tiny Heartbeat Ministries stood across from the Capitol building and called for the end of abortion wholesale, and to explore other alternatives to unwanted pregnancies.
“The specifics of the legislation are less interesting to our group than the actual practice of abortion. Anything that is in support of abortion, we are opposed to,” he stated. “On principle, we would want to see the end of abortion completely, and that will very likely involve additional resources going to providing homes for those children and resources for those mothers so they don’t feel like they have to turn towards abortion.”
Meanwhile, Kia Guarino of the organization Pro-Choice Washington says that this kind of legislation is necessary and as frustrating as it was to see Roe v. Wade overturned months ago, it showed her how much work needs to be done to strengthen access to reproductive healthcare.
“This work has to continue, we have to show up like this in order to show that Washington majority believes that our rights are sacred,” Guarino explained. “In many ways, Roe was just the floor of where we wanted to be, and was covering up a lot of the access issues that we were seeing amplified today,” she said. “So the silver lining, if there is one, is that we see the urgency and the essential nature of closing gaps in access now more than ever.”