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Councilmember Sawant wants Seattle to be an 'abortion rights sanctuary'

The announcement follows the United States Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.

SEATTLE — City Councilmember Kshama Sawant wants to make Seattle a sanctuary for anyone facing prosecution related to abortions.

Sawant's office plans to introduce that legislation, along with a budget amendment to make abortion free for anyone from states that have anti-abortion law and for all Seattle residents.

The announcement follows the United States Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. The 6-3 ruling was handed down Friday morning. 

“Today, we face the single biggest attack on women, queer and pregnant people, and reproductive rights in most of our lifetimes, and this right-wing Supreme Court has also given every indication that they plan to carry out draconian attacks on LGBTQ rights," Sawant said in a prepared statement. "Working people cannot rely on the Democratic Party and their NGO allies, who failed to mount a fight against the right. We must get independently organized."

Sawant's legislation, according to her office, would prevent police from arresting people - patients or doctors - for warrants related to anti-abortion laws around the country.

“If my socialist council office’s legislation to make Seattle a sanctuary for abortion rights passes, and if you have had an abortion or are an abortion doctor or other care provider, come to Seattle," Sawant's statement reads. "If you can make it here, the warrant for your arrest will not go away, but police in Seattle will be instructed not to act on that warrant."

At the state level, Gov. Jay Inslee released a joint statement with the governors of Oregon and California announcing a commitment between them to "defend access to reproductive health care" and to protect "patients and doctors against efforts by other states to export their abortion bans to our states.” 

“The law remains unchanged in Washington state, but the threat to patient access and privacy has never been more dangerous. Even in Washington state, Republicans have introduced about 40 bills in the past six years to roll back abortion rights and access to reproductive care," the statement read, in part.

In March, Inslee signed a measure into law prohibiting legal action against people seeking an abortion and those who aid them. However, in an interview with KING 5 Friday morning, Inslee said if Republicans get the majority in the state of Washington, they would move to ban abortions in the state "in a heartbeat."

State Republican leaders countered Inslee, saying they don't expect to change state law.

"Nothing will change in the state of Washington," said state Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic, "This is a pro-choice state."

Maycumber said even if Republicans gained a majority in Olympia this fall, the governor would still have the ability to veto any abortion-related legislation.

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