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Seattle Police Department won't enforce other states' abortion laws, mayor says

At the same press conference, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal suggested it was time for a women's strike in the United States.

SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department will not help enforce abortion laws in other states, Mayor Bruce Harrell said Monday. 

Harrell spoke about the City of Seattle's next steps to protect abortion care at a press conference hosted by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, in response to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Harrell and many others talked about increasing protections for women coming to Washington from other states seeking an abortion.

"The city of Seattle will not engage in punitive and reactionary efforts to enforce this aggressive assault on our constituents' bodies," Harrell said. "The Seattle Police Department... will not participate in enforcing the criminal laws of other states that are inconsistent with Washington laws and most importantly our values."

Harrell previously committed $250,000 of the city's money to go toward the Northwest Abortion Access Fund. After the ruling came out, City Councilmember Kshama Sawant also announced she plans to introduce legislation to make the city an "abortion rights sanctuary."

At the federal level, Jayapal said she expects the House to introduce a package of bills in response to the Supreme Court's decision. Jayapal said she wasn't certain what the bills would cover, but that she believes they should aim to codify abortion protections and other landmark Supreme Court decisions brought into question by Friday's ruling. 

Jayapal also mentioned the 1975 Icelandic women's strike, when women left their jobs and refused to cook or look after children to protest unequal pay. 

"It is time to consider such a move here in the United States," Jayapal said.

UW Medicine Dr. Jennifer Chin also spoke at Monday's press conference, warning the decision will have devastating impacts on women's health. 

"Pregnant people will die as a result of this decision," Chin said. "Not only will this affect patients seeking to end their pregnancy, this will have devastating ripple effects on all pregnant people: patients experiencing miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, pregnancy complications, psychiatric issues and yes, parents seeking abortions will suffer."

In response to the press conference, the Washington State Republican Party called Democrats' priorities "telling," saying the party has "done nothing as Washington families struggle with inflation, rising gas prices and a baby formula shortage."

The statement continued: 

"[Democrats] took a $15 billion budget surplus and spent it all without giving a penny back to the hardworking people of Washington State. 

"After the Dobbs decision, Democrats immediately want to make abortion a central campaign issue to distract from their party’s abysmal record both nationally and locally. Our state has already codified abortion rules in state law. 

"The voters will see through this blatant posturing in November and will cast their votes for change on the top issues they are consistently telling us about at the doorstep: restoring public safety, restoring affordability, and restoring accountability between our political leaders and the voters – all areas where Democrats are failing miserably.”


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