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Some Washington lawmakers take stand against restrictive Texas abortion law

Representatives Suzan DelBene and Kim Schrier are backing the Women's Health Protection Act.

SEATTLE — A new restrictive abortion law in Texas has caused a tidal wave of controversy across the United States, causing people like Sammy Detzer in western Washington to tell their story.

"I had an abortion on May 20, 2015. I was nine weeks pregnant,” Detzer said.

Detzer said her choice to have an abortion isn't something she looks back on in shame. So, when she heard about Texas' new abortion law, she was distraught.

"My first thought was deep fear and sadness and I began thinking about what I would have done in that circumstance,” she explained.

The new Texas abortion law is one of the most restrictive in the country.

"A bill that I'm about to sign that ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbot while signing the bill into law.

The law makes abortion illegal after six weeks. It allows private citizens to sue abortion providers, as well as anyone who facilitates abortions, such as Uber drivers who provide rides to an abortion clinic and it entitles people who win those lawsuits up to $10,000.

"There is a lot of businesses and a lot of Americans who like the social positions that the state of Texas is taking,” Abbot said.

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Some Washington state lawmakers argue it could set a precedent for other states to pass similar bans.

"The law is draconian. It's frankly appalling and it's blatantly unconstitutional," said Washington Rep. Suzan DelBene.

DelBene and Rep. Kim Schrier are backing the Women's Health Protection Act, which would create a statutory right for abortion care, and remove restrictions like mandatory waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds and two-trip requirements.

"This is the law to protect against restrictive and medically unnecessary bans like the ones in Texas and Mississippi,” DelBene said.

However, anti-abortion advocates spoke out against the act, saying it would invalidate federal limits on abortion and overturn state abortion legislation.

“The Women's Health Protection Act is designed to remove all legal protections for unborn children on both the federal and state level,” Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said in a statement. “The bill would invalidate most federal limits on abortion, including federal conscience protection laws and most, if not all, limits on government funding of abortion. Even legislation enacted by states to protect babies in the final months of pregnancy would be overturned.”

If the Women's Health Protection Act goes to a vote and passes the House, it would have a tough time passing in the Senate, which is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

Most legislation requires the support of at least 60 lawmakers to advance in the Senate.


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