OLYMPIA, Wash. — Editor's note: The above video on the post-Roe rise in vasectomies originally aired Dec. 4.
Two Washington state legislators have filed a constitutional amendment that would protect access to abortions and contraception.
Senate Joint Resolution 8202, proposed by state Senators Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) and Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), would enshrine in the state constitution the individual right to make decisions about reproductive rights.
“For 50 years, the right to reproductive freedom has been the settled law of the land,” Keiser said in a statement. “After the U.S. Supreme Court’s radical decision to repeal that right, our state has a responsibility to step up and guarantee that every Washingtonian retains the fundamental right to choose when and whether to have children. The Court’s recent actions setting aside state laws is a signal that state statutes need the backing of clear and specific constitutional rights.”
Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds supermajority vote in both chambers and approval by a majority of voters in a general election.
The amendment comes at the request of Gov. Jay Inslee, who vowed to protect reproductive rights in the state after Roe v. Wade was overturned earlier this year.
In October, Inslee announced several policy proposals related to protecting abortion rights, including protecting Washington's status as a sanctuary state for abortion and reducing restrictions and obstacles to gender-affirming care.
"Access to a woman's right of choice is a health care issue," Inslee said in a press conference. "Health care must remain the providence of individual Washington women. These laws will keep the tentacles of restrictive states out of Washington."
The sanctuary policy would help protect patients from states like Texas or Idaho from being punished for lawfully seeking and receiving legal health care services in Washington state.
Another policy would ensure that care remains affordable, accessible and held to a high standard of quality. It will also combat extralegal restrictions imposed by health systems blocking patients from lawful abortion or gender-affirming care.
Inslee issued a directive on July 1 instructing the Washington State Patrol to not cooperate with out-of-state abortion investigations, a preemptive move in case states where abortion is banned or significantly restricted seek to investigate whether their residents have traveled to the state.
The governor also signed a bill on March 17 to prohibit abortion lawsuits in Washington state.
The 105-day legislative session is scheduled to begin on Jan. 9.