Washington does not adequately protect women from the negative consequences of abortion nor does it protect the unborn from criminal violence. Washington has failed to enact commonsense, publicly supported laws such as informed consent, parental involvement, abortion clinic regulations, and fetal homicide. It was also the first state to explicitly permit physician-assisted suicide.
- Washington maintains a “Freedom of Choice Act.” The Act mandates a right to abortion even if Roe v. Wade is eventually overturned, specifically providing: “The sovereign people hereby declare that every individual possesses a fundamental right of privacy with respect to personal reproductive decisions. Accordingly, it is the public policy of the [S]tate of Washington that: (1) Every individual has the fundamental right to choose or refuse birth control; (2) Every woman has the fundamental right to choose or refuse to have an abortion…; (3) … the state shall not deny or interfere with a woman’s fundamental right to choose or refuse to have an abortion; and (4) the state shall not discriminate against the exercise of these rights in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.”
- A state voter initiative declared: “The state may not deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion prior to viability of the fetus, or to protect her life or health.”
- Washington does not have an informed consent law for abortion, parental involvement law for minors seeking abortion, or abortion clinic regulations.
- Only a physician licensed in Washington may perform an abortion.
- The state has an enforceable abortion reporting law, but does not require the reporting of information to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The measure pertains to both surgical and nonsurgical abortions and requires abortion providers to report short-term complications.
- Washington taxpayers are required by statute to fund “medically necessary” abortions for women receiving state public assistance. It must also provide benefits, services, or information to permit women to obtain abortions if it provides comparable maternity care benefits, services, or information.
- Washington protects physical access to abortion clinics and curtails the First Amendment rights of pro-life sidewalk counselors and demonstrators.
Legal Recognition and Protection of Unborn and Newly Born:
- Under Washington criminal law, the killing of an unborn child after “quickening” is defined as a form of homicide.
- The state allows a wrongful death (civil) action when a viable unborn child is killed through negligence or a criminal act.
- Under Washington law, “the right of medical treatment of an infant born alive in the course of an abortion procedure shall be the same as the right of an infant born prematurely of equal gestational age.” Thus, the state has created a specific affirmative duty of physicians to provide medical care and treatment to infants born alive at any stage of development.
- Washington has enacted a “Baby Moses” law, establishing a safe haven for mothers to legally leave their infants at designated places and ensuring the infants receive appropriate care and protection.
- The state funds drug treatment programs for pregnant women and newborns.
- Washington law does not prohibit human cloning, destructive embryo research, or fetal experimentation.
- All persons licensed to provide prenatal care or practice medicine must provide information to all pregnant women regarding the differences between public and private umbilical cord blood banking and the opportunity to donate the blood and tissue extracted from the placenta and umbilical cord following delivery.
- Washington maintains no meaningful regulation of egg harvesting or assisted reproductive technologies.
- The Uniform Parentage Act includes “donation of embryos” in its definition of “assisted reproduction.”
End of Life Laws:
- Washington has legalized physician-assisted suicide (PAS) by voter initiative. The initiative creates financial incentives for healthcare insurance companies to deny coverage for life-saving treatment and to pressure vulnerable patients to choose PAS—a practice already occurring in Oregon. Moreover, the initiative does not provide safeguards for those suffering from treatable mental illness, such as depression, and requires physicians participating in patient suicides to falsify death certificates.
- The initiative superseded a prior law which made assisted suicide a felony. That law had been upheld in the landmark case of Washington v. Glucksberg, where the U.S. Supreme Court refused to recognize a federal constitutional right to assisted suicide.