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Washington Reacts to the Overturn of Roe v. Wade

Our national partisan divide is apparent at the state level, too.

By Seattle Met Staff June 24, 2022

We knew it was coming, but that hardly made the news less jarring. This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

In Washington, abortion rights have, and will remain, protected by Initiative 120. But the ruling's effect on the health care of our regional neighbors leaves many in our blue state left to flail.

Locally, elected Democrats and advocacy group leaders swiftly censured the court's decision while stressing that abortion access here remains. Meanwhile, the state's Republican delegation in the other Washington just as quickly lauded the ruling.

Gov. Jay Inslee

"Red states and Republican-backed courts have rolled back the rights of Americans," Inslee said in a pre-recorded video message with California Governor Gavin Newsom and Oregon Governor Kate Brown. He later added in a joint statement from the West Coast leaders: "Washington state remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the ability and right of every patient who comes to our state in need of abortion care, and we will fight like hell to restore that right to patients all across the country."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal

"Today, a decades-long project of the extreme right-wing has come to fruition: the Supreme Court has overturned the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade," the West Seattle resident tweeted. "As one of the one in four women in this country who has had an abortion, I am outraged at what this will mean for those who need abortion care—particularly those who will be most harmed by this decision: Black and Brown women and those who can’t afford to travel for care."

Senator Patty Murray

"Today, Republicans dragged this country backwards by half a century," Murray said in a statement. "Republicans ripped away our rights and made this generation the first generation of American women with fewer rights than their mothers. Republicans are forcing women to stay pregnant and give birth when they don’t want to—no matter the circumstances. Republicans are even passing laws to jail women who get abortions and the doctors who provide them."

Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Indiana, Kentucky

"It is my promise to every person in Washington that Planned Parenthood will never back down. We will keep fighting with everything we’ve got to ensure that everyone can access the care you need to control your body and your life. I want to be clear: Planned Parenthood will always be here to help you get the care you need. Abortion remains safe and legal in Washington, and our health centers are open and ready to provide you care."

Kia Guarino, executive director, Pro-Choice Washington

"We are in an ominous place when the Supreme Court no longer represents the American people—the majority of whom believe in the legal right to abortion. In the face of the deliberate erosion of our most protective institutions, we cannot give up hope or power. Each of us has the right to speak out and to vote and we must exercise this right even in the context of an imperfect democracy."

King County Executive Dow Constantine

"Even though Washington state law protects the right to abortion care, we know that neighboring states are poised to impose some of the strictest and most punitive abortion bans our nation has ever seen," Constantine, a Democrat, said in a statement. "Health care providers and public health leaders are bracing for an influx of people traveling to Washington state and King County to obtain an abortion.... It is clear that the Court’s sinister decision will not actually stop abortions from happening—it will, rather, take us back to a time when abortions were not safe."

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

"This is one of the most momentous days in American history for the dignity and sanctity of every human life," the Republican from Eastern Washington tweeted. "This is just the beginning of a new era to define the human rights issue of our generation and to provide care, hope, and support for moms and their children at every stage of their lives." 

Rep. Dan Newhouse

"The Declaration of Independence states that every individual has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," the Republican from Central Washington tweeted. "Whether or not we maintain the sanctity of life as one of our highest priorities is an indication of our national commitment to our founding documents. Today's decision is a victory for our most vulnerable and a firm statement upholding the God-given rights for all Americans. I am proudly pro-life and will continue to work to protect the lives of innocent children."

Mark Suzman, CEO, Gates Foundation

"Every woman should have the right to decide whether and when to have children," Suzman tweeted. "@GatesFoundation is committed to achieving a gender-equal world and confronting health inequities. Ensuring women and girls have autonomy over their health, bodies, and futures is fundamental to achieving this."

Sue Bird, Seattle Storm

The GOAT, who is playing her last season in the WNBA, kept it simple. "Gutted," she tweeted, with a broken-heart emoji.

Betina Judd, associate professor of gender, women and sexuality studies, University of Washington

"States where abortions are legal will have to carry the load," the associate professor said in a statement, later adding, "We're not just thinking about what the Supreme Court might deem our rights and what local courts might deem our rights, but what is just."

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