Many Washington state politicians released statements on Friday following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Under the Court’s ruling in Dobbs, individual states are no longer restricted from placing legal limits on non-late term abortions, a restriction first put into place in the Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Read more on the ruling on page Main 13.
President Joe Biden:
“Today the Supreme Court of the United States expressly took away a constitutional right from the American people that it had already recognized. They didn’t limit it, they simply took it away … (Roe v. Wade) was a decision on a complex matter, a careful balance between a woman’s right to choose early in a pregnancy and a state’s ability to regulate later in a pregnancy,” Biden said, “State laws banning abortion are automotaically taking effect today jepordizing the health of millions of women, some without exceptions. So extreme that women can be punished for protecting their health. So extreme that women and girls are forced to bear their rapist’s child, it just stuns me. So extreme that doctors will be criminalized for fulfilling their duty to care. Imagine having a young woman having to carry a child as a consequence of incest, no option. Too often the case, poor women are going to be hit the hardest. It’s cruel,” Biden added, “Let me be very clear and unambiguous. The only way we can secure a woman’s right to choose in the balance that existed, is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade as federal law. No executive action from the president can do that. And if congress, as it appears, lacks the votes to do that now, voters need to make their voices heard.”
“This fall, Roe is on the ballot,” said Biden. “I call on everyone, no matter how deeply they care about this decision, to keep all protests peaceful, peaceful, peaceful, peaceful. No intimidation, violence is never acceptable. Threats and intimidation are not speech. We must stand against violence of any form, regardless of your rationale … This decision must not be the final word.”
Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia:
“Today’s decision does not affect the law here in Washington. Even my Democrat colleagues have been quick to point out that our laws protect access to abortion procedures. However, better support for pregnant women who choose to give birth should be a common goal for all of us, regardless of our politics. Compassion and empathy, rather than hostility, should be the universal approach. I’m hoping this is how we all move forward.”
U.S. Senator Patty Murray:
“Today, Republicans dragged this country backwards by half a century,” Murray said, “Every American needs to understand that this is a real crisis that will affect millions of people across this country, including here in Washington state — Republicans are pushing for a federal abortion ban and Roe v. Wade is no longer settled law. But we aren’t going to stand idly by while they rip away abortion rights, or go after birth control next. We are going to stand up and fight back with our voices and our votes — to protect the right of every woman to make her own health care decisions. The American people will not forget Republicans’ cruelty — not today, not tomorrow, and not this November.”
Gov. Jay Inslee:
“The law remains unchanged in Washington state, but the threat to patient access and privacy has never been more dangerous. Even in Washington state, Republicans have introduced about 40 bills in the past six years to roll back abortion rights and access to reproductive care,” said Governor Jay Inslee in a statement. “The right of choice should not depend on which party holds the majority, but that’s where we find ourselves … 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.”
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell:
“This is a sad and tragic day in America. Millions of Americans are losing their rights to control their own bodies and their own healthcare,” Cantwell wrote, “Americans could now be criminalized for exercising their personal right of if and when to start a family, and be at risk of suffering life-altering pregnancy complications or death — and their doctors and nurses could be thrown in jail. I am hopeful that Americans will respond, as we always have when our rights are taken away. The 70% of Americans who agree must have their voices heard on the constitutional right to privacy. I’m calling on all Americans who believe in this right to exercise their voice and their vote. Every legislative tool and initiative process should be considered. As we face attempts to shut down vital health services, now more than ever we need to give our support to the patients who depend on them and the medical professionals who provide them,” Cantwell added.
Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, Republican Ranking Member for the Law and Justice Committee:
“Forty-nine years after the U.S. Supreme Court found a right to abortion hidden in the shadows of the Constitution, the court has finally overturned its decision in Roe v. Wade. The new decision does not make abortion illegal, but rather returns the regulation of abortion to the states. The court said the states have a legitimate interest in the preservation of prenatal life and the protection of maternal health and safety. I’ve always believed that. This was the issue that motivated me to run for the Legislature, back in 1980. In the state of Washington, we have a lot of work to do to get some reasonable limits to the radical extremist pro-abortion policy that allows abortion at any time, for any reason. We now can take another look at some of the proposals that have been introduced in the past, such as parental notification, the elimination of sex-selection abortions, the elimination of abortions based on Down’s Syndrome, and a ban on late-term abortions. These are reasonable laws that would be supported by the vast majority of citizens in our state, and the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case at last allows the people to have a voice,” Padden wrote in his statement.
Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, D-Spokane
“Today’s radical Supreme Court decision is wildly out-of-step with the vast majority of all Americans and certainly Washingtonians,” Billig said in a statement.
“And let me be absolutely clear — while I’m proud of all we have done to protect these rights here in our state, they remain in place only because Democrats in the legislature are protecting them and have beaten back countless Republican attempts to undermine and end them. Republicans in this state, just like Republicans in other states, would absolutely strip Washingtonians of these rights and criminalize health care if they ever gained control of the legislature. Protecting the right to choose is a fundamental Democratic value. I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure Washington remains a beacon for choice and a place where all people have access to a safe and legal abortion.”
Joe Kent, Republican Candidate for U.S. Representative for the 3rd Congressional District:
“BREAKING: Dobbs case has dropped at SCOTUS. Roe v. Wade and Casey are overturned. Thank God. SCOTUS did the right thing despite the intimidation, we should all praise the courage of the Justices who voted for life,” Kent said in a Facebook post, adding in a second post, “As we celebrate & thank God for Roe being overturned, remember there are Republicans like Jaime Herrera Beutler who vote to fund abortion while telling us they are pro life. This victory happened because of Trump, not the weak & compromised establishment.”
Heidi St. John, Republican Candidate for U.S. Representative for the 3rd Congressional District:
In a Facebook post, St. John said, “What a day for the unborn! Praise God!”
Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Representative for the 3rd Congressional District:
“I am outraged by today’s Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe v. Wade,” Gluesenkamp Perez wrote in a Facebook post, “I, like so many, suffered a miscarriage just two years ago. Planned Parenthood was one of the only places I could turn to get the care I needed, which in this case was an assisted abortion. Without access to safe reproductive care, I could have died or suffered complications that could have prevented me from ever going on to have a successful pregnancy. Without the care Planned Parenthood provided that day, I may not be a mother today. In congress, I will take on politicians who try to get between a woman and her doctor and fight to protect abortion rights that the Supreme Court put in jeopardy. It’s more important than ever that mothers like me stand up for our right to determine our future.”
Kelli Hughes-Ham, Democratic challenger to Jim Walsh in the race for Representative position 1 in the 19th Legislative District:
“The attack on constitutional rights advances, but we have to keep fighting. While we regroup and consider the next stage of this fight, please consider donating to organizations in trigger-law states that help people get access to abortion care,” Hughes-Ham wrote on Facebook.
Joel McEntire, Representative for the 19th Legislative District:
McEntire wrote on Facebook, “ROE OVERTURNED!!!”
Cara Cusack, Democrat challenging Joel McEntire for Representative position 2 in the 19th Legislative District:
“SCOTUS has overturned Roe,” Cusack wrote on Facebook, “The Supreme Court has now officially given politicians permission to control what we do with our bodies, deciding that we can no longer be trusted to determine the course of our own lives. Today’s Supreme Court opinion will live in infamy as a step backward for women's and human rights. (Justice) Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion to Dobbs, calling for the court to consider overturning the right to contraception, same-sex marriage, and privacy in the bedroom. If you are a woman or care about one, or are LGBTQ, you need to vote at every level. Vote every single Republican out of office. Donate to their campaigns.”