Gov. Jay Inslee announced this past weekend he was preparing to direct the Washington State Patrol to refuse cooperation with any investigatory requests related to abortion that come from agencies in states that don’t allow or significantly constrain access to abortion. This follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade which is triggering a dramatic curtailment of abortion care for people in half the country as several states have been moving quickly to enact bans.
Inslee issued the directive today, and says he is continuing to look at additional steps to further protect patients from investigative activities initiated by agencies and vigilantes in anti-choice states.
“Washington is and will remain a sanctuary for any person seeking abortion care and services in our state, but we must act to protect our rights and our values,” Inslee wrote in his directive. “To that end, it is critical that our law enforcement agencies not cooperate in any manner with any out-of-state investigation, prosecution, or other legal action based on another state’s law that is inconsistent with Washington’s protections of the right to choose abortion and provide abortion-related care.”
The order directs the WSP to decline cooperation with most subpoenas, search warrants or court orders from states with laws that ban or significantly restrict abortion access. WSP must review and process such requests in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General and governor’s General Counsel.
Though the governor does not have jurisdiction over local law enforcement agencies, state law prohibits anyone, including all state and local enforcement, from penalizing, prosecuting or taking any adverse action against patients exercising their reproductive rights.
Inslee this weekend also announced he has approved $1 million to help reproductive care clinics handle the increased number of patients coming to Washington state for care. He and legislators also plan to pursue a state constitutional amendment to solidify the legal right to an abortion, and pursue additional policies and resources to expand access to services and protect patients’ legal rights.