The Democratic governor of the state of Washington signed a new bill that prohibits legal action against those seeking an abortion or anyone who aids them.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday signed into law a new measure that would allow individuals to get an abortion without legal repercussions. The bill prohibits anyone from filing a lawsuit against those seeking an abortion or anyone who aids them.
According to Axios, the new Washington law bars the Texas-style abortion ban, which allows citizens to enforce the law and file cases against those who get an abortion or aid someone else in getting an abortion. The Texas-style abortion ban also rewards enforcers with up to $10,000 for successfully suing an abortion provider or a person who aids someone in getting an abortion.
Similarly, Idaho's legislature also passed a Texas-style abortion ban recently that would empower relatives of the unborn child to file lawsuits for abortions that occur after the sixth week of pregnancy. It did not allow exceptions for rape and incest cases.
"We know this bill is necessary because this is a perilous time for the ability of people to have the freedom of choice that they have enjoyed for decades," Gov. Inslee said of the Washington bill that protects pro-choice women, as per PBS. The Democratic leader signed the law just days after Idaho approved its own Texas-style abortion ban.
But Washington's measure that prevents such Texas-style abortion bans in the state will take effect in June and effectively prohibits the state from taking any legal action against a person seeking to terminate a pregnancy or for assisting someone seeking an abortion.
Washington's law is in response to the Texas Heartbeat Act, which is one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the U.S. that took effect in September of last week. The Texas-style abortion ban, which makes no exceptions for rape and incest cases, was emulated by Idaho, the second state to pass such a law on Monday, which allows the unborn child's family members to file cases against abortion providers for at least $20,000 in damages for performing the procedure, Forbes reported.
The report added that Washington's new legislation ensures that women from Idaho and Texas who are seeking abortions may travel to the state and have the procedure done all while being protected from any potential lawsuits brought about by others. In addition, the Washington law or HB 1851 also amended the language for its existing protections, changing "pregnant women" to "pregnant individuals" for more inclusivity.
"To the citizens of Idaho, if Idaho will not stand up for your constitutional rights, we will," Gov. Inslee said before signing HB 1851 on Thursday. Washington is not the only state pushing back against strict pro-life laws. California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York are also considering similar bills that would prevent people who facilitate abortions from being sued, as per Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst at the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute.
Democratic leaders in California have pledged to make the state a "sanctuary" for women who live in states taht have restrictive abortion laws such as Texas, which saw a 60% decline in abortions after the Heartbeat Act went into effect. However, there have been an increase in those seeking abortion pills and those traveling out of the state to seek abortions.