June 24, 2022
OLYMPIA, Wash. – In a 5-4 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and allows states to ban abortion before viability. Chief Justice Roberts wrote a separate opinion upholding the Mississippi law without voting to overturn Roe v. Wade. The decision effectively bans abortion in 17 states. Washington state is one of 16 states, plus D.C., that protects the right of a pregnant person to access abortion, and it's one of six states that requires health plans to cover abortion services, if the plan covers maternity services.
“Washington state led the country in protecting peoples’ rights to terminate a pregnancy and we will not reverse that promise now,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Today’s decision by six justices on the Supreme Court reverses the progress we’ve made in preserving the rights of pregnant people in our country to make the most difficult decisions that only they and their families should make. I will do everything I can to maintain access to this critical service for all Washington individuals and their families.”
Washington state legalized abortion in 1970 and strengthened access to abortion services through a voter approved initiative in 1991. In 2018, the state Legislature passed the Reproductive Parity Act, requiring all health plans that cover maternity care to also cover abortion services. The following year, the Reproductive Health Access for All Act made it illegal for health plans to deny coverage to trans and nonbinary people. And as of June 9, the new Affirm Washington Abortion Access Act:
- Allows physician assistants and advanced registered nurse practitioners to perform abortions.
- Changes statutory references from “women” to “pregnant individual.”
- Protects individuals from prosecution for self-managed abortion.
- Protects anyone from prosecution for helping someone seeking abortion care.
Learn more about insurance coverage for abortion services in Washington state.