Seattle – Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park) issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe and Casey, limiting access to healthcare for millions of people:
“This morning’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade is devastating to many millions of women and pregnant people who will be unable to access basic healthcare and be forced into decisions that endanger their safety and lives. Nearly 1 in 4 people who can become pregnant will have an abortion in their lifetime. Now, for very many, seeking that abortion will be simply out of reach due to the expense, the time off required to travel to a different state, the misinformation, and the fear.
The burden of not having access to comprehensive health services, without having to travel to another state, will fall hardest on poor women, girls, and transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people, especially those who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). This decision will result in more poverty, death, and abandoned dreams for those who live in states that outlaw their basic healthcare. You can learn more about how abortion access is more difficult for some in this blog post from Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights: Abortion access and reproductive justice – Civil Rights Now (seattle.gov).
Since the draft decision was leaked in May, I have been working with Public Health and abortion advocates to understand what action may be needed at the city level in a post-Roe future. My amendment to Council’s Resolution in support of abortion access called for funding “organizations that deliver programs and services in support of abortion care and access, such as the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and independent abortion clinics.” I am grateful that Mayor Harrell’s announcement today indicates he included $250,000 in supplemental budget legislation for this purpose, which Council will consider in the next several weeks. I pledge to keep fighting for greater abortion access in our city.
I pledge to also keep working on supporting the state Keep Our Care Act (SB5688/HB1809), which would prevent health system consolidations from moving forward if they negatively impact communities’ access to affordable quality care, including reproductive, end-of-life, and gender affirming care. Axios reports that “at least two recent hospital mergers have led to changes in the availability of abortion in Washington.”
I also understand that Councilmember Morales is working on legislation to increase buffer zones for clinics to ensure safe passage for people seeking comprehensive health services in Seattle and to do more to prohibit false information at crisis pregnancy centers. I thank her for that leadership and am glad to be collaborating with her.
Abortion remains legal and safe across Washington state. King County welcomes all people who need abortion services, no matter where they live. Many clinics offer abortion services in King County. Learn more and help spread the word: kingcounty.gov/abortion.
This is an extraordinarily difficult day for many of us. I take comfort in knowing that we live in a community that is committed to abortion access, although we have not yet reached that goal for all. I will continue this work.”
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