Seattle, WA – The Seattle City Council unanimously passed two pieces of legislation, sponsored by Councilmember Tammy J. Morales (District 2, Chinatown / International District and South Seattle), Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle and South Park), and Councilmember Dan Strauss (District 6, Northwest Seattle) to protect abortions and gender-affirming care in Seattle.
The first, Council Bill (CB) 120374, is an ordinance that would add people who have received or are seeking abortions as a protected class, ensuring their civil rights protections. The second, CB 120376, would create a misdemeanor charge for people who encroach on individuals seeking abortions or gender-affirming care. This is an adoption of RCW 9A.50.020 into Seattle Municipal Code.
An additional piece of legislation, CB 120399, will be introduced in Councilmember Morales’ Neighborhoods, Education, Civil Rights, and Culture Committee on Friday, August 12th. This bill would regulate crisis pregnancy centers, which are organizations that work to mislead pregnant people and persuade them against having abortions. This legislation would ensure that these facilities cannot make public statements that are false or misleading.
“Every level of government has a vital role to play to ensure body autonomy and self-determination,” says Councilmember Morales. “While this is a tremendous first step today to protect those folks obtaining a safe medical procedure in our city, we are living in real time the ongoing impacts to the Supreme Court’s decision. We must be bold, courageous, and stand for our values during this pivotal time in our history.”
“Here in Seattle, we’re very used to thinking about earthquakes, and many of us have emergency plans to help us survive the initial days of an earthquake’s aftermath,” says Councilmember Herbold. “The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs is not just any earthquake – it’s the Big One – the catastrophic earthquake we’ve always known was coming. We must get ready, and quickly – the reality is that pregnant people don’t have the luxury of time to make decisions about abortion.”
“The decision of the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is an unprecedented attack on the fundamental human rights of people who can become pregnant” says Kim Clark, Legal Director at Legal Voice. “That the Supreme Court would ignore how this decision will disproportionately impact marginalized communities who already face systemic barriers to access to healthcare is especially disappointing. Washington law protects the right to abortion, but that doesn’t mean Washington won’t be impacted. We have a lot of work to do to ensure reproductive justice for all people in our state, but I am confident that Washington is up to the task.”
“We are in a critical moment in our state and in our country,” says Kia Guarino, Executive Director at Pro-Choice Washington. “This legislation – coupled with local investments in abortion funds like the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and in abortion clinics to meet the unprecedented need of patients at home and from other states – are important steps in protecting abortion access for all.”
“Thanks to the strong support and unwavering commitment of leaders like Councilmember Morales, Councilmember Herbold, and others in Seattle and across the state, our Planned Parenthood health centers are, and will remain, open to abortion patients from across the country,” said Yvette Maganya, Washington State Government Relations Manager at Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. “No matter what state you live in, no matter who your lawmakers and governor are, providers in Washington are here to welcome you with open arms.”
These two pieces of legislation will go to the Mayor for his signature. If signed, they will go into effect 30 days afterward.