Although we live in a progressive state, access to reproductive healthcare is not guaranteed for every person in Washington. This is due to uneven distribution of resources and services across the state, and an historic lack of representation and omission of intersectional issues within the reproductive freedom movement. All of which are critical for communities to gain equitable access to reproductive healthcare.
Our work at state and local levels is now more important than ever. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court, states are now fully responsible for protecting reproductive rights.
This situation is a rallying cry for people all across Washington state and the region. Join hands with us to advocate for key issues and protect our reproductive freedom.
Patients across Washington are being denied critical services like abortion, reproductive, gender-affirming, and end-of-life care. This is a leading threat to equitable abortion and reproductive healthcare access in Washington state. Over the past decade, under-regulated health system mergers in Washington have led to fewer and more expensive reproductive healthcare options across the state, particularly for patients in rural communities. Today in Washington, nearly 50 percent of hospital beds sit within facilities that have restrictive policies – a 26 percent increase in the past 10 years. This increase has resulted in near-death experiences for patients, and consequences for medical providers, even if they follow the best standards of care. To address this issue, Pro-Choice Washington passes policies that protect patients and ensure future health system mergers maintain high-quality, affordable health care in every community.
Washington state laws protect the legal right to abortion, but do not guarantee equitable access to abortion for every person. This is because many of the barriers that prevent people from accessing reproductive health care come from outside of the legal system. In addition to denials of care, the leading barriers to abortion access in Washington are the high cost of services that make abortion unaffordable for many people, structural racism and bias within healthcare systems that can make it difficult or even unsafe to seek care, and the limited number of facilities and abortion providers in counties and neighborhoods across the state. Importantly, these challenges are worse in communities that have historically been without quality healthcare or sufficient insurance coverage, including Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, two-spirit, intersex, and other gender and sexual identities, individuals with disabilities, people with lower income, immigrant communities, under-insured folks, and rural residents. Pro-Choice Washington partners with organizations and community leaders across Washington to address these complex barriers so that folks can access abortion and reproductive healthcare.
Washington state has substantially improved the affordability of reproductive services for its residents. However, sufficient funding for reproductive healthcare programs is threatened by Washington’s upside-down tax code, which puts a higher tax burden on people with lower incomes. Washington state taxes help fund vital reproductive health and community programs, including family planning coverage and Medicaid coverage of abortion, childcare, and public transportation. In the past, budget shortfalls have threatened the funding of this critical reproductive health and social programs. Pro-Choice Washington advocates for progressive revenue policies to ensure sustained and adequate funding. Ultimately, the awareness and availability of resources determines whether comprehensive reproductive health care is available and accessible for all people in the state.
Historically, the reproductive rights movement has overrepresented cis-gender middle to upper-class white women; and real change is only possible when all people see themselves reflected in and positively impacted by the reproductive freedom movement. Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color, along with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, two-spirit, intersex, and other gender and sexual identities all need abortion, reproductive, and parental care, yet have been historically left out of the conversation. Cis-gender men and co-parents are also key parts of the reproduction process and are important voices in advocating for equitable abortion access. To bring forward more representative voices, Pro-Choice Washington is building an inclusive grassroots activist movement. To facilitate mobilization within their communities, we provide resources to support activist leadership, specifically through our activist chapter model, virtual training, and grassroots lobbying activities.