Washington state law protects the right to have an abortion, but barriers remain that prevent full access to affordable, reliable, and equitable reproductive healthcare. Learn about our priority legislation and join us to help advocate for expanded care. This list is a work in progress, please check back to see what other legislation we are adding for the next legislative year.
See the progress we made on priority legislation in 2023: Post-Session Update
Consolidations between health care entities like hospitals, hospital systems, and provider organizations are prolific in Washington State and can negatively impact cost, quality, and access to necessary health care services. Yet in Washington, these health entity consolidations receive minimal oversight, allowing large health care systems to dictate patients’ access to care. Support the Keep Our Care Act (SB 5241/HB 1263) to safeguard community access to quality affordable care.
Unlike nearby states, such as California and Oregon, health entity consolidations in Washington receive minimal oversight. Washington needs a comprehensive system of public oversight to safeguard access to existing services and ensure Washingtonians can access quality care where they live, regardless of their identity, zip code, or medical needs.
regulating ultrasounds to protect patients at crisis pregnancy centers
In an attempt to bring some accountability to crisis pregnancy centers, we will support legislation that clarifies that ultrasounds must be offered in licensed facilities or by licensed providers.
The goal is to protect patients against unscrupulous users, including crisis pregnancy centers (also known as anti-abortion centers), which are typically immune to major regulatory efforts because of First Amendment protections.
The Washington Coalition for Police Accountability advocates for the adoption and implementation of statewide policies to reduce police violence and increase police accountability. The coalition is calling for a package of common sense reforms that will help keep our communities safer.
Police brutality is among the biggest threats to healthy and safe Black families in America. Increased stress and trauma of structural racism for Black parents and families is linked with higher infant and maternal mortality rates. Black women are four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. To ensure that the voices of families and communities impacted by police violence are heard, we need to strengthen protections against police violence. Learn more about the Washington Coalition on Police Accountability here.
This bill would establish a state-wide independent prosecutor within the Attorney General’s Office to address the conflict of interest that exists within the working relationships between prosecutors and police. This will increase the public’s confidence in the disposition of these cases because the process will be fairer and more credible. The three key parts to the proposal:
- Jurisdiction: The Office of Independent Prosecutor would have concurrent jurisdiction with the county prosecutor
- Location: The Independent Prosecutor would be situated in the State Attorney General’s Office
- Caseload: The Independent Prosecutor would handle the caseload coming from the Office of Independent Investigations (OII), which at this time is limited to investigating deaths from police use of deadly force.
This bill strengthens and clarifies the Washington Attorney General’s authority to investigate and bring suits where there are failures at an agency or department, resulting in violations of the Washington constitution or state laws. This bill would help ensure a fundamental baseline of quality policing across Washington.
Traffic stops are by far the most common interaction that people have with law enforcement. In Washington state, officers stop Black drivers disproportionately. Black, Latinx, Native American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander drivers were searched at a rate up to 5x higher than white motorists even though officers are more likely to find weapons and drugs while searching the cars of white drivers. There is limited evidence that low-level traffic stops improve safety.
Pro-Choice Washington is a member of Balance Our Tax Code, a coalition that works to make Washington’s tax code works for all of us, not just the wealthy few. Our vision is a more just and equitable tax code that creates a strong future where communities have the resources they need to thrive.
Washington has one of the least equitable tax codes in the country where low-income households are taxed at a higher rate than the wealthiest. Our tax code limits access to essential services, including affordable reproductive healthcare, other healthcare programs, good schools, and public transportation. We need to make sure the wealthiest Washingtonians and large corporations pay what they owe through taxes so we can fund schools, ensure quality healthcare for anyone who needs it, and provide stability for our families.
health equity for immigrants
The COVID-19 public health emergency made it clear that immigrant communities and people of color need better access to health care coverage and services. We know that immigrant status restrictions limit how individuals can access healthcare, which results in delay or foregoing of care. Every Washingtonian should have access to health care, but federal restrictions and state austerity cuts have left many immigrants in our state without critical health services.
The Health Equity for Immigrants Campaign is calling on the Legislature to fund the next steps in the effort to ensure the program is successfully launched in 2024. Meeting the basic health care needs for all Washingtonians will make every community healthier and our economy stronger.
The campaign has three focus areas:
- Education: We will conduct workshops and trainings about existing health care access programs and services
- Identifying Gaps: We will work alongside community leaders and impacted community members to identify the most urgent gaps in care and services via focus groups and surveys
- Policy/Legislative Initiatives: We will use community-identified priorities to shape policy agendas and propose legislation. We will work with community leaders and impacted community members to communicate these priorities to elected officials and policymakers
Adult entertainment in Washington is considerably more criminalized and stigmatized compared to other states, and has left dancers without basic protections and rights. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the WA industry has become increasingly more destitute and has not bounced back to pre-COVID business (unlike in other states).
This bill, created by dancer-led Strippers are Workers, increases worker protections, limits club practices that create power imbalances and harm, and creates more stability and resources for dancers via profits from alcohol sales.
Many insurance plans in Washington do not cover fertility services and the cost of paying out of pocket can be prohibitive. This bill will require insurance plans to cover the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, ensuring more access to fertility services.
There are currently no legal protections if a partner tampers with or removes a condom without a person’s consent (commonly known as “stealthing”). This bill, which is supported by domestic violence and sexual assault coalition partners, allows for a survivor to bring civil charges against a person for nonconsensual condom tampering.
Pro-Choice Washington envisions a future where every person in Washington state has equitable access to the reproductive healthcare options they need to thrive. To help make this vision a reality, we prioritize legislation that focuses on three things:
- Increases access to affordable, timely, and quality abortion and reproductive healthcare;
- Reduces the burden of out-of-pocket costs for reproductive health services, which are often unaffordable and may delay or prevent access to healthcare;
- Builds a more equitable Washington that protects all peoples’ rights, safety, and healthcare.
Achieving this vision requires working closely with our partners that protect our democracy and our communities more broadly by improving health equity, voting justice, and police accountability.
Priority Legislation refers to bills that are directly connected to Pro-Choice Washington’s key issue areas. These bills fall under Pro-Choice Washington’s core advocacy focus and have a direct impact on our community. As a result, these bills receive significant Pro-Choice Washington resources, including staff time, communications support, and activism.
Support Legislation refers to bills that are connected to Pro-Choice Washington’s values and broader vision for Washington, including expanding health equity, improving democratic processes, and building safe and healthy communities. These often fall outside of our core advocacy focus, so Pro-Choice Washington follows the lead of brilliant partner organizations.