Washington state troopers cannot cooperate with other states’ abortion investigations, governor orders
By Laurel Demkovich
The Spokesman’s Review, Spokane, Wash.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee has ordered the State Patrol to refuse to cooperate with investigations by other state agencies related to abortion.
The directive follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which will trigger abortion bans or severe restrictions in a number of states, including Idaho.
“Washington is and will remain a sanctuary for anyone seeking abortion care and services in our state, but we must act to protect our rights and values,” Inslee wrote.
The order directs the Washington State Patrol to refrain from providing any cooperation or assistance to out-of-state agencies if an investigation involves abortion or reproductive health services that are legal in Washington. . This could include refusing subpoenas, search warrants or court orders.
It also requires the State Patrol to establish a process with the Attorney General’s Office and the General Counsel’s Office to “carefully consider” all requests for cooperation, assistance, or information related to reproductive care or abortion from other states.
Any request must include a detailed description of the matter being investigated and the purpose of the request, Inslee wrote.
Any uncertainty surrounding a claim should be resolved by Inslee’s General Counsel’s office.
All reports must also be reported by the State Patrol.
Washington law prohibits state and local agencies from penalizing, prosecuting, or taking adverse action against someone based on their pregnancy outcome or for helping a pregnant person exercise their right to reproductive freedom. , as directed by Inslee.
Inslee said the directive is one step in a commitment he, Governor Gavin Newsom of California and Governor Kate Brown of Oregon made last week to advocate for access to reproductive health care.
In the directive, Inslee called the court’s decision a “blatant disregard for established constitutional rights and strong legal precedents.”
“This means that where a person lives in this country will determine how ‘equal’ and ‘free’ that person is,” Inslee wrote.
Inslee also called for an amendment to the state constitution that would protect abortion rights in Washington, which is unlikely to pass the Legislature.
Two-thirds of the state Senate and House of Representatives would need to pass, which would require some support from Republicans. He is then expected to go to the general election ballot and need a simple majority to pass.
State Republicans have acknowledged that the Supreme Court’s decision does not affect the law in Washington. Some have pushed for more support for pregnant women while others have called for tougher laws.
“Better support for pregnant women choosing to give birth should be a common goal for all of us, regardless of our politics,” said Senate Minority Leader John Braun. “Compassion and empathy, rather than hostility, should be the universal approach.”
Spokane Valley Republican Mike Padden said now is the time to take a closer look at Washington’s abortion laws and set “reasonable limits” on abortions, such as eliminating abortions based on gender or diagnosis of Down syndrome.
“In Washington State, we have a lot of work to do to get reasonable limits on the radical extremist pro-abortion policy that allows abortion at any time, for any reason,” Padden said.
Current Washington law allows abortion until the fetus is viable, which often occurs around 24 weeks gestation.
Laurel Demkovich’s reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and members of the Spokane community. This story may be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact the editorial director of our journal.
(c) 2022 The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington)