Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has issued a directive prohibiting the state patrol from cooperating with out-of-state abortion investigations, prosecutions, or other legal actions.
The order follows a recent Supreme Court decision that struck down Roe v. Wade. Multiple states throughout the country had trigger laws in place, which went into effect to ban abortion as soon as Roe v. Wade was overturned.
In his letter, Inslee wrote more than half of the states in the U.S. have or will soon ban or severely restrict access to abortion.
“Washington is and will remain a sanctuary for any person seeking abortion care and services in our state, but we must act to protect our rights and our values,” he said. “To that end, it is critical that our law enforcement agencies not cooperate in any manner with any out-of-state investigation, prosecution, or other legal action based on another state’s law that is inconsistent with Washington’s protections of the right to choose abortion and provide abortion-related care.”
He specifically directed the Washington State Patrol to decline cooperating with out-of-state subpoenas, search warrants, or court orders. He also requested law enforcement report any requests for cooperation or assistance on an out-of-state abortion-related investigation to his office. The governor’s office said it wants to know who initiated the request, the nature of the request, and the frequency.
Inslee also announced that his state has partnered with California and Oregon to protect individuals who come to any of their states seeking abortions.
Although the governor has no jurisdiction over local law enforcement agencies, Washington state law prohibits anyone from taking any adverse action against women seeking abortions.
Abortion has been legal in Washington since 1970. An additional ballot measure affirmed a woman’s abortion rights prior to fetal viability and was written to expand access to abortions if Roe v. Wade was ever overturned.
The governor’s office is working with Democrats in the state legislature on additional legislation to protect patient rights and data.