SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington and Idaho lawmakers issued statements Friday on the United States Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that found a woman's right to an abortion was a constitutional right.
According to the Supreme Court, "The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion." Because of this decision, laws regarding abortion will now be made by state representatives rather than the federal government.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed a measure into law in March prohibiting legal action against people seeking an abortion and those who aid them.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little, however, signed a "fetal heartbeat" measure into law in 2020. The law included a trigger provision that would make abortion illegal in the state 30 days after a ruling from the Supreme Court.
Here's how Washington and Idaho officials have reacted to the courts decision:
Idaho Gov. Brad Little
Idaho Gov. Brad Little released the following statement on the Supreme Court's ruling:
I join many in Idaho and across the country today in welcoming the high court's long awaited decision upholding state sovereignty and protecting preborn lives. The decision provides clarity around landmark cases at the center of passionate debate in our country for nearly five decades. This is now clear – the ‘right’ to an abortion was a judicial creation. Abortion is not a right expressed in the U.S. Constitution, and abortion will be entrusted to the states and their people to regulate.
Idaho has been at the forefront of enacting new laws to protect preborn babies. The pro-life bill I signed into law in 2020 will go into effect later this summer.
Today's decision is the culmination of pro-life efforts to defend the defenseless – preborn babies who deserve protection. It also is affirmation of states' rights, a fundamental aspect of our American government.
However, we fully acknowledge this monumental moment in our country's history means we must confront what know will be growing needs for women and families in the months and years ahead. We absolutely must come together like never before to support women and teens facing unexpected or unwanted pregnancies. Families, churches, charities, and local and state government must stand ready to lift them up and help them and their families with access to adoption services, healthcare, financial and food assistance, counseling and treatment, and family planning. We are being called to support women and our fellow community members in extraordinary new ways, and I'm confident Idahoans are ready to meet this responsibility with love and compassion.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
“The law remains unchanged in Washington state, but the threat to patient access and privacy has never been more dangerous. Even in Washington state, Republicans have introduced about 40 bills in the past six years to roll back abortion rights and access to reproductive care,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “The right of choice should not depend on which party holds the majority, but that’s where we find ourselves. More than half the nation’s population now lacks safe access to a medical procedure that only a patient and their doctor can and should make for themselves. Instead, law enforcement, vigilantes and judicial systems can force patients to bear the burdens of forced pregnancy and birth. Washington state remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the ability and right of every patient who comes to our state in need of abortion care, and we will fight like hell to restore that right to patients all across the country.”
Gov. Inslee also announced that Washington will join California and Washington in launching a new multi-state commitment to reproductive freedom.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Murry released the following statement shortly after the court's decision was announced on Friday morning:
Today, Republicans dragged this country backwards by half a century. Republicans ripped away our rights and made this generation the first generation of American women with fewer rights than their mothers.
Republicans are forcing women to stay pregnant and give birth when they don’t want to—no matter the circumstances. They are even passing laws to jail women who get abortions and the doctors who provide them.
Right here in the Senate, it was Republicans who stacked our Supreme Court with anti-abortion justices, who blocked Democrats’ efforts to protect abortion rights, and who right now are pushing for a federal abortion ban.
Everyone needs to understand this is a real crisis that'll hurt millions of people across the country—Republicans want a federal abortion ban & #RoeVWade is no longer settled law. We aren’t going to stand idly by while they rip away abortion rights or go after birth control next.
We are going to stand up and fight back with our voices and our votes—to protect the right of every woman to make her own health care decisions. The American people will not forget Republicans’ cruelty—not today, not tomorrow, and not this November.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. Rodgers issued the following statement via Twitter shortly after the decision was announced on Friday:
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
Rep. Jayapal released the following statement via Twitter on Friday morning:
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
Rep. Newhouse released the following statement via Twitter on Friday morning:
Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho)
Sen. Risch released the following statement on the court's decision:
Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided in 1973, resulting in the deaths of millions of unborn babies over nearly half a century. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court took a major step to right that wrong, ruling that the U.S. Constitution does not provide for a right to an abortion. The Court’s decision recognizes that states have an interest in protecting life at all stages of development by giving Americans the power to decide this matter at the state-level through their elected representatives.
“The most basic right we as humans have is the right to life. I have immense empathy for any expecting mother in difficult circumstances. As the greatest country in the history of human civilization, we should support those mothers to the best of our ability.
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho)
Rep. Simpson released the following statement on the court's decision:
With this historic decision, the Supreme Court affirms the right of the states to protect human life. This is the correct decision and I’m pleased that the Court has affirmed my longstanding position that Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided as a political decision and not a legal one. Dobbs rights that wrong and returns the power to enact pro-life legislation to the people and their elected officials. There is no constitutional right to an abortion, and I’m relieved the Court has finally recognized that.
As we move forward from this victory, we must remain vigilant to reject extreme, anti-life legislation that will surely be introduced in the wake of this decision. As a member of the House of Representatives, I will continue to guard against legislation that threatens the unborn and will use my voice to spread the pro-life message of hope that is so central to our movement.
Additionally, we must not tolerate any threats to Supreme Court justices and their families in the coming days. When individuals choose violence and threats to express their policy disagreements, we are all less safe.
Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho)
Rep. Fulcher released the following statement via Twitter:
Idaho Democratic Party
Idaho Democratic Party Chair Lauren Necochea (D-Boise) released the following statement in response to the court's decision:
I never expected to see such a grave rollback of our rights in the 21st Century. I am shocked that young Americans just lost rights that their parents were guaranteed and for which their grandparents fought.
Today’s decision overturns 50 years of established reproductive freedoms and starts the clock on a terrifying countdown here in Idaho. In 30 short days, a trigger law banning safe and legal abortions will go into effect, stripping away Idahoans’ reproductive rights. This law is especially cruel because it only applies to those who don’t have the resources to find a way around it. People with means will be able to flee the state to receive abortion care, while Idahoans facing low wages, including a disproportionate share of people of color, will face involuntary pregnancy.
Roe v. Wade protected our state from the most extreme positions of its Republican lawmakers. Idahoans are losing this protection just as the Republican supermajority is becoming increasingly radicalized. The Idaho Republican Party platform seeks to completely eliminate access to abortion care, even in the tragic cases of rape and incest. We have seen Republican legislators bring bills that would put patients on trial for murder if they receive abortions. We must brace for more extreme measures to follow this ban.
Taking away the right to a safe and legal abortion is only the beginning. Access to different types of birth control and in vitro fertilization are now at risk as well as other freedoms based on our right to privacy.
Idahoans can no longer rely on the courts to protect their rights. The only way we can win back our reproductive rights is by electing Democrats across the state.
Idaho Democrats will continue to fight for the reproductive rights and freedoms of all Idahoans for as long as it takes. We stand with the majority of Idahoans who believe people should have access to all of the reproductive health care options available, including abortion.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho
Karl Eastlund, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, released the following statement on the court's decision:
By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has now officially given politicians permission to control what patients can do with their bodies. This dangerous and chilling decision will have devastating consequences for the patients we serve in Idaho and across the country, forcing people to travel hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles for care or remain pregnant.
But make no mistake – this decision goes beyond abortion. This is about who has power over you, who has the authority to make decisions for you, and who can control how your future is going to be.
It is a dark day for our country, but this is far from over. Patients should know that Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho will always fight for you, and we will not back down. Together, we will rebuild and reclaim our freedom.