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Washington sees 56% increase in Idaho abortion patients since Dobbs v. Jackson

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(The Center Square) – Washington state clinics have seen a 56% increase in abortion patients from Idaho, according to a report released nearly one year after the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson.

“We have been able to protect reproductive care,” said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., in a news release, “but our healthcare system is coping with an influx of out-of-state women.”

Cantwell’s office published the report on June 23, citing data from Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho.

Washington saw 56% more Idaho abortion patients from January to May 2023 compared to the same timeframe in 2022, according to the report. The state also saw 36% more out-of-state abortion patients and 18% more abortion patients overall in that time.

“Abortion bans or restrictions across half the states have stripped full reproductive choice from 25 million women,” Cantwell said.

Idaho’s trigger law prohibits abortion in most cases and took effect in August 2022 after the Dobbs ruling.

“Idaho has been at the forefront of enacting new laws to protect preborn babies,” said Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little in a news release. “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.”

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, sending the issue of abortion back to the states. Cantwell said this has brought “devastating results.”

“I call on my congressional colleagues to put an end to this chaos and restore access to reproductive rights,” Cantwell said.

Washington has reinforced abortion access since the Dobbs decision. Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee barred state police in 2022 from cooperating with out-of-state abortion investigations, and according to The Everett Herald, the state budget includes $21 million in abortion funding. Inslee signed five bills in April to protect abortion and gender procedures.

“There are states across the country that are and will be attempting to put its tentacles into the state of Washington,” Inslee said. “We will not allow that.”

HB 1155 restricts the sharing of consumer data, HB 1340 protects abortion providers from disciplinary action, HB 1469 protects Washington patients and providers of abortion and gender procedures from out-of-state prosecution, SB 5242 requires Washington state-regulated health plans to cover abortion without cost sharing and SB 5768 allows the state Department of Corrections to distribute the abortion drug mifepristone.

“Our laws protect access to abortion procedures. However, better support for pregnant women who choose to give birth should be a common goal,” said Republican state Senate Minority Leader John Braun in a news release. “Compassion and empathy, rather than hostility, should be the universal approach.”

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