Press Releases

DelBene Hosts Roundtable on Republicans’ Assault on Reproductive Rights

Congresswoman convenes local leaders, advocates, and providers to highlight how actions by extreme lawmakers and judges are harming Washingtonians

Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) hosted a roundtable with state officials, abortion care providers, advocates, and Washingtonians who have had abortions to discuss how right-wing attacks on reproductive rights are impacting Washington state and what can be done to advance and protect reproductive health care.

Even though Washington protects abortion access through state law, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade last summer has had a profound impact on Washington’s reproductive and abortion health care services. Planned Parenthood affiliates in Washington have reported an increase in out-of-state patients seeking care in our state. Eastern Washington clinics saw an increase of 25% in total abortion patient visits in January 2023 from the previous year. It also reported a 75% increase in Idaho patients from January 2023 compared to January 2022.

he threat to abortion access is far from over. Any day now, a Trump-appointed judge in Texas will issue a decision in a case that could trigger a national ban on abortion medications. Mifepristone is a safe and effective FDA-approved medication for abortion that has been on the market for over two decades. The implications of this case could threaten reproductive health care access, even in states – like Washington – where abortion is legal.

“Republican attacks on abortion care impact people in every state, including Washington. People, not politicians, should have the right to make their own health care decisions. I will continue fighting to protect and strengthen abortion access for all,” said DelBene. “The voices around the table today are all strong supporters of stronger abortion protections and I thank them for taking the time to share their stories, perspectives, and wisdom on this deeply personal issue.”

“Recent limitations of access to reproductive health care is creating refugees from states banning abortion and other health care essentials. For those of us who believe life begins at birth, impositions on access to abortion care also created a new class of people who seek refuge based on their religious beliefs,” said Kol Ami Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg. “As a rabbi I am alert to the decline of not just reproductive freedom but also religious freedom. Washington State is becoming a refuge for both. I welcome the opportunity to sit down with Representative DelBene to discuss this dire situation.” 

“In order for a pregnancy to become a baby, the conditions have to be right. The conditions in your body and the conditions in your life. And no matter what condition your body or your life is in, everyone deserves access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare,” said Cara Winters, Planned Parenthood Patient Storyteller & Advocate. “Thank you, Representative DelBene, for listening to advocates like me and for your steadfast work to protect access to reproductive health care.”

“The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine case is an ongoing reminder of anti-abortion extremists’ priorities of limiting patients’ reproductive autonomy in whatever way possible. Let’s be clear – their goal is not patient safety. It is to completely ban abortion- and this case could be a devastating step in that direction,” said Dr. Mollie Nisen, a Seattle family medicine, abortion provider, and volunteer with the Physicians for Reproductive Health.

“Representative DelBene’s work to protect abortion rights at the federal level has never been more important. Since the Supreme Court eliminated the fundamental right to abortion last June, our Planned Parenthood health centers in Washington have seen patients travel from all across the country to access basic health care,” said Nicole Kern, Government Relations Manager, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. “Reproductive rights are under attack across the country, and leaders like Representative DelBene and Attorney General Ferguson are ensuring these attacks don’t impact our critical work here in Washington state.”

“Mifepristone is an essential medication for abortion and miscarriage management. As our neighbors in Idaho pass draconian laws limiting access to abortion and rogue federal judges ignore basic science, we urge the FDA to do everything it can to keep mifepristone on the market and to remove all unnecessary restrictions that limit care,” said Julia Marks, Litigation Attorney at Legal Voice.

DelBene is a leader on the House Pro-Choice Caucus and an original cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would prohibit any law that places unnecessarily burdensome restrictions on access to abortion services. The event was held at Kol Ami: A Center for Jewish Life in Kirkland.