With the Supreme Court set to release their official ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Attorney General Bob Ferguson spoke to KIRO Newsradio about the steps that his office is taking to ensure that women in Washington state, as well as outside the state, have access to safe abortions.
In early May, a leaked draft Supreme Court majority opinion on Dobbs offered that “Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr wrote, referring to the landmark case Roe V. Wade and the subsequent Court decision that upheld Roe. This has caused an uproar as pro-abortion rights advocates across the country protested the leaked decision, which is expected to be handed down by the end of June.
While abortion protection was recently codified into Washington state law, it will affect states nationwide, including neighboring Idaho, which has a trigger ban for abortions already passed should Roe get overturned.
“On its surface, [the ruling] would not change things in Washington State in terms of the state having safe, legal access to abortions. That wouldn’t change. However, the legal landscape around abortion would change across the country,” Fergeson said.
In preparation for the decision, Ferguson has put together a group to predict how this new precedent could affect Washingtonians.
“That’s why we have a large team, we literally have about 20 individuals in the office who are working on the legal issues and thinking about those and, and having discussions about what those might be on both the criminal and the civil side to make sure we’re anticipating as much as we can, for the unfortunate reality that the US Supreme Court might be overturning Roe v. Wade.”
“I also want to be clear that I believe that legislators in the States or prosecutors in those red states will stop at nothing to try and impose civil or criminal sanctions on Washingtonians or providers here or people who come here seeking a safe and legal abortion,” Ferguson continued.
One of the outcomes of Roe getting overturned is many states make it illegal to get an abortion under any circumstances, including travel across state lines to states like Washington, which has protected abortion. Ferguson has assured residents that Washington would be a “safe haven” for people seeking abortions but says they are looking at laws that might ensure a continuing effort to guarantee this protection under all circumstances.
“I’m confident in saying that Governor Inslee would under no circumstances extradite anyone under these circumstances, who is assisted with providing a safe and legal abortion,” Ferguson said.
“I would not be shocked if our state legislature is looking at the changes in the law that New York and Massachusetts are making and limiting that discretion in case someday we have a different governor who does not share our current governor’s thinking when it comes to reproductive rights for women in Washington State,” Ferguson said.
The Supreme Court is expected to release the final opinion on Dobbs by the end of June or early July, along with eight other rulings.
As of Thursday, there is only one more opinion release day scheduled — Friday, June 24. However, the court could schedule additional days.