How President Biden’s executive order to protect abortion access impacts Washington

A lawyer said portions of Biden’s executive order are critical as Washington state becomes a haven for those seeking abortions.

SEATTLE – Protesters in Seattle and across the country continue to take to the streets fighting for abortion rights. President Biden recently signed an executive order aimed at protecting access to abortion.

Abortion and family law attorney Deirdre Bowen said Biden’s executive order is more of a policy statement aimed at strengthening what the federal government can do with laws already on the books.

Portions of President Biden’s executive order ensure that Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved abortion drugs remain widely available, ensure contraceptives are available, and protect patient privacy when women seek reproductive health services.

“This is all brand new territory,” said Bowen, who is also a law professor at Seattle University.

Bowen navigates the law in a post-Roe world. She said there are parts of Biden’s executive order that are critical to Washington, a state that continues to offer legal abortions.

“It is unclear at this time what this looks like in relation to a criminal prosecution of someone who lives in Washington state who provided assistance or provided funding,” Bowen said.

Bowen said the federal government is clarifying how federal laws apply in these situations, but things are still unclear.

Part of President Biden’s order is to create an interagency task force to help states that provide out-of-state legal protections to patients and providers.

“The more important part is making sure that those providers, like doctors or nurses, or other people who are providing assistance in getting the service, have a defense,” Bowen said.

Biden’s order brings some relief to practitioners. Lora Shahine, a reproductive endocrinologist, sent a statement to KING 5 saying, in part:

“It’s a confusing time and my patients and colleagues are nervous about the lingering fallout from Roe’s ouster, but this commitment from President Biden to fight for reproductive rights is reassuring.”

Bowen suggests out-of-state patients complete their treatment in Washington to avoid potential criminal liability

“We don’t know exactly what the ramifications of medical treatment in Washington state are, but the rest of the treatment takes place in your home state,” Bowen said.

This week, King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an executive order providing $1 million in emergency funding to support the influx of abortion seekers, half of which will be allocated to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund.

On Capitol Hill, House lawmakers will vote to codify Roe v Wade and protect interstate travel for abortions. How President Biden’s executive order to protect abortion access impacts Washington

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