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'Unacceptable consequences' | Gov. Inslee pens letter urging Idaho governor to veto abortion trafficking bill

In a letter, Inslee urged Idaho Gov. Brad Little to veto House Bill 242, a bill that would criminalize helping a minor get an abortion in another state.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is asking Idaho's governor to veto a bill that would make it illegal to help a minor get an abortion in another state, despite the fact abortion is legal in two of Idaho's neighboring states.

In a letter, Inslee asked Idaho Gov. Brad Little to veto House Bill 242 (HB 242), a bill that would make it illegal for any person to help an Idaho minor get an abortion in another state, even if abortion is legal in that state. Inslee claims the bill, referred to as the "abortion trafficking bill", could have "many unacceptable consequences that cannot be cured."

HB 242 was passed by the Idaho Senate in a 27-7 vote on March 30. After several amendments were made by the Idaho House, lawmakers passed a bill that same day and sent it to Little's desk, where it currently sits.

Inslee said the impacts of HB 242 concern him greatly, specifically how it will impact Washington residents traveling to and from Idaho. Additionally, he questioned the constitutionality of the law and said Little is aware of the "costly legal challenges" he could face if the bill is signed.

"I fear that our residents, in particular the women and girls of Washington, will be in grave danger if they travel to your state and find themselves in need of urgent reproductive health care services," Inslee wrote. "This bill would also attempt to punish some Washington residents who happen to be in your state for any length of time, a gross abuse of their right to travel between our states."

Although HB 242 may soon become law in Idaho, Inslee said Idahoans will still be welcome to receive reproductive care in Washington.

"And, as we did during COVID, we will care for your residents in a manner consistent with their health care needs as determined by trained medical professionals, not politicians," he wrote.

Read the full letter below:

In addition to the letter, Inslee announced Tuesday that Washington state had purchased a three-year supply of mifepristone, an abortion medication that is currently at the center of a lawsuit in Texas. 

The state Department of Corrections (DOC) purchased the medication last month and received the full shipment of mifepristone on March 31.

State lawmakers in Washington also introduced Senate Bill 5768, a bill that would authorize the DOC to distribute or sell the mifepristone to licensed health providers.

According to the Washington Department of Health, there are approximately 800 medical abortions in Washington every month.

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