New report shows rise in abortions performed in Washington, as national numbers decline
The number of abortions performed in Washington has increased over the past few months, while the total number for abortions performed nationally has decreased.
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The numbers could represent a trend of more people traveling from states with restrictive abortion laws to states with reproductive protections in place since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
A new Society of Family Planning report found that Washington performed 5% more abortions in August compared to April. The total number of abortions performed nationwide declined by about 6% during that timeframe, from 85,020 abortions performed in April compared to 79,620 procedures in August.
“In July, the first full month after [the Roe decision], in states that had decreases in abortion access, an estimated 9,990 fewer people obtained abortions in those states as compared to April,” the report states. “In August, 12,380 fewer people obtained abortions in states with declines, as compared to April.
Overall, a total of 22,370 fewer people obtained an abortion in states with declines in care. These people potentially were forced to travel to another state, to delay their abortion, to self-manage their abortion, or to continue a pregnancy they did not want.”
Washington’s 5% increase (representing 90 more abortions performed in August than in April) could be related to neighboring Idaho’s near-total abortion ban. That ban was spurred by the Idaho Supreme Court’s vote that declined to stop a Republican-backed state law criminalizing nearly all abortions in the state following the SCOTUS ruling.
Abortions performed in Idaho plummeted by 48% in August compared to April, according to the report.
The Northwest Abortion & Gender Justice Coalition recently installed billboards in Spokane and Yakima to inform abortion seekers they are safe in seeking services in Washington. The “Dear Abortion Seeker” signs were placed near the Idaho-Washington border.
While Washington laws already protect abortion rights, several of the state’s lawmakers, including Gov. Jay Inslee, have recently announced several new policy proposals that will be part of a 2023 legislative package that aims to strengthen abortion access and other reproductive health services in the state.
Inslee announced in October that he will be pursuing legislation to install a constitutional amendment that would establish a fundamental right to an abortion, as well as a fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.