News Abortion

‘Personhood,’ Parental Notification Bills Introduced in Washington State

Nina Liss-Schultz

Republicans in Washington, a state known for its pro-choice politics and widespread access to reproductive health care, have introduced two bills that would strike at that access, including a “personhood” bill that would give full legal rights to the “preborn” at “the moment of fertilization.”

Republicans in Washington, a state known for its pro-choice politics and widespread access to reproductive health care, have introduced two bills that would strike at that access, including a “personhood” bill that would give full legal rights to the “preborn” at “the moment of fertilization.”

HB 1687, introduced by 13 GOP Washington state representatives, is “personhood” legislation that has been introduced in several state legislatures and in Congress over the past few years.

The intent of the legislation is to classify fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses as people in order to grant them full legal protection, including the right to life from the moment of conception. “Personhood” efforts have failed spectacularly in ballot measures and legislatures in even the most Republicans-dominated states.

Democrats have a 51-47 majority in the Washington state house, casting doubts about the bill’s prospects.

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A second bill, SB 5289, would require physicians notify the parent of a minor 48 hours in advance of an abortion, arguing that “the capacity to become pregnant and the capacity for mature judgment concerning the wisdom of an abortion are not necessarily related.” The bill allows people seeking an abortion to petition a judge to waive the notice requirement.

Republicans have a narrow (25-24) majority in the state senate.

“Placing restrictions on young women’s access to abortion can delay her from seeking earlier, safer care, putting her health at risk,” NARAL Pro-Choice Washington said on its website.

Thirty-one states have parental involvement laws on the books, with 21 of them requiring parental consent and 12 requiring only notification, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

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