Frequent Notes on Washington State Health Professionals and Abortions

The US Supreme Court is expected to issue an opinion in June 2022, which could have an impact Roe v. Wade verdict. It is supported by professional health regulators in Washington State Roe v. Wade it can cause practical concerns for our graduates.

The Washington State Medical Commission, the Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery Commission, the Nursing Quality Assurance Commission, and the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Committee wrote these frequently asked questions (FAQs) to clarify how Washington regulators will continue to address this issue, despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. .

What is the history of abortion laws in Washington state?

Washington Roe v. Wade was one of the first states to decriminalize abortion in 1970 with the 20th referendum. In 1991, the 120th initiative was approved. Initiative 120 ensures that “the state may not deny or impede the choice of a pregnant person to have an abortion prior to the viability of the fetus or to choose the right to protect her life or health.”

The Reproductive Equality Act became law in June 2018. This legislation improved access to reproductive health benefits and prevention services for all of Washington. She also specified that health plans cannot limit abortion services, and that if health coverage includes maternity care, she must also provide coverage that allows for abortion.

Make sure the Washington Abortion Access Act, enacted June 9, 2022, helps maintain a pregnant woman’s access to abortion care. This legislation expands the list of providers legally authorized to terminate a pregnancy and updates the language of Initiative 120 of 1991 to include transgender, non-binary, and gender-spreading people eligible for abortion care. It guarantees that Washington abortion care providers will be able to serve anyone who comes to Washington State seeking abortion services.

Will abortions remain legal in Washington state?


According to Washington law, “every individual has a basic right to privacy with respect to personal reproductive decisions” including “the basic right to choose or refuse an abortion.” (RCW 9.02.100)

In addition, state law makes it clear that no one can impede the right of a pregnant person to have an abortion before the viability of the fetus, nor the right of a health care professional to have an abortion. (RCW 9.02.110). For more information on feasibility, see below.

Under current state law, state regulators may not obstruct, obstruct, or impede a health care professional from performing an abortion that meets the state standard of care by acting within the scope of their practice.

What is an abortion and how many weeks can an abortion be performed?

Washington law defines abortion as “any medical treatment intended to terminate a pregnancy, except for the purpose of creating a live birth.” (RCW 9.02.170)

In Washington, abortions are legal to the point of viability of the fetus or to protect the life or health of the pregnant person. (RCW 9.02.110) Feasibility is defined as a “point of pregnancy” when there is a reasonable chance of fetal survival outside the uterus without the application of extra medical measures.

Feasibility is determined by the judgment of a physician, PA, ARNP, or other health care provider acting within the scope of the provider who is involved in the particular events of the case. (RCW 9.02.170)

In addition, Washington is taking a good faith judgment of a legal practitioner in defense of the RCW 9.02 violation. This means that if the viability or health of the pregnant person is questioned, providers who act in good faith are generally protected.

How state regulators determine discipline and licensing Roe v. Wade is it flipped?

The ruling does not affect the way health care regulators operate in Washington state.

Washington regulators are based on complaints. Each complaint filed with a state health regulator will be assessed based on its own specific facts and circumstances, as is currently the case in practice.

The Uniform Discipline Act (UDA) sets out the disciplines, licenses and powers conferred on health regulators and the Health Secretariat. The UDA section specifies what RCW 18,130,180 is unprofessional conduct. Healthcare regulators use their discretion, both in terms of licensing and discipline, to enforce these laws.

In Washington, abortion through the means found in RCW 9.02.170, which does not harm the pregnant woman and precedes the viability of the fetus, does not equal UDA violation.

In general, Washington does not discipline or waive a license or is based solely on the license or disciplinary status of another state.

Who can have an abortion in Washington state?

A physician (MD), osteopath (DO), physician assistant (PA), advanced professional nurse (ARNP), or other healthcare provider operating in the provider’s field of activity may perform an abortion as specified in RCW 9.02.170. their scope of practice. (EHB 1851, Chapter 65, Laws of 2022)

In addition, Washington regulations require all hospitals with emergency rooms to provide emergency contraception to women seeking treatment as a result of sexual assault. (WAC 246-320-286)

Providers can direct patients and the public to the Washington State Department of Health website for a collection of resources they can perform on abortions, insurance coverage orders, privacy laws, etc.: DOH Abortion Resource Website.

Can a pharmacist provide hormonal, non-hormonal, or emergency contraception in Washington State?

Yes, a pharmacist can prescribe hormonal, non-hormonal, or emergency contraceptives according to a valid prescription or board order. As with all other prescribed medications, pharmacists must comply with all applicable laws and regulations when administering hormonal, non-hormonal, or emergency contraceptives, including the requirement to ensure that a prescribed contraceptive is safe and appropriate for each patient (WAC 246-945-305). (2).

The Pharmacy Committee will consider and evaluate all complaints related to the provision of hormonal, non-hormonal, or emergency contraceptives by pharmacists. The Pharmacy Committee will evaluate each complaint according to its own facts and circumstances.

Several committees and committees have come together, here’s how.

The following health care professionals agree that while a U.S. Supreme Court ruling may affect the rights of pregnant women, Washington State law would not change a ruling. To find out how each committee deals with this issue, click on the following links:

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