WA Passes Bills that Protect Abortion Rights and Bans Assault Rifles

Gun Rights
Image by Scott Graham from Unsplash.

Governor Inslee has passed several bills in recent months, many of which are significant in Washingtonians’ lives. Some say America hasn’t been so politically divided since the civil war. Depending on which way states swing, they are becoming more and more politically different. Inslee sought to protect the rights of Washingtonians with his most recent bills.

Abortions

On April 27, nearly a year after the supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade, Inslee signed five bills into the Washington government protecting abortion rights. With over half of the United States restricting reproductive rights on various levels, Inslee took charge to make sure Washington is a safe haven for all.

  • Senate Bill 5242 prohibits insurance companies from applying deductibles, coinsurance and copays for abortions for Washingtonians with private insurance. This means Washingtonians will not have to pay out of pocket to have an abortion.
  • Senate Bill 5768 protects access to abortion pills such as mifepristone. 
  • House Bill 1155 prevents the sale of private health data. For example, by period-tracking apps. 
  • House Bill 1340 protects doctors and other healthcare personnel providing abortions or gender-affirming care from discipline, such as having their license revoked. 
  • Finally, with many states having ‘correction’ disciplines like jail (South Carolina is trying to make the death penalty a discipline option), House Bill 1469 protects people who traveled to receive an abortion or gender-affirming care.

Guns

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House Bill 1240 was signed on April 25. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson started working on this initiative after the Mukilteo shooting in 2016, which killed three teenagers. In 2023 alone, there have already been more shootings than days. This bill bans the sale, manufacture and import of assault weapons in Washington State in hopes of protecting Washingtonians from mass shootings. Ownership of assault weapons is not illegal for law enforcement, military service members and those who have inherited a weapon.  

As predicted from pro-gun organizations, the bill is already facing a legal battle. The gun rights advocacy group headquartered in Bellevue, Second Amendment Foundation, launched a federal civil rights lawsuit against Ferguson. The founder and Executive Vice President, Alan Gottlieb, states “the state has criminalized a common and important means of self-defense, the modern semi-automatic rifle. The state has put politics ahead of constitutional rights, and is penalizing law-abiding citizens while this legislation does nothing to arrest and prosecute criminals who misuse firearms in defiance of all existing gun control laws. It is absurd.” Ferguson is confident that the ban will stay, as his office has fought against the NRA and Second Amendment Foundation on gun reforms in the past and won. Ferguson went on to say that “we are undefeated, and we plan to keep that record intact.”

Americans’ greatest asset is being able to talk freely and be heard by their politicians. If you wish to make a comment on any of these bills, you can share your opinion with the legislators by clicking on a specific bill on the Washington State Legislative website and pressing the “send a comment on this bill to your legislators” button.

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