Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Washington Abortion Laws

Abortion is legal in Washington until fetal viability. Thereafter, abortion is legal only if necessary to protect the pregnant individual's life or health.

Washington abortion laws are relatively relaxed, with very few restrictions on patients seeking the procedure. The state of Washington does not have common abortion restrictions found in other states. There is no requirement for parental consent and no waiting period before the procedure. Washington law permits the use of state funds for abortion care.

Washington Abortion Law After Dobbs

In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which returned to the states the power to regulate, even prohibit, abortion. 

Although Dobbs caused dramatic legal changes in some states, it had no immediate effect in Washington state. The Evergreen State legalized abortion in 1970 under state law.

In 1991, it expanded abortion access by passing the Washington Reproductive Privacy Act. That law forbids the state from denying or interfering with a pregnant individual's right to choose an abortion prior to viability of the fetus or, after viability, when necessary to protect the patient's life or health.

In recent years, Washington has enacted laws that require reproductive parity. If an in-state health insurance plan covers maternity services, it must also cover abortion services.

The state legislature also passed a shield law that provides protections for the provision of reproductive health care services. This includes situations where out-of-state residents come to Washington abortion providers for care they cannot receive in their state.

Washington also allows the use of state Medicaid funds to cover abortion services. Abortion clinics and organizations like Planned Parenthood can access state funds to assist low-income patients.

Those who may not qualify for Medicaid but still have difficulties with funding can contact the Northwest Abortion Access Fund. This nonprofit organization can provide limited assistance with the cost of travel and abortion services in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.

Support For People With Abortion Questions

You can find detailed information on abortion rights and reproductive health care on the website of the Washington State Department of Health. This includes a FAQ section and updates regarding medication abortion in the state.

The Washington State Attorney General's Office also provides helpful resources and information in a document called Know Your Rights.

Washington Abortion Laws at a Glance

Learn more about Washington's abortion laws in the table below. See FindLaw's Reproductive Rights section for more information.

Relevant Washington Abortion Statutes (Laws)

Revised Code of Washington

Title 9, Crimes and Punishments, Chapter 9.02, Abortion

Title 9A, Washington Criminal Code, Chapter 9A.50, Interference with Health Care Facilities or Providers

Title 48, Insurance, Chapter 48.43, Insurance Reform

  • 48.43.073 - Required abortion coverage - limitations

When Is Abortion Legal?

Abortion is legal in Washington until fetal viability. Thereafter, abortion is legal only if necessary to protect the pregnant individual's life or health.

Consent Requirements

Standard patient consent is required. See RCW Section 7.70.060. There is no specific abortion parental consent or notification law in Washington for minors.

Availability of Medication Abortion?

Yes. Medication abortion is available in Washington.

In 2023, Governor Jay Inslee purchased some 30,000 doses of abortion medications to maintain the state availability of the drugs, depending on the outcome of a federal lawsuit.

Criminal Penalties for Unlawful Abortion

Unauthorized abortion is a Class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

The law provides the state shall not penalize, prosecute, or take adverse action against an individual based on their pregnancy outcomes. It also cannot penalize, prosecute, or take adverse action against someone assisting a pregnant individual in exercising their right to reproductive freedom with their voluntary consent.

Residency Requirements for Patients

There are no residency requirements. Washington provides abortion services to both residents and non-residents.

Physician Licensing Requirements

A physician (MD), osteopathic physician (DO), physician assistant (PA), advanced registered nurse practitioner, or other health care provider acting within the provider's scope of practice may perform an abortion within their scope of practice.

Note: State laws change often, either through the enactment of new legislation or higher court decisions and other means. Contact a Washington state healthcare lawyer, family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the status of any state law(s) you are reviewing.

How Does Washington Compare To Other States?

Laws in Washington align with the majority of states that provide for legal abortion up to fetal viability. Its expansion of the healthcare providers available to perform abortion services and insurance coverage for such care shows a commitment to abortion rights.

State leaders have sought to add reproductive healthcare protection to the state constitution, but that effort appears to have stalled at present.

In contrast, states like Texas and neighboring Idaho uphold abortion bans that have severe abortion restrictions. Texas prohibits abortion unless it is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman. Idaho only permits abortion in cases of rape or incest reported to law enforcement or to save the life of the pregnant woman.

A Note About Medication Abortion

The abortion pill regimen commonly used today was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. Medication abortion normally occurs in the first trimester of a pregnancy, often in the first 10 weeks. A recent study found that medication abortion accounts for over 60% of abortions in the U.S. in 2023.

In 2022, abortion opponents challenged FDA regulations associated with mifepristone, one of the two drugs used in medication abortion. They objected to the FDA's original approval of the drug and to changes it approved in the prescribing and dispensing of the drug in 2016 and 2021.

A federal judge in Texas issued an injunction on the use of mifepristone. In Washington, a different federal judge ruled that federal officials could not prevent access to the drug in states involved in a lawsuit over such availability.

The U.S. Supreme Court stayed all rulings in the lower courts and permitted the drug to remain in use for now. The Court is expected to issue a final ruling later in 2024.

Research the Law

Washington Abortion Laws: Related Resources

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select
Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options