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Washington Abortion Laws

While Roe v. Wade legalized abortion at the federal level, regulation of the controversial procedure is governed by state law. Laws vary widely from state to state. Washington abortion laws are relatively relaxed, with very few restrictions on patients seeking the procedure. In fact, the Washington Reproductive Privacy Act explicitly forbids the state from denying or interfering with a woman's right to choose an abortion (prior to viability of the fetus or to protect the mother's health).

Most state laws regarding abortion focus on licensing and zoning requirements of clinics; parental or spousal consent; waiting periods; and other administrative measures.

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering a legal challenge to Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health. A decision is expected in June 2022.

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

Code Section 9.02.100 et seq.
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion Any medical treatment intended to induce the termination of a pregnancy except for the purpose of producing a live birth. Partial Birth Infanticide: Regulating partial-birth infanticide is not regulating abortion, but rather is proscribing infanticide by restricting the killing of a live infant who is in the process of birth. Partial birth infanticide is unlawful, but does not apply when the procedure was used to prevent the death of the mother when no other medical procedure would suffice, including the induction of labour or cesarean section.
Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion Reproductive Privacy Act: "The state may not deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose to have an abortion prior to viability of the fetus or to protect her life or health." State may regulate as is medically necessary to protect the life, health of mother and consistent with established medical practice and in keeping with the least restrictive on the woman's right to have an abortion
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion Unauthorized abortion performed: Class C felony
Consent Requirements -
Residency Requirements for Patients -
Physician Licensing Requirements Licensed M.D., and licensed hospital, except when medical emergency, licensed health care provider may assist

Note: State laws are constantly changing, usually through the enactment of new legislation but sometimes through higher court decisions and other means -- contact a Washington constitutional law attorney, health care lawyer, or family law attorney; or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Washington Abortion Laws: Related Resources

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