Washington Abortion Laws
By FindLaw Staff | Legally reviewed by Nicole Prebeck, Esq. | Last reviewed December 22, 2022
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Abortion is legal in Washington through viability. Thereafter, abortion is legal only if necessary to save the life of the mother.
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. 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, after viability, 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.
Learn more about Washington's abortion laws in the space below. See FindLaw's Reproductive Rights section for more information.
Washington Abortion Laws at a Glance
|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 labor 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 and health of mother, and is consistent with established medical practice and in keeping with the least restrictive of the woman's right to have an abortion
|Penalty for Unlawful Abortion||Unauthorized abortion performed: Class 4 felony|
|Residency Requirements for Patients||-|
|Physician Licensing Requirements||First Trimester: Licensed M.D. or Nurse Practitioner; Second Trimester: Licensed M.D., and licensed hospital, except when medical emergency|
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 Law
- Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
Washington Abortion Laws: Related Resources
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