Tag Archives: Abortion

Abortion Pills Are Now Permanently Available by Mail — What That Means for the PNW

by Megan Burbank


On Dec. 16, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permanently lifted a dispensing requirement for mifepristone, one of two medications commonly used in medication abortions, allowing the drug to be dispensed through the mail. At the time, many media outlets framed it as a new broadening of access to medication abortion. But the rule had already been temporarily lifted, and its newly permanent status reflects a longstanding effort on the part of reproductive health providers to make the medication available more widely. But even with the permanent rule change, access to medication abortion remains wildly varied. Here’s what you need to know.

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Here’s What Could Happen in Washington if Roe v. Wade Is Overturned

by Megan Burbank


With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that legalized abortion in 1973, abortion access could be newly restricted as soon as this summer. But abortion won’t be criminalized overnight. Because there’s no national anti-abortion law, reversing Roe would leave the future of abortion access up to the discretion of state legislatures. That means 26 states would likely ban the procedure, but in Washington State, abortion care would continue.

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All Those ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Comparisons Ignore the Reality of Anti-Abortion Laws

by Megan Burbank


On Oct. 2, hundreds of activists gathered in Seattle’s Westlake Park to protest Texas’ six-week abortion ban, Senate Bill 8. Similar rallies took place in every state that day, in what the Women’s March framed as a response to “the most dire threat to abortion access in our lifetime.” Nationwide messaging from the Women’s March had encouraged attendees not to bring weapons, images of wire coat hangers, or Handmaid’s Tale-inspired costumes.

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How One Local Abortion Clinic Weathered COVID-19 and Why It Matters

by Megan Burbank


As businesses closed, travel was canceled, and Washingtonians stayed home under Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order early 2020, Cedar River Clinics, the independently operated network of abortion clinics in Renton, Seattle, and Tacoma were experiencing a boom.

“We had patients traveling to us,” said Mercedes Sanchez, director of Development, Communications, and Community Education and Outreach for the clinics. “People were willing to travel to an epicenter of the pandemic to get care.”

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PHOTO ESSAY: Seattle Joins Women’s March for Abortion Rights

by Maile Anderson


People gathered across the nation to rally for basic abortion rights and access on Saturday, Oct. 2. In Seattle, the local chapter of the Women’s March (a national group based in D.C.) held a rally at Westlake Park. The protest was a response to Texas’ recent law which bans abortion after six weeks and empowers citizens to sue those who seek out or facilitate an abortion. 

Though the rally was short, the message rang loud and clear: The attacks on abortion are constant, these attacks disproportionately impact BIPOC, working-class, and poor communities, and we must keep fighting back. 

Various signs read “Bans off our Bodies” and “We Will Not Go Silently Back to the ’50s!” Many of the signs were reminiscent of slogans from the first Women’s March in 2017, which was a nationwide protest against the election of the previous president. Some at Saturday’s rally have been protesting for abortion rights since the 1970s.

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Patients Are Traveling From Texas for Abortion Care. This May Be the New Normal.

by Megan Burbank


At midnight on the first day of September, after the Supreme Court failed to respond to an appeal from abortion providers, a law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect in Texas. SB 8 has ended access to an estimated 85% of procedures, empowered ordinary people to sue fellow citizens for seeking out or facilitating abortion care, and pushed patients to seek care across state lines, some as far as the Pacific Northwest. Less than a month after SB 8’s implementation, Planned Parenthood disclosed to the Emerald that its Central District Health Center had seen its first patient from Texas.

This disruption in care, and rise in anti-abortion vigilanteism, has already been challenged by the Justice Department and drawn widespread criticism. Reproductive health care providers question its use of the term “fetal heartbeat,” a descriptor that’s more emotional than clinical (the sound heard on ultrasounds is caused by electrical activity; heart valves aren’t actually present). Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor offered a blistering, Ruth Bader Ginsburg-esque dissent calling the law “clearly unconstitutional.” The law has even been condemned by private companies like Lyft, which established a defense fund to cover legal fees for drivers sued under the law. In the words of one Slate headline: “The Supreme Court Overturned Roe v. Wade in the Most Cowardly Manner Imaginable.”

But none of these objections lessen the impact the law has already had. SB 8 has had “a chilling effect” on abortion providers in Texas, said Lisa Humes-Schulz, vice president of policy and regulatory affairs at Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. “No one wants to get sued,” she added, and the fallout has been swift.

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The Emerald Guide to Abortion Access In and Around Seattle

Updated for 2022 by Megan Burbank
Previous reporting from Jessie McKenna and Marti McKenna


With the Supreme Court weighing Texas’ six-week abortion ban and a forthcoming challenge to Roe v. Wade, it’s a challenging time to be a person seeking abortion care. But Washington diverges from national trends toward anti-abortion legislation. Here, we have state-level protections for Roe v. Wade and coverage for abortion whether you’re on State Medicaid or private insurance. But seeking abortion care in and around Seattle can still be complicated.

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