In 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, finding the United States Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. The court held that individual states may regulate any aspect of abortion not otherwise protected by federal law. Regulations must rationally relate to a legitimate state interest. Some states prohibit or limit access to abortion, while other states maintain legalized access to abortion.
Washington law prohibits the interference with a pregnant person's right to choose to have an abortion prior to viability or to protect the person's life or health. Certain types of health care providers are authorized to terminate a pregnancy in these circumstances.
Foreign Subpoenas. A subpoena is a document issued by a court that requires a person to appear at a specified place and time to provide testimony, or requires a person to produce documents or other items. A court in another state has no power to issue a subpoena in Washington unless a Washington court issues a valid subpoena on its behalf.
Under the Uniform Depositions and Discovery Act, a litigant in a foreign action may present a subpoena issued in the trial state to the clerk of the court in the Washington county in which discovery is sought. The clerk of the court must then issue a subpoena for service upon the person to be deposed or from whom discovery materials are sought. In issuing the subpoena, the Washington court acts in accordance with its own procedures. All applications to the court for a protective order or to enforce, quash, or modify a subpoena issued through the above procedure must comply with Washington court rules and applicable statutes.
Compelling Witnesses. Any person may be compelled to attend as a witness before any court of record, judge, commissioner, or referee, in any civil action or proceeding in this state. Under the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from Without A State in Criminal Proceedings, if a judge in another state certifies a grand jury investigation has commenced, or there is a criminal prosecution pending in such court, and a person in this state is a material witness, a judge of a court in the county in which the person is located is required to make an order directing the witness to appear for the hearing.
The judge will issue a summons for the witness if at a hearing the judge determines the witness is material, compelling the witness's attendance will not cause undue hardship, and the laws of the other state will protect the witness from arrest and service of civil and criminal process.
Private Communications and Information. The Privacy Act restricts the interception or recording of private electronic communications or conversations. As a general rule, it is unlawful for any person to intercept or record a private communication or conversation without first obtaining the consent of all persons participating in the communication or conversation. Courts may order the interception of communications without the consent of any party only in cases involving danger to national security, human life, or imminent arson or riot.
A law enforcement officer may apply to the superior court for a court order authorizing the installation and use of a pen register, a trap and trace device, or cell site simulator, and the court may authorize installation if:
If requested pursuant to a lawful court order, providers of wire and electronic communication services must provide law enforcement with all information, facilities, and technical assistance necessary to complete the installation.
Extradition. Under the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, the Governor is authorized to issue a warrant for the arrest of any person who is charged with committing a crime in another state and has fled from justice and is found in this state. A demand for the extradition of the person from the Governor of that foreign state must precede the warrant. The Governor may exercise discretion as to whether to issue the warrant and have the fugitive arrested and delivered to the executive authority of the demanding state.
Address Confidentiality Program. The Address Confidentiality Program allows a person meeting certain criteria to apply to the Secretary of State for a separate address to be designated to serve as the person's public address to keep the person's actual address confidential. An address can be designated for persons, and any family member residing with such person who:
A person may apply on their own or on behalf of a minor or incapacitated person who meets the criteria. A court order for disclosure of protected information relating to a participant in the program may only be issued upon a finding of probable cause that release is necessary for a criminal investigation or to prevent immediate risk to a minor.
Definitions. "Reproductive health care services" means all services, care or products of a medical, surgical, psychiatric, therapeutic, mental health, behavioral health, diagnostic, preventative, rehabilitative, supportive, counseling, referral, prescribing, or dispensing nature relating to the human reproductive system, including, but not limited to, all services, care, and products related to pregnancy, assisted reproduction, contraception, miscarriage management, or the termination of a pregnancy, including self-managed termination.
"Gender-affirming treatment" means health services or products that support and affirm an individual's gender identity, including social, psychological, behavioral, and medical or surgical interventions. Gender-affirming care services include, but are not limited to, evaluation and treatments for gender dysphoria, gender-affirmation hormone therapy, and gender-affirming surgical procedures.
"Protected health care services" means gender-affirming treatment and reproductive health care services that are lawful in Washington.
Foreign Subpoenas. Any request for the issuance of a subpoena under the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act must include an attestation, made under penalty of perjury, stating whether the subpoena seeks documents, information, or testimony related to the provision or receipt of protected health care services. The clerk of the court is prohibited from issuing a subpoena under the act if the party is seeking information, documents, or testimony related to the provision or receipt of protected health care services legal in Washington, and must present the subpoena to the court for action.
After reviewing the subpoena, the court may not issue the subpoena and must quash any existing subpoena issued by the court if the subpoena is related to protected health care services. The court may issue the subpoena if it is related to a claim that would exist under Washington law and is brought by a person seeking damages for loss of consortium or seeking the enforcement of a contractual relationship.
Compelling Witnesses. The summons of a witness in Washington to testify in a prosecution or grand jury investigation in another state is prohibited if the underlying action is related to the provision or receipt of protected health care services. A valid summons for a witness in Washington must include an attestation, made under penalty of perjury, stating that such prosecution or grand jury investigation does not seek documents, information, or testimony related to the provision or receipt of protected health care services.
Private Communications. Any ex parte order for the interception of private communications or conversations seeking information related to a criminal investigation for the provision or receipt of protected health care services must attest that such information is sought. Courts are prohibited from issuing such an order if this type of information is sought.
Courts are prohibited from issuing orders for the installation and use of pen registers, trap and trace devices, or cell site simulator devices related to the provision or receipt of protected health care services. All applications for the installation of such devices must include an attestation, made under penalty of perjury, stating whether the application seeks information related to the provision or receipt of protected health care services.
Extradition. No person may be extradited to another state if the demand for extradition states the person is charged with a crime in the demanding state related to the provision or receipt of protected health care services in Washington or a third state. An extradition demand claiming a person committed a crime in another state must include an attestation, made under penalty of perjury, stating whether the charge is related to the provision or receipt of protected health care services. No warrant may be issued, and no arrest may be effectuated, that is related to an extradition demand claiming criminal liability related to the provision or receipt of protected health care services.
Criminal Proceedings. No criminal warrant, subpoena, or order seeking records may be issued if such criminal process is related to the provision or receipt of protected health care services. A Washington recipient of such an order issued by or in another state does not need to comply if the process is related to criminal liability based on the provision or receipt of protected health care services. The person bringing the charge or complaint has an affirmative duty to disclose if the crime is related to criminal liability based on the provision or receipt of protected health care services.
False Attestation. Any false attestation submitted is subject to a $10,000 penalty per violation and subjects the attester to the jurisdiction of the courts of Washington for any suit, penalty, or damages arising out of the false attestation. For the statutory penalty to be applicable to a request for a foreign subpoena or testimony in a foreign criminal prosecution or grand jury investigation, the court must find that the false attestation was intentionally submitted and did seek information related to protected health care services.
Limits on Public Officers and Employees. A state court, judicial officer, court employee or clerk, or public employee or official may not apply any law contrary to the state's public policy to protect the provision and insurance coverage of protected health care services regardless of the location of the person receiving the services. Employees of state courts and public employees or officials may not issue or effectuate a subpoena, warrant, court order, arrest, or other civil or criminal legal process related to proceedings in another state in connection with the provision or receipt of protected health care services.
State or local agencies or departments are prohibited from cooperating with or providing information to any individual, agency, or department from another state, or to the extent permitted by federal law, to a federal law enforcement agency, for the purpose of enforcing another state's law that asserts criminal liability related to the provision or receipt of protected health care services.
Limits on Washington Businesses. Washington businesses that provide electronic communications services are prohibited from knowingly providing records, information, facilities, or assistance in response to a civil or criminal process that relates to an investigation into, or the enforcement of, another state's laws asserting criminal or civil liability for the provision or receipt of protected health care services.
Washington businesses that provide these services are also prohibited from complying with any subpoena, warrant, or civil or criminal process unless it is accompanied by an attestation stating the civil or criminal process does not seek documents, information, or testimony relating to an investigation into, or the enforcement of, another state's law asserting criminal or civil liability for the provision or receipt of protected health care services. Such businesses may rely on the representations made in the attestation in determining whether the civil or criminal legal process relates to protected health care services.
Interference with Protected Health Care Services. A claim for interference with protected health care services is established. The claim arises when a civil or criminal action is commenced against a party in any court in the United States where liability is based on the party's provision, receipt, or assistance with protected health care services or when any person in Washington receives a subpoena from any court in the United States where the information sought concerns such protected health care services. The claim does not apply to a judgement entered in another state based on an action for which a similar claim would exists under the laws of Washington or where no part of the acts that formed the basis for liability occurred in Washington.
A person with a claim for interference with protected health care services may maintain the claim if the civil or criminal action is objectively baseless and brought for in improper purpose. An underlying action is objective baseless if:
An underlying action is brought for improper purposes if:
If the court finds for a party in an action asserting a claim of interference with protected health care services authorized by this section, the party may recover damages from any party that brought the underlying action. Recoverable damages include:
Address Confidentiality. Any protected health care service provider, employee, or affiliate, and family members residing with the person, who attest they are the target of threats or harassment may apply to the Secretary of State's Address Confidentiality Program.
Miscellaneous. The attorney general may bring an action to enjoin any person from violating any provision of this chapter and the superior court may grant any orders or judgements necessary to enjoin such person from violating this chapter. For any action in which the attorney general prevails, the attorney general may recover the cost of the action, including reasonable attorneys' fees.
The Attorney General's Office must maintain a list of any laws of another state that impose criminal liability for the provision or receipt of protected health care services, and make the list available to the Washington State Patrol.
A person in Washington that receives a subpoena from any court may move to modify or quash the subpoena if the information sought concerns protected health care services and liability in the underlying action is based on a cause of action or criminal liability not available under Washington law or the law of another state that is substantially similar to Washington law.
This act is not to be construed to undermine the application of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution.
PRO: This bill restricts the ability of other states to use Washington courts and process to restrict protected health care services in Washington. After the Dobbs decision other state have sought to restrict abortion even outside the state's boarders. This bill will protect providers and those who seek abortions and gender-affirming care. This is essential for the continued provision of gender-affirming and life saving care. With the overturning of Roe, we have seen increased attacks on those who seek these services. This bill will help ensure providers and those who seek these services will not face legal ramifications. This bill allows Washington to hold true to its values. This bill offers clarity to both providers and those who seek these services. True religious freedom means allowing people to make decisions in line with their religion including when making medical decisions.
CON: This bill stokes fears in Washington that abortion services in this state are under attack. Abortion in Washington has been a settled issue for decades. This bill is unnecessary and dangerous. This bill does nothing to help vulnerable people seeking these services and could protect bad actors. This is another bill in a long line that supports abortion and gender mutilation and erodes family values. Under this bill, will create the perfect conditions for child sex trafficking. This will allow children to be surgically maimed. This puts children in danger of the decisions they make when they are young.
OTHER: This bill should protect parental rights so parents can protect their children. Providers are only concerned with starting the process and not doing what is right for these kids.
PRO: I know first hand that gender affirming care is lifesaving. We must pass this bill to ensure that people can receive care safely and that health providers are protected. This bill is essential for the continuation of lifesaving, medically necessary and evidence based care. Family and community support reduce suicidal ideas and this legislation will save trans lives. We support this legislation because providers of care to domestic violence and sexual assault do not need the extra burden of having to worry about other states' punitive laws aimed to wrongfully punish individuals seeking care. All survivors, regardless of state, have the right to receive appropriate medical information and care. I am a transgender individual and face significant security risk every day of my life. There have been no fiscal objections made to this bill; rather, objections based arguments predicated on religious and moral grounds. Health care is a basic human need that is being criminalized in many states. Gender affirming medical care is associated with positive mental health outcomes and literally saves lives. This bill addresses the threat from other states launching investigations, proceedings and warrants about abortion and gender affirming cares. We support this bill because Washington State providers, patients, and helpers should not fear being investigated or jailed for providing or obtaining legal health care services.
CON: Children who question their gender grow out of it. Parents are the best protectors of children and have a natural right and duty for their care, custody and control of their children. This bill will make it easy for vulnerable children to be targeted for trafficking into Washington for irreversible surgeries and medication. If we are trying to protect children, why are we limiting the ability to investigate cases with this bill. Children do not have fully comprehensive ability until 20-22 years old. They need loving parents to help them in this kind of life altering decision making, and therefore, I ask you not to pass this bill.