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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Executive Constantine signs order to prevent King County executive branch resources being used in abortion-related investigations

Summary

King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an executive order preventing any of the County’s executive branch resources from being used in out-of-state abortion-related prosecutions.

Story

King County Executive Dow Constantine announced and signed today an executive order prohibiting the use of County executive branch resources from being used in the investigation of any out-of-state abortion-related prosecutions.

This action follows the allocation of $1 million in emergency funding that was announced after the Supreme Court’s ruling was issued, which included $500,000 for Public Health – Seattle & King County. Executive Constantine transmitted a request to the King County Council that the remaining $500,000 be allocated to Northwest Abortion Access Fund. Councilmembers Balducci, Kohl-Welles, Perry, and Zahilay cosponsored the ordinance, which was approved earlier today on an 8 – 1 vote.

“The Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down half a century of precedent and protection under Roe v. Wade will undermine the health and wellbeing of millions of American women, girls, and those who are biologically able to become pregnant, as abortion moves from a safe, legal medical procedure, to illegal and underground in dozens of states,” said Executive Constantine. “By preventing the use of King County resources in the prosecution of those who are pregnant and fleeing other states in search of safe abortion, we not only recognize this critical element of health care, but also send a message that we will not allow these backward, dangerous, and spiteful policies to further degrade people’s privacy and liberty.”

“In the long term, we will have to fight a long and uphill battle to re-secure abortion rights for all Americans. In the short term, we need to support women whose rights, lives, and decisions have been abruptly upended by the Supreme Court’s onerous decision. That’s what we did today," said King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci. "I am not backing down from this battle—personally and professionally, I will continue to do everything I can to make sure women have the right to determine the course of their own lives, including if and when to have children.”

The executive order restricts King County executive departmental resources, including personnel, from being used to obstruct, restrict, diminish, or discourage any person from seeking and obtaining lawful reproductive health care in Washington. Additionally, no King County executive branch agency or its employees shall assist with the execution of any act that would result in prosecution related to exercising reproductive health care rights provided by Washington’s laws.

“Access to reproductive health care is a right in King County and Washington State and the King County Sheriff’s Office will work to uphold access to that right in line with our laws and this new order,” said King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall. “Our office treats everyone with respect and kindness and that is as true for people who have lived in King County all their lives as it is for those coming to our region seeking better opportunities, including health care.”

Executive Constantine is now working with King County Council Chair Balducci on an ordinance that would make the executive order permanent and applied to all county departments.

Relevant links


Quotes

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down half a century of precedent and protection under Roe v. Wade will undermine the health and wellbeing of millions of American women, girls, and those who are biologically able to become pregnant, as abortion moves from a safe, legal medical procedure, to illegal and underground in dozens of states. By preventing the use of King County resources in the prosecution of those who are pregnant and fleeing other states in search of safe abortion, we not only recognize this critical element of health care, but also send a message that we will not allow these backward, dangerous, and spiteful policies to further degrade people’s privacy and liberty.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

In the long term, we will have to fight a long and uphill battle to re-secure abortion rights for all Americans. In the short term, we need to support women whose rights, lives, and decisions have been abruptly upended by the Supreme Court’s onerous decision. That’s what we did today. I am not backing down from this battle—personally and professionally, I will continue to do everything I can to make sure women have the right to determine the course of their own lives, including if and when to have children.

Claudia Balducci, King County Council Chair

I was pleased to cosponsor and vote in favor of Chair Balducci’s ordinance to fund access to abortion care for those living in states where these services are no longer allowed. We must do everything we can to be a safe place for those seeking the care they need and should have the right to choose. There is no doubt that the recent Supreme Court ruling will lead to women and girls dying. This was not a pro-life decision. It was a decision that will have devastating ripple effects for women’s health for generations to come.

Jeanne Kohl-Welles, King County Councilmember

Our neighboring state of Idaho and other nearby states have turned one of the most critical and private decisions in a person’s life into a felony, not only for that individual, but for anyone supporting them in this deeply personal decision. With King County Council’s Emergency Ordinance 2022-0267, and the King County Executive Emergency Proclamation, the sovereignty of individuals wanting to make their own health care decisions will be upheld for our county residents, as well as for residents of other states where their individual sovereignty is no longer recognized. King County will never stop fighting to uphold the full rights of every individual.

Sarah Perry, King County Councilmember

Access to reproductive health care is a right in King County and Washington State and the King County Sheriff’s Office will work to uphold access to that right in line with our laws and this new order. Our office treats everyone with respect and kindness and that is as true for people who have lived in King County all their lives as it is for those coming to our region seeking better opportunities, including health care.

Patti Cole-Tindall, King County Sheriff

For more information, contact:

Chase Gallagher, Executive Office, 206-263-8537


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

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