A shameful day in our nation’s history

By Dow Constantine, King County Executive

This morning’s ruling by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade is the culmination of a decades-long strategy by right-wing zealots to strip the essential right to abortion care from millions of Americans. 

On a personal level, I am outraged that my daughter will come of age in a society that treats her as a second-class citizen, without authority even over her own body; in a country that lacks basic supports for families, like universal paid family leave and affordable access to quality child care; and in a country with scandalously high rates of maternal and infant mortality.

Even though Washington state law protects the right to abortion care, we know that neighboring states are poised to impose some of the strictest and most punitive abortion bans our nation has ever seen. Health care providers and public health leaders are bracing for an influx of people traveling to Washington state and King County to obtain an abortion.

That’s why today I’m announcing $1 million in emergency funding to bolster our response and live up to our values:

  • I’m partnering with Chair Claudia Balducci to ask the County Council to authorize $500,000 to be allocated directly to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, an organization dedicated to helping people secure abortion care in the Pacific Northwest 
  • I will also authorize $500,000 for an emergency fund at Public Health – Seattle & King County to ensure our local healthcare system is able to respond to the surge we know is coming.

It is clear that the Court’s sinister decision will not actually stop abortions from happening – it will, rather, take us back to a time when abortions were not safe. My administration will continue to support providers, public health workers, women, Trans and Non-Binary people, and families to ensure that King County remains a safe and welcoming place to access abortion care, family planning services, and the right to privacy. I welcome partnership and collaboration from my fellow elected leaders and community advocates as we navigate and respond to the impacts of this anti-American and dangerous decision.

This is a distressing day – a shameful day. It will be remembered as a day when America invalidated the established rights of the people. Remember that there are always people you can reach out to for emotional support. If you need to speak with someone, take the time to reach out to family members, friends, or colleagues. King County also provides two services to employees that offer professional support and advice: the Employee Assistance Program and Making Life Easier (username: King County). Both resources are free and confidential.