ACLU Checks Up on Hospital Abortion Procedures

Feb 19, 2015

The ACLU of Washington is launching an effort to ensure that hospitals are following the state’s abortion rights law. Thursday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit seeking to have Skagit Regional Health comply with Washington’s Reproductive Privacy Act, or RPA.

The ACLU’s Doug Hoenig says the public hospital has a policy of not providing abortion services, in violation of state law. Hoenig says The ACLU also has sent letters to three other public hospital districts in Mason County, Jefferson County, and Whidbey Island that have the same policy.

Hoenig: “What this is about at it’s core is the right of a woman to choose or refuse to have a baby. It’s long been recognized under Washington law. And we want to be sure the women in our state can access the full reproductive health care when they go to public facilities.”

Hoenig says his group is also assessing all other hospital districts around the state for compliance with the RPA. The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Ms. Kevan Coffey, is a licensed nurse practitioner and doctoral student in nursing who resides in Mount Vernon.

The Reproductive Privacy Act was enacted by the people of Washington in 1991 by way of the statewide approval of Initiative 120. The Act says clearly that if a government entity provides maternity care services, it must also provide abortion services.