Washington passes “shield law” to protect people from out-of-state seeking gender-affirming care

JUNE 13 2021: Protest at Brooklyn for trans youth rights.
Photo: Shutterstock

Legislators in Washington have passed a “shield law” to make the state a sanctuary for people seeking gender-affirming care and abortions.

H.B. 1469 prohibits Washington legal authorities from cooperating with out-of-state subpoenas, court orders, warrants, and extradition requests regarding gender and reproductive health care. The law protects both state residents as well as those from other states who come to Washington to obtain health care.

“The purpose of this bill is to ensure that those seeking care or those providing care for reproductive and gender-affirming care under the laws of our state are shielded from liability,” said state Sen. Yasmin Trudeau (D), during a speech on the state senate floor. “Washington voters and this legislature have been very clear on this issue — we support the right to that access, we also support anyone who comes into this state to receive that access.”

State Rep. Drew Hansen (D), who introduced the bill, stated after the bill passed the state house, “If other states want to be creative and aggressive in restricting abortion, we will be creative and aggressive in fighting back.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) is expected to sign the bill into law.

The legislation has become increasingly relevant as Washington’s neighbor, Idaho, continues to pass harsh laws restricting both reproductive rights and gender-affirming care.

Earlier this month, Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed one of the nation’s most punitive bans on gender-affirming care that made providing such care to a trans person under the age of 18 a felony with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The Idaho bill bans gender-affirming surgery from being performed on trans minors, though such surgeries aren’t performed on minors. The bill also bans doctors from prescribing puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy to people under the age of 18.

Around the same time, Idaho became the first state to ban some out-of-state travel for abortions, making it illegal to help a pregnant minor obtain an abortion in another state. This comes after Idaho already banned almost all abortions in August.

Exhausted but energized, the lawmakers filibustering to stop an anti-trans law are nowhere near done

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