Key issues • Washington

Washington clinics brace for effects of Idaho’s near-total abortion ban

Clinics in Washington state that provide abortions are bracing for an influx of patients from Idaho, now that most abortions are illegal in that state. The only exceptions to the ban are cases of rape, incest, and to protect the life of the pregnant person. A judge ruled on Wednesday that under federal law, providers also have to be allowed to terminate pregnancies if it’s necessary to protect the patient’s health. But it’s on providers to prove that any given abortion fits under one of the exceptions — and if they’re found guilty of “criminal abortion,” providers face two to five years in prison. That’s the new legal landscape that clinics, advocates, and Washington’s attorney general say will prompt most Idaho residents seeking an abortion to head to Washington or Oregon. Patients from states like Texas are already heading to clinics in western Washington and Oregon for abortions.

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