As officials responded with anger and pledges to protect access in the city and across the state, thousands marched in downtown Seattle Friday night, with large groups gathering in Westlake and in front of the Seattle Federal Office Building following the Supreme Court ruling reversing Roe vs. Wade and eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.
The protests followed demonstrations in May including marches and rallies on Capitol Hill after the court’s decision was leaked. They come as the city is celebrating Pride with festivals, parties and celebrations on Broadway and across Pike/Pine, and the annual downtown march on Sunday. The return of longtime Pride tradition the Seattle Dyke March is slated for Saturday night.
Westlake rally group meets up with 2nd Ave group pic.twitter.com/MiyMYjm3VR
— Genna Martin (@photogenna) June 25, 2022
The entire block is filled with people in downtown Seattle protesting for abortion rights following today’s #SCOTUS decision. I have so far not seen any counter protesting groups. pic.twitter.com/xyZ81v0iMe
— Michelle Baruchman ⛰ (@mlbaruchman) June 25, 2022
State and local officials are pledging to maintain access to abortion and reproductive health services — and making preparations to be a “sanctuary” for those in need.
“The law remains unchanged in Washington state, but the threat to patient access and privacy has never been more dangerous. Even in Washington state, Republicans have introduced about 40 bills in the past six years to roll back abortion rights and access to reproductive care,” Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement Friday morning as Washington joined Oregon and California in “a Multi-State Commitment to defend access to reproductive health care, including abortion and contraceptives, and committed to protecting patients and doctors against efforts by other states to export their abortion bans to our states.”
King County Executive Dow Constantine, meanwhile, announced $1 million “in emergency funding to ensure safe access to abortion in King County.”
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said his office is seeking to spend $250,000 “in efforts to expand access to reproductive health care through the Northwest Abortion Access Fund.”
“More people will come to Seattle from out of state to seek safe and accessible reproductive care, which is why we’re responding to this unprecedented moment in our supplemental budget proposal,” Harrell said in a statement.
The King County Prosecutor’s office said it would join more than 80 jurisdictions across the country refusing to prosecute “those who seek, assist in or provide abortions.” Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney, called the Supreme Court decision “an affront to 50 years of settled jurisprudence and a fundamental attack on access to reproductive healthcare.”
— hannah krieg (@hannahkrieg) June 25, 2022
District 3 City Councilmember Kshama Sawant representing Capitol Hill and the Central District was part of Friday night’s downtown protests after earlier in the day announcing new legislation to strengthen Seattle’s place as an “abortion rights sanctuary city.” The proposed legislation would “prevent Seattle police officers from processing arrest warrants related to anti-abortion laws around the country, for both patients and their doctors and other care providers.” Sawant said she also wants the city to fund free abortion services “for all those seeking sanctuary from anti-abortion laws around the country and for all Seattle residents.”
In her statement on the legislation, Sawant attacked the nation’s Democratic leadership for its inaction.
“Today we face the single biggest attack on women, queer and pregnant people, and reproductive rights in most of our lifetimes, and this right-wing Supreme Court has also given every indication that they plan to carry out draconian attacks on LGBTQ rights,” Sawant said. “Working people cannot rely on the Democratic Party and their NGO allies, who failed to mount a fight against the right. We must get independently organized.”
Businesses on Capitol Hill have also responded. Optimism Brewing pledged to donate $1 from every pint sold to the National Network of Abortion Funds.
Meanwhile, earlier in the week as the ruling was expected to come down in Washington D.C., a new wheat-pasted message went up at the corner of Pine and 12th on the side of the liquor store sometimes used for advertising but also a popular place for graffiti and messages of protest.
“We will aid and abet abortion,” it read.
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