OLYMPIA, Wash. — A Republican lawmaker in Washington has introduced a bill that would outlaw abortion in the state, and asserts the right to do so under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, filed House Bill 2154, also known as the “Abolition of Abortion in Washington Act,” which had its first reading on Thursday. It has now been referred to the House Health Care & Wellness Committee for consideration.
Co-sponsors currently include Reps. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver; Brad Klipper, R-Kennewick; and Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor.
“Homicide includes the killing of a natural person by abortion, which is the act of using or prescribing an instrument, drug, medicine, or any other substance, device, or means to intentionally cause the death of an unborn child,” the bill would add to current criminal statutes.
It defines a person as “including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization upon the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum, or in the case of asexual reproduction, at the equivalent stage of development, until birth.”
Shea’s legislation further directs the state attorney general to ensure that the law prohibiting abortion is enforced by local prosecutors “regardless of any contrary or conflicting federal acts, laws, treaties, decisions, orders, or regulations.”
It derives its power to do so from the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
“Any act, law, treaty, order, or regulation of the United States government that denies or prohibits protection of a human person’s inalienable right to life is null, void, and unenforceable in this state,” the Abolition of Abortion Act reads.
“The courts of the United States have no jurisdiction to interfere with this state’s interest in protecting human physical life from the moment that human physical life begins.”
Washington now joins several other states that have introduced legislation this year to outlaw abortion.
As previously reported, lawmakers in Idaho, Texas, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Indiana all presented bills this legislative season to prohibit abortion altogether in their state. However, in Oklahoma, Indiana and Idaho, Republican committee chairs have expressed opposition to the proposals, opining that they will be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional and will thus be ineffective.
Last month, the Oklahoma Baptist Convention released a statement as to why it does not support Sen. Joseph Silk’s “Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act,” opining that it “unnecessarily and purposely repeals hard-earned pro-life laws” in the state, such as parental notification requirements and bans on partial birth and dismemberment abortions. The Convention additionally expressed objection that the measure “even goes so far” as to repeal laws allowing exceptions for the life of the mother.
However, a coalition of Baptist pastors pushed back against the reasoning, stating that the only biblical position is abolishment, not merely the regulation of abortion.
“[The argument from the Convention] doesn’t convey faith in our God to me,” remarked Josh King of Meridian Church in a video posted to social media. “I think of Wilberforce laboring for four decades, and his legislation defeated 11 times before he saw the abolition of the slave trade. … If we don’t win, we don’t win, but it’s time to go for it.”