Democrats should reconsider proposed ‘abortion anytime’ change to state constitution, says Padden, who notes strong opposition to proposal

State Sen. Mike Padden issued this statement following the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee’s public hearing today on Senate Joint Resolution 8202, a Democrat-sponsored proposal requested by Gov. Jay Inslee that could remove all limits on abortion through a change to Washington’s constitution. Padden, R-Spokane Valley, is a committee member.

“Contrary to what our governor might believe, most people have complex and nuanced views on abortion. According to a national Marist Poll last May, only 24 percent of Americans think abortion should be available at any point during a pregnancy, while 68 percent favor some type of restrictions on abortion. This proposed constitutional amendment could open the door for future legislatures in Washington to ease current restrictions on abortions in our state.

“We need to show our humanity and compassion toward the unborn child as well as the mother, and there are proposals this session that reflect this need. For instance, I have sponsored a proposal (Senate Bill 5098) that would ban abortions of unborn children with Down syndrome. One of my Senate colleagues, Senator Shelly Short, has introduced a measure (Senate Bill 5227) that would ban abortions based on sex selection – like aborting a girl simply because the parents want a boy.

“As we saw during testimony today on this divisive and controversial proposal, 622 people signed up against SJR 8202, while only 325 were in favor of it. Senate Democratic leaders should consider this strong opposition when deciding whether to move their proposal forward.

“I think most Washingtonians, even those who generally support abortion, would find this proposal too extreme and unacceptable.”

Besides serving on the Health and Long Term Care Committee, Padden is ranking Republican on the Senate Law and Justice Committee. He serves the 4th Legislative District.

Because SJR 8202 is a proposed constitutional amendment, it would require two-thirds approval in the Senate and two-thirds approval in the House for the Legislature to pass it. If this measure is approved by the Legislature this year, it would be placed on the statewide ballot for Washington voters to decide in the 2023 general election in November.

The 2023 legislative session is scheduled to end April 23.