OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — After facing criticism that a bill purporting to mandate parental notification for minors seeking abortions would also place long-existing abortion rights in the state at risk, Republican lawmakers on Monday introduced revisions narrowing the bill's scope.
In its original form, Senate Bill 5156 would have repealed two laws passed by voter initiative in 1991 codifying in state law that women have the right to seek abortions and that doctors have the right to perform them.
By extension, the bill would have made doctors performing abortions in the state guilty of a class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, in the event that federal laws allowing abortion are reversed.
Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, a bill sponsor, said that the state's code revisers office, a non-partisan body that helps draft and review bills to make sure they are consistent with existing statutes, recommended that the two laws be repealed in order to avoid any possible conflict with a new definition of abortion contained in the bill.
That definition, which Padden described as "broader and more-up-to date" than the state's current one, explicitly included the use of any drug, substance or device with the intent to end a pregnancy and "with reasonable likelihood cause the death of the unborn child."
In the revised version of the bill, both the new definition of abortion and the repeal of existing law are eliminated.