Court ruling in ACLU/Skagit case

June 23, 2016

On Wednesday, the Skagit County Superior Court ruled against Skagit Regional Health in the lawsuit over whether the public hospital district is providing pregnancy termination services in line with the state’s Reproductive Privacy Act. Skagit and the Washington State Hospital Association are disappointed in the ruling.

This decision leaves Skagit, and potentially other hospital districts, in a position where they must provide termination services, even if there are no providers on staff willing to perform them. (Click here to read the court decision.)

The act contains a provision that if maternity care services are offered to women by the state (in this case the “state” is a public hospital district), the state must provide, “substantially equivalent benefits, services, or information to permit them to terminate their pregnancies.” However, the act goes on to state, “No person may be discriminated against in employment or professional privileges because of the person’s participation or refusal to participate in the termination of a pregnancy.”

The court does not provide how hospital districts should address a situation where there are no willing providers in a community. The case is still being reviewed. (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross)


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