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Details specific to Washington State


It was made legal throughout the US in 1973 by a Supreme Court decision known as Roe v Wade. This decision is based on a woman’s right to privacy regarding medical matters including family planning. The Supreme Court allows some restrictions on the practice of abortion. These restrictions vary from state to state.


Since 1973, abortion has become the most often performed outpatient surgery. Thousands of doctors across the country have learned to provide abortion using the safest medical techniques. Today, abortion is about 10 times safer than giving birth.


Becoming a parent is a very important decision that will affect the rest of your life. It’s essential to make your own decision. No one else has the right to tell you what to do. Listen to your own heart.

If you - or someone you know - is pregnant, it’s a good idea to talk about it with someone you trust. Talk with a friend, parent, teacher, relative, or call a clinic. (In Washington, it is NOT necessary to have your parent's permission.)

Once you have made your decision, believe in yourself for making a good decision. Abortion is the right of every woman.


In Washington state, parent’s permission is NOT required for a minor to obtain abortion, pregnancy tests, birth control methods, or tests for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. It is also not necessary to notify a parent before or after the procedure or test.

When teens feel they cannot tell their parents, they have compelling reasons, such as mentally ill or chemically dependent parents, family violence or incest. Laws cannot mandate good family communications. Desperate teens seek illegal abortion or even commit suicide rather than tell their parents. Parental consent laws are bad medicine and bad legislation. Responsible parents open the doors of communication themselves; they do not expect government to do it for them. Parental consent/notice laws are a form of parents abdicating responsibility to the government to curb the decisions teens may make.


In Washington state, if you are pregnant and low income, you may qualify for "Medical Assistance" -- regardless of your age, and regardless of whether you want to give birth or get an abortion. Contact your local DSHS, to sign up for Medical Assistance for pregnant women.


The cost of an abortion depends on the stage of pregnancy and which clinic is providing services. First trimester procedures run about $500-1000. Second trimester procedures cost $600-10,000. Many insurance plans cover abortion. In Washington, abortion is covered by the state medical assistance. State Medicaid coverage varies from state to state.


Abortion is covered under many insurance plans. The clinic can help by verifying coverage and other paperwork. It may not be necessary to obtain a referral from a primary care physician before setting up an abortion appointment.


Abortion is very safe. It is safer than giving birth and safer than receiving an injection of penicillin. Like all medical procedures, there are some risks with abortion, but the risk is comparatively minimal.

Potential complications from the abortion procedure include

  • incomplete abortion - which means the procedure needs to be repeated (a minor complication)
  • infection - which is easily treated with antibiotics
  • perforation of the uterine wall - for which the treatment may be nothing, to surgical repair in a hospital, depending on the severity.

Less than 1% of all abortion patients experience a major complication, such as serious pelvic infection, hemorrhage requiring a blood transfusion or unintended major surgery. The risks associated with abortion increases with the length of pregnancy. Hysterectomy is exceedingly rare.

The risk of death associated with childbirth is about 10 times as high as that associated with abortion.

Unless you have a complication during or after the abortion, abortion has no impact on your future ability to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term.

Details about the Abortion Procedure

The above information is current as of May 2005. If the Washington State Legislature passes new laws affecting abortion in WA state, this page will be updated. Washington State abortion law is governed by Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. in 1973 and Initiative 120 which was passed by the voters of Washington in 1991.

"I often hear people say, 'in a perfect world there would be no abortions.' But in my perfect world, the world I am hoping to help create, I do not toss out abortion so hastily. We need a safe world for women, one in which we control our bodies, our sexuality, our reproduction. And if abortion is part of a woman's quest, I would have the experience be painless, nurturing, free, safe, and without stigma. In my perfect world, each moment of our lives will be ones that encourage us to love our bodies and celebrate our power."
- Sarah B., Young Women's Voices

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