Proposed legislation that would protect healthcare providers from being held criminally liable for offering reproductive care services by governments in states that have outlawed abortion has the support of more than three in five Washington voters, with a majority (52%) strongly supportive, a poll conducted last week for the Northwest Progressive Institute has found.
62% of 782 likely Washington State voters surveyed October 19th-20th, 2022 for NPI by Public Policy Polling said they supported Senator Patty Murray and U.S. Representative Kim Schrier’s Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act (H.R. 8650 in the House and S.4723 in the Senate).
Only 26% were opposed, while 12% said they were not sure.
“As the only pro-choice woman doctor in Congress, I will always defend women’s access to a safe abortion,” Representative Schrier said in a statement to the Northwest Progressive Institute. “Targeting doctors is another extreme tactic that Republican state legislatures across the country are using to restrict women from making their own healthcare decisions. This important bill would protect doctors’ ability to perform their duties as medical professionals.”
“It’s clear that Washington State voters agree: Doctors shouldn’t be punished for providing their patients with legal abortion care — full stop,” said Senator Patty Murray in a statement to the Northwest Progressive Institute.
“The strong public support for our legislation across Washington state reaffirms what we know to be true: that doctors must be able to provide reproductive health care without fear, and that decisions about pregnancy belong to a woman and her doctor, her family, and her faith — not to politicians.”
First introduced in the Senate by Senators Patty Murray, Ben Ray Lujan, Alex Padilla, and Jacky Rosen, the bill would, as summarized by Schrier’s office:
- Protect health care providers in states where abortion is legal from laws that try to prevent them from providing reproductive health care services or make them liable for providing those services to patients from any other state
- Prohibit any federal funds from being used to pursue legal cases against individuals who access legal reproductive health care services or against health care providers in states where abortion is legal
- Create a new grant program at the Department of Justice to fund legal assistance or legal education for reproductive health care service providers
- Create a new grant program at the Department of Health and Human Services to support health care providers in obtaining physical, cyber, or data privacy security upgrades necessary to protect their practice and patients
- Protect reproductive health care providers from being denied professional liability insurance coverage because of legal services offered to patients
The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act is endorsed by the National Women’s Law Center, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Catholics for Choice, National Partnership for Women & Families, and Center for Reproductive Rights.
And now, thanks to our research, we know Washington voters endorse it, too.
Here’s the text of the question we asked and the answers we received:
QUESTION: Legislation has been introduced in Congress called the Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act, which would protect healthcare providers in states where abortion remains legal from being held criminally liable for offering reproductive care services by governments in states that have outlawed abortion. The bill would also fund legal assistance and education for reproductive healthcare service providers and prohibit insurance companies from denying them liability coverage because of the services they offer to patients. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act?
- Support: 62%
- Strongly: 52%
- Somewhat: 10%
- Oppose: 26%
- Somewhat: 7%
- Strongly: 19%
- Not sure: 12%
Our survey of 782 likely 2022 Washington State midterm voters was in the field from Wednesday, October 19th through Thursday, October 20th. The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling for the Northwest Progressive Institute and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5% at the 95% confidence interval.
It utilizes a blended methodology, with automated phone calls to landlines (50%) and text message answers from cell phone only respondents (50%).
In addition to majority support statewide, we also found majority support at the congressional district level, in Washington’s hotly contested 3rd Congressional District (56% total) and the 8th Congressional District, where Schrier is seeking reelection (62% total, matching the statewide finding).
Every single region in the state is supportive. 77% of King County backs the Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act, along with 54% of North Puget Sound, 66% of the South Sound, 55% of the Olympic Peninsula and Southwest Washington, and even 52% of Eastern and Central Washington.
Murray and Schrier’s opponents Tiffany Smiley and Matt Larkin are stridently opposed to reproductive rights, as are nearly all Republicans across the country. Larkin has said explicitly he supports a nationwide ban on abortion with no exceptions. Smiley has backed away from that position in an attempt to win over voters, but both Democratic and Republican activists have expressed the view that Smiley would vote for a ban if Mitch McConnell needed her to.
The Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act will only have a chance of becoming law in the next Congress if voters elect Democratic majorities.
As most Cascadia Advocate readers likely know, there aren’t enough Democratic votes in the Senate now to reform the filibuster. That changes if Murray, Cortez Masto, Hassan, Kelly, Warnock, and other Democratic senators win reelection and add two new first termers to their caucus, like John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin, or Cheri Beasley in North Carolina.
With two additional Democratic senators, Senate Democrats would be able to withstand Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema’s opposition to filibuster reform.
Meanwhile, to maintain a majority in the House, Democrats have to mount a strong defense by reelecting incumbents like Kim Schrier. Their chances of winning a majority will go up if they increase their commitment to going on offense with promising candidates like Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in WA-03, who would undoubtedly be a vote for the Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act.