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Public hospitals with maternity services must offer abortions

OLYMPIA – Public hospitals that provide maternity services must also provide access to contraception and abortion, even if they contract with a private company that bars such services, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Wednesday.

In a formal attorney general’s opinion, Ferguson said state law, approved by voters in 1991, requires that a public hospital offer “substantially equivalent” abortion and contraceptive services if they provide maternity care.

Private hospitals, including those run by the Catholic Church, which has religious objections to contraception and abortion, have no such obligation, he said.

While private hospitals dominate Washington’s major cities, many rural areas have established public hospital districts, which elect board members and levy taxes to help cover some of the costs of medical care. Read more. Jim Camden, SR


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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.