(Olympia, WA) -- Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1851 into law Thursday. The measure is a direct response to a bill that recently passed through the Idaho legislature aimed at banning abortions after six weeks.

"This bill affirms that abortions are within the scope of practice of healthcare providers... this bill also protects patients from other states who would seek services in Washington", said Inslee at the signing. He also added that helping Idaho residents with medical attention is something Washington has done before. "We've had quite a lot of patients from Idaho. They were not as successful as we were in fighting the Covid pandemic, and as a result we took them into our hospitals and provided them medical services. We would intend to do that again".

The act both confirms that nurse practitioners and physician assistants are able to provide abortion care in Washington as a legal medical procedure, and shields both patients and providers from prosecution from outside sources.

The Idaho law is similar to one passed in Texas that bans abortion as a "fetal heartbeat" is detected, and allows citizens to file civil suits against providers who offer abortions. Idaho's bill limits those who can sue to the potential father, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles of the "preborn child". It does not permit confirmed rapists to file lawsuits. However, their close relatives or family members presumably still could.

"It was designed intentionally to avoid the ability for courts to rule it unconstitutional," according to Inslee.

The Texas Supreme Court recently shut down a federal challenge to the novel abortion law on the grounds that state officials are not responsible for enforcing private civil action. Most analysts project the ruling will be the end of legal challenges against the measure. However, they warn that other state legislatures could use the same idea to try and bypass other court precedents they oppose.

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