So when did this become a thing? I’m not sure that the phrase “abortion discrimination” ever appeared anywhere in print before this story out of Washington State cropped up. But whatever it is, it will now be illegal in Seattle, Washington and anyone found to be discriminating against people based on their “pregnancy outcome” can be charged with a misdemeanor following a vote on a new bill in City Council. A separate bill that was also passed will make it a crime to “interfere with health care, including abortions and gender-affirming care.” So if you’re unfortunate enough to be stuck living in Seattle, be sure you keep that in mind if you’re planning any discrimination or “interference” in the future. (Associated Press)
It will soon be illegal in Seattle to discriminate against people for seeking or receiving an abortion, part of the city’s efforts to preserve reproductive rights locally.
The Seattle City Council on Tuesday passed a measure making it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their actual or perceived pregnancy outcome, The Seattle Times reported. The council also added a statewide misdemeanor charge for interfering with health care to the city’s code, hoping to minimize interference and harassment against those seeking care in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court undoing decades of constitutional abortion protections in June.
“For the first time in our country’s history, our courts have reversed fundamental rights,” Councilmember Tammy Morales, who sponsored both bills, said Tuesday.
In case they hadn’t driven the point home firmly enough, the Seattle City Council also voted to declare Seattle a “sanctuary” for women seeking abortions. (Oh, I’m sorry. I meant “birthing people” seeking “reproductive health care.”)
So how exactly would this work? When we typically think of “discrimination” it usually shows up in the job application process or access to public services or venues. If you’re in the habit of discriminating against people based on race you can usually pick out your targets easily enough. (Apologies to Sean King and Rachel Dolezal.) The same goes for discrimination based on gender, though not quite as clearly as it used to be these days. Discriminating based on religion gets a bit trickier unless the applicant is wearing some sort of traditional religious garb.
But discrimination based on “pregnancy outcome?” Can you imagine a woman walking into a human resources office to go over their job application and being asked, “have you ever had an abortion?” The company would be sued out of business in a New York minute. If the woman was already an employee and had an abortion, that would be part of her private medical records. The employer shouldn’t even know about it, but if they did find out and subsequently took action against her they would be up the creek without a paddle in terms of HIPAA restrictions and the employee would once again probably get a fat settlement. This law seems to be nothing more than window dressing and virtue signaling.
The ban on “interfering with healthcare” is also rather unclear. I get that they’re talking about people who attempt to stop someone from entering an abortion clinic or going to a doctor because of gender dysphoria issues. But what qualifies as “interference” in such cases? Would a picket line on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood get you in trouble if you weren’t physically blocking the entrance? If so, it sounds like Seattle might be running afoul of some First Amendment issues here.
In any event, it’s too late to worry about it now, I suppose. “Abortion discrimination” is now a thing and I’m sure we’ll be hearing cable news hosts on CNN and MSNBC gushing about it breathlessly as we move forward. Just don’t get caught doing it in Seattle, whatever it is.