Rep. Jim Walsh issues statement regarding leaked Supreme Court draft opinion

Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, released the following statement regarding the leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court indicating the reversal of Roe v. Wade, and its impact on Washington state public policy:

“Abortion is a sensitive public policy issue that involves intensely personal matters of life, death, and choice. For these reasons, the emerging story around the leak of an early draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the Dobbs' case is troubling. Some of the reactions to that leak among elected officials here in Washington have been curious. And, frankly, illogical.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has a well-established process for drafting, reviewing, and debating opinions before they are published. Our state Supreme Court here in Washington has a similar process. This process relies on discretion and confidence that early drafts of opinions are just that — working drafts, subject to refinement and adjustment.

“To leak a working draft to the public, while not criminal in the strict sense, is certainly unethical. And such a leak violates the longstanding traditions of the Court. Knowing this, the leak of an early draft of an opinion in the Dobbs case, which deals with Mississippi's state restrictions on access to abortion, seems like a calculated effort to disrupt the U.S. Supreme Court's deliberations. Chief Justice John Roberts has called for an investigation of the leak. When that investigation is completed, we should know more about who leaked the draft and why they did it.

“In the meantime, Washington law thoroughly protects every woman's access to abortion in this state. In our statutes and codes, abortion is available and protected in every way that it can be. In fact, Washington taxpayers cover the cost of abortions for women who can't afford them. Or choose not to pay for them.

“Some of us who work in Olympia wish the state paid for adoption of children as thoroughly as it pays for abortions.

“Nothing in the draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs threatens or affects Washington's codified abortion policies in any way. In fact, a central holding of the draft opinion is that states are free to set their own policies about abortion. It actually supports the sort of policies that exist now in Washington.

“So, the reactions of some elected state officials in Washington to the Dobbs leak have been strange. Why are these elected officials — some of whose jobs have no direct connection to abortion-related policies — using taxpayer funds to make public statements about threats to abortion access in Washington from a federal court opinion about Mississippi law? These statements make no sense. The draft of the Dobbs opinion creates no such threats.

“Perhaps these state officials would rather focus on an issue like abortion than other issues — like rising crime rates, higher taxes, scarcer housing, struggling businesses, lower public safety, poor K-12 education performance, worsening wildfires, and declining quality of life here in Washington.

“The Dobbs opinion — whenever it's finally released — and, more generally, the topic of abortion should be treated with seriousness, sympathy, and nuance. I encourage all of my colleagues in the state government to take a higher road when discussing and debating such sensitive matters.”


Washington State House Republican Communications