SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington state judge says public hospitals must provide abortions on-site if they also offer maternity services.
The ruling from Skagit County Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis on Tuesday concerned Skagit Valley Hospital, which routinely refers patients to Planned Parenthood when they seek abortions. The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington sued the hospital in 2015 as part of a campaign to make sure public health care facilities follow the state’s abortion rights law.
The hospital argued that it was willing to have abortions performed on-site, but that it doesn’t have staff members who are willing to provide the services. State law allows health-care providers to opt-out of providing abortions, but the judge said that doesn’t give the entire hospital a right not to offer abortions.
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