Abortion

Washington State recognizes that all people have the right to choose or refuse to have an abortion and requires state-regulated health plans that cover maternity services to cover abortion services. In Washington, people of any age have the right to independently consent for their own abortion care.

Washington State-regulated health plans that cover maternity care must also cover abortion care. Since individual health plans sold in this state are required to provide maternity care, they are also required to provide abortion care.

In Washington, public hospitals that provide maternity benefits, services, or information must provide substantially equivalent abortion benefits, services, and information. We've summarized maternity and abortion services in Reproductive Services Provided at Washington Hospitals (Excel).

How to find an abortion provider

The Northwest Abortion Access Fund and the National Abortion Federation maintain lists of abortion providers in Washington State. Of the clinics we fund, Cedar River Clinics and our four Planned Parenthood affiliates provide abortion services.

  • If you have private insurance, check your policy for restrictions such as requirement to use certain providers.
  • Clients enrolled in a Medicaid agency-contracted managed care organization (Apple Health MCO) may self-refer outside their MCO for abortion services.

Clients enrolled in an Apple Health (Medicaid) managed care organization (Amerigroup, Community Health Plan of Washington, Coordinated Care of Washington, Molina Healthcare of Washington, or UnitedHealthcare Community Plan) may self-refer outside their MCO for abortion services.

How to pay for an abortion

Health care clinics and providers can help you determine if you have insurance coverage and if abortion benefits are included in that coverage. They can also help you find out if you are eligible for a state program or help you find other ways to pay for your abortion.

We suggest you call the clinic you're interested in and:

  • Let them know if you are unsure of how to pay or unsure of your insurance status. They can help you understand your coverage, the cost of service, and if help is available.
  • Let them know if you have concerns about confidentiality. They can help you keep your information private.

Private Insurance

State law requires all state-regulated plans to cover abortions if they cover maternity services.

If your health coverage is through a Providence Health Plan the Department of Health will pay for your abortion services. See our Increasing Access to Reproductive Choice page for specifics on how to obtain this coverage.

State Programs

Washington State provides abortion coverage for people who meet eligibility requirements.

Other Assistance

If you are not eligible for Apple Health (Medicaid) and do not have private health insurance, you might qualify for assistance from a clinic or the Northwest Abortion Access Fund. We encourage you to discuss your situation with an abortion provider.

The department covers abortions for people with certain Providence Health Plans

If your health coverage is through a Providence Health Plan the Department of Health will pay for your abortion services. See our Increasing Access to Reproductive Choice page for specifics on how to obtain this coverage.

What if I want to keep information about my abortion private?

Everyone has the right to control the information they share about themselves. Washington state recognizes that many people prefer or need to maintain strict privacy about sensitive health care services.

In Washington, a state law gives you extra privacy protection for sensitive health care services, including abortion.

State-regulated health insurance plans send all communication about abortions to the email or physical address the person receiving the abortion specifies. These health plans may not disclose your information, even to the policyholder, without your express consent.

You need to tell your insurance company how to communicate with you. (Otherwise they'll send your information to the person who is paying for your insurance.)

To do this you can print, complete, sign, and send this Confidentiality Request Form (PDF) to your health insurance company. You can also call your insurance company to request confidentiality. (See the Office of the Insurance Commissioner webpage for more information.)

Make sure you talk to your health care provider about your privacy concerns.

Bedsider.org also offers information about maintaining privacy about your reproductive health care.

More information on abortion

The type of abortion available to you might depend on the length of your pregnancy and other factors. A general description of each type is below.

  • Medication—the abortion pill—is an option for most people up to 70 days of pregnancy (counted from the first day of your last period). This method uses a combination of medications that cause your body to stop your body making pregnancy hormones and expel the pregnancy. You might have the choice to take them at the clinic or at home. The process may take a few hours or a few days to complete.
  • Aspiration—suction or vacuum abortion—is generally an option up to 14-16 weeks after your last period. It uses gentle suction to remove the pregnancy. This procedure is done in a clinic and takes about 15 minutes.
  • Dilation and evacuation—D&E—is generally used if it's been more than 16 weeks since your last period. This procedure dilates your cervix and removes the pregnancy. It is done in a clinic and might require two visits over two days.

For more information about abortion, see Bedsider, Cedar River Clinics, LegalVoice, National Abortion Federation, and Planned Parenthood.

If you are facing a pregnancy decision, you might find the Pregnancy Options Workbook helpful.

If you are having a hard time after an abortion experience, you might find the Abortion Resolution Workbook helpful.

Resources

Abortion Rights in Washington State Fact Sheet (PDF)