Information on this page
Every pregnant person in Washington has the legal right to a confidential abortion for any reason up to the point of fetal viability or to protect the life or health of the pregnant individual. Abortion is legal regardless of a pregnant person’s age, where they live, or citizenship. A physician (MD), osteopathic physician (DO), physician assistant (PA), advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP), or certified nurse midwife (CNM) trained in abortion care may provide an abortion. Washington law enforcement, agencies, and courts are prohibited from cooperating with out-of-state civil and criminal investigations or legal actions related to care provided in Washington. State-regulated health plans are required to cover abortion services and may not impose cost-sharing.
- Washington State Attorney General’s Office Abortion Rights Brief (ATG)
- Regulation of Health Professionals and Abortions FAQ
- Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Care: Shielding Providers, Seekers, and Helpers from Out-of-State Legal Actions (ATG)
- Coverage for abortion services (INS)
- RCW 9.02.100 Reproductive privacy—Public policy
- RCW 9.02.110 Right to have and provide
- RCW 9.02.170 Definitions
- RCW 70.02.020 Disclosure by health care provider
- RCW 48.43.073 Required abortion coverage—Limitations
- WAC 284-04-510 Right to limit disclosure of health information
- Laws of 2022, ch. 65, § 1(5)
- Laws of 2023, ch. 191-194
People living in Washington who meet income requirements are eligible for Medicaid coverage for 12 months after the end of their pregnancy. Washingtonians enrolled during their pregnancy automatically receive this coverage, which includes dental, contraceptive, and behavioral health services.
- After-Pregnancy Coverage (HCA)
Birth Defect Reporting
In August 2000, the Washington State Board of Health approved a revised list of congenital abnormalities notifiable by law to public health authorities.
Birth Certificates and Vital Records
The Department of Health issues certificates for births, deaths, stillbirths, and fetal deaths that occur in Washington.
A complete report of death or fetal death (death after 20 weeks’ gestational age) must be filed with the local registrar in the local health jurisdiction where the death occurred.
In 2020, as part of the state budget, the Governor signed a law requiring that the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) reimburse maternity services provided by doulas. In March of 2022, the Governor signed a bill, HB 1881, which creates the framework for a voluntary doula certification process.
- Washington State Legislature
- Washington Laws for Doulas – The Doula Law Project (childbirthlibrary.org)
Donor Human Milk Banking
Washington Legislature passed E2SSB 5702 in 2022, requiring health plans and Medicaid to provide coverage for donor human milk and human milk derived products in hospitals. The bill also requires the Department of Health to develop minimum standards to ensure milk bank safety for human milk and human milk derived products.
Folic Acid Coverage
Under the Affordable Care Act, all Health Insurance Marketplace plans and most other insurance plans cover folic acid pills for women who could get pregnant.
- Preventive care benefits for women (healthcare.gov)
Under the Affordable Care Act, all Health Insurance Marketplace plans and most other insurance plans cover contraception including intrauterine devices (IUDs) without a copayment or coinsurance.
- Birth control benefits and reproductive health care options in the Health Insurance Marketplace® (healthcare.gov)
Maternal Mortality Review
Law establishing the Maternal Mortality Review Panel to conduct review of deaths occurred during or within a year of the end of pregnancy.
- RCW 70.54.450 Maternal mortality review panel—Duties—Confidentiality, testimonial privilege, and liability—Identification of maternal deaths—Reports—Data-sharing agreements
- Maternal Mortality Review Panel
- RCW 43.70.645 Donor human milk—Milk bank safety standards
Newborn Eye Prophylaxis
Health care providers are required to administer prophylaxis against ophthalmia neonatorum up to 2 hours after delivery. Documentation is required if refused by a parent or guardian.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
Paid leave is available for most Washington workers when bonding with a new baby, recovering from birth, caring for a family member with a serious health condition, or when a serious health condition prevents them from working.
- Title 50A RCW: Family and Medical Leave
- Washington State's Paid Family and Medical Leave (paidleave.wa.gov)
Protections for Pregnant and Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding Workers
Employers are required to provide pregnant employees with reasonable accommodations such as more frequent or longer restroom breaks, allowing them to sit more frequently and not requiring them to lift objects heavier than 17 lbs. Pregnant employees may also have rights to other workplace accommodations like scheduling flexibility to accommodate prenatal care visits.
Employers are required to provide breastfeeding/chestfeeding employees a flexible schedule to pump, attend medical appointments, and have reasonable accommodations. Employers must provide a convenient private location to express milk that's not a bathroom and a space to safely store milk. They must provide these protected reasonable accommodations for 2 years after birth.
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Accommodations (ATG)
- RCW 43.10.005 Workplace pregnancy accommodations—Unfair practices—Definitions
- FLSA Protections to Pump at Work (U.S. Department of Labor)
- Lactation, Breastfeeding & Chestfeeding
Safe Haven Law
A parent of a newborn (less than 72 hours old) who surrenders that newborn to a qualified person at an appropriate location, such as a staff member at an emergency department or a fire station, is protected by law and is not subject to criminal liability.
- RCW 13.34.360 Transfer of newborn to qualified person—Criminal liability—Notification to child protective services—Definitions
- Safety of Newborn Children Law (DCYF)
Shaken Baby Syndrome Outreach Campaign / Period of PURPLE Crying
A public information campaign to prevent baby shaking and associated injuries.
- Chapter 43.121.140 RCW Dispositions Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
- Shaken Baby Prevention Brochure(DCYF)
- Period of PURPLE Crying (seattlechildrens.org)
- National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (dontshake.org)
DOH received funding (2023-2025) to share evidence-based materials and information with health care providers and the public to reduce stillbirth incidence.
Vitamin K Administration for Newborns
Birth centers are required to inform patients that vitamin K administration for newborns is available.