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There Will Be A Right To Abortion In Washington State Even If Roe v. Wade Is Overturned

Museum of History & Industry
Seattle PI Collection, 1986.5.53075
Abortion Reform Demonstration, Seattle, 1970

In 1970, three years before the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision, voters in Washington State legalized abortion. Referendum 20, as it was called, did require that women reside in the state for 90 days and get the permission of their husband before getting an abortion.

Referendum 20 passed with 56 percent of the popular vote.  And it was not the only time voters in Washington State took up the abortion issue.

In the early 1990's, just like today, abortion rights supporters were worried that an increasingly conservative U.S. Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. The activists were unsuccessful in their attempt to get the state legislature to put the guarantees of Roe v. Wade into state law. So, they gathered the necessary signatures to put Initiative 120  on the ballot.

It passed, just barely, with a little over 50 percent of the vote.

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.