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Clashing Abortion Laws in US Northwest Show Chaos of Post-Roe Care

The governors of Washington and Idaho signed diametrically opposed bills less than a week apart.

A demonstrator in support of abortion rights at the University of Washington's Red Square in Seattle, on May 5.

A demonstrator in support of abortion rights at the University of Washington's Red Square in Seattle, on May 5.

Photographer: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg

The stark divides and murky legalities of how US states handle abortion rights may be most intense at the northwest corner of the country. 

Less than two months before a leaked Supreme Court document signaled the imminent demise of Roe v. Wade, the governors of Washington and Idaho signed diametrically opposite abortion bills. Washington aimed to boost access and shore up protections for providers. Next door, Idaho banned the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected and said it would allow individuals to sue providers they believe violated the law.