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As a pediatrician and a mother, I believe unequivocally in the right to choose. Every day for the past decade, I have provided contraception and sex education to young people as a part of my work. And as a parent, I refuse to accept a reality in which my daughter and my patients have fewer rights than I did growing up.

When I was 16, my best friend and I hopped on a Greyhound bus from Springfield Missouri to Washington DC to demonstrate in a pro-choice rally. It was my first real foray into the world of political action and an inspiration for my career protecting access to healthcare. At that time abortion was legal nationwide. I am heartbroken to see America take such a huge step back.

In Olympia, I’ll fight every day against this dangerous rollback of rights which disproportionately impact people in low income and rural communities, people of color and other marginalized groups. Right-wing Republican states are going to try to criminalize anyone who comes to Washington to get an abortion, and we must protect them.

While we live in a state that has some of the strongest protections for reproductive rights in the country, access to abortion, a vital healthcare service, is not what we think it is. The University of Washington is the only hospital system in King County that provides hospital based abortion services, following recent mergers between religiously affiliated hospitals and secular health care systems.

It is NOT enough that abortion is legal in our state – it must be accessible too! Otherwise abortion is an option in name only.

In Olympia, I will be an unrelenting voice for everyone’s right to choose. I still have the commitment to reproductive justice  that got me on that bus to Washington DC at age 16, and I will bring that passion to the state legislature.