Letter to the editor: Support for a city council resolution regarding reproductive freedom


This past week, millions across our country had their reproductive freedoms threatened or stripped away when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, ending the Constitutional right to reproductive choice and privacy. Reproductive rights — the full access to reproductive choices, including abortion access — is an issue of human rights.  

It is important that you know where your elected representatives stand on issues, especially on matters as critical as human rights. In collaboration with Councilmember Susan Paine, and with the encouragement of many constituents, I, Laura, will be motioning from the dais to add the following resolution to the Tuesday, June 28 agenda:

A RESOLUTION of the Edmonds City Council in support of abortion rights and other reproductive rights, in opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court majority decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, urging federal and state elected officials to codify abortion rights and other reproductive rights, and supporting Washington State’s commitment to protecting reproductive freedom.  

WHEREAS, from June 24-26th, 2022, millions gathered in cities across the United States, including in Snohomish County, to protest the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that has protected the freedom to seek an abortion since 1973; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade by a 7-2 vote in 1973 in recognition of the necessity of constitutionally guaranteed, national right toaccess abortion services through the education and pressure from the women’s liberation movement; and 

WHEREAS, reproductive freedom – including the right to make one of life’s most important decisions – whether or when to have children – is foundational to a person’s autonomy, dignity, and ability to participate fully in economic, social, and civic life; and

WHEREAS, throughout history, laws banning abortion do not stop them from happening, but instead made them unsafe, leading to pain, suffering, loss of fertility, and even death;

WHEREAS, according to reports published by the Guttmacher Institute, before Roe v. Wade, illegal abortions were estimated to range from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year and constituted at least 17 percent of all maternal deaths attributed to pregnancy and childbirth in 1965 alone;

WHEREAS, with the legalization of abortion services in the United States, these procedures have led to safer practices and drastically reduced the incidences of maternal deaths and hospitalizations related to abortion services; and

WHEREAS, the American Psychological Association states that there is a preponderance of scientific data supporting the conclusion that freedom of choice and a woman’s control over her critical life decisions promotes psychological health; and

WHEREAS, laws restricting access to abortion disproportionately impact poor, rural, working-class women and women of color who may not have the resources to cover the doctor fees, travel costs, childcare costs, and lost wages when seeking quality reproductive healthcare, because wealthy women have resources to obtain needed abortion care services; and

WHEREAS, the overturning of a long-standing privacyprecedent may also be applied to other U.S Supreme Court settled cases, such as those protecting the right to birth control, which could strip women of the medical means necessary to determine when and whether to have children;

WHEREAS, overturning Roe v. Wade disregards the human right to bodily autonomy, which could also set a legal precedent used to overturn healthcare and other legal rights for LGBTQ people, while transgender care is already under assault; and

WHEREAS, the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, a majority in the U.S. Senate, and the Presidency have the power to codify access to safe and abundantly available abortion care services and access to reproductive care and services for all people; NOW, THEREFORE,


Section 1. The Edmonds City Council is entirely opposed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in overturning Roe v. Wade, and the removal of federal protection for accessing reproductive care and services for all people.

Section 2. The Edmonds City Council urges federal elected officials to pass legislation codifying the full right to abortion and other reproductive healthcare nationwide. The Edmonds City Council urges elected officials in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to use their full power, not only to vote for such legislation but also to fight to end the filibuster and use their resources to restore the Roe V. Wade through federal legislation.

Section 3. The Edmonds City Council directs copies of this Resolution shall be sent to Governor Inslee and our State representatives as a means of showing our City’s support for:
A. The passage of a Washington State Constitutional guaranteeing full access to abortion care services, and
B. Washington State’s recent letter of Commitment to Reproductive Freedom.
C. Increasing oversight over hospital mergers that have often interfered with the provision of reproductive health services for all people.

Section 4. The Edmonds City Council directs that it is hereby the policy of the City of Edmonds, with the passage of this Resolution that the Edmonds Police Department will not commit any of their police services in the pursuit of any investigations related to those people who are seeking, or providing abortion care or reproductive health care services, as it is not a current public safety priority for our Edmonds community.

Section 5. The Edmonds City Council strongly supports the grassroots organizing and movement building required to put social pressure on elected officials and the judiciary to defend against this historic attack on the rights of women, pregnant people, and the LGBTQ community, and encourages Edmonds residents to continue to support efforts to protect reproductive freedom, through education and advocacy.







Laura Johnson and Susan Paine  
Edmonds City Councilmembers, Positions 7 and 6 

  1. This has nothing to do with the City of Edmonds. The City Council is supposed to be non partisan. I appreciate that most of the council is non partisan accept for Susan and Laura. It’s appalling to he games these two and the Mayor have played with our town. Don’t bite council!

  2. Thank you, Council Members Johnson and Paine, for your courage and leadership. I applaud you both and completely support all sections of this resolution.

    We are at a critical moment in our history, and we must move quickly We can take nothing for granted and we must restore federal abortion rights now. And protect these rights in Washington state, as well as all other reproductive and privacy rights everywhere.

    Our democracy depends upon it.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with every element of this letter. We must do everything in our power to reverse this outrageous decision and restore this right to American women.

  4. Thank you so much Councilmembers Paine and Johnson.

    We, the members of the Salish Sea Federation of Democrat Women, rise to fully support this resolution, and ask your fellow councilmembers to support it as well. We must all work together to defend reproductive rights by urging “federal elected officials to pass legislation codifying the full right to abortion and other reproductive healthcare nationwide.”

    Your leadership in this effort is admirable.

    Cathy Baylor, President
    Salish Sea Chapter of the Washington State
    Federation of Democratic Women

  5. Love this. Probably a good idea to go ahead and have similar texts pre-written to support gender affirming care and same sex marriages since those are the other targets in the RNC and SCOTUS crosshairs.

  6. Very emotionally put, and I assume you know that abortion was legal in Washington State prior to R V W so nothing has changed with the recent SCOTUS decision. I would also hope you would know , you were not elected to the Edmonds City Council to be involved in “national issues”. You were elected to attend to issues surrounding Edmonds and nothing more. If you want to be a political or human rights activist, you should consider resigning your council positions. Lastly, your proclamation hardly reflects the opinions/ beliefs of all Edmonds citizens.

    1. The reason why this issue needs to be addressed now is that a far-right Congress could pass a nationwide ban that would be (again) UNCONSTITUTIONAL. In addition, the reason why elected leaders need to address this legal violation and are justified in doing so is that the citizens in the cities that they represent would be harmed.

  7. Do you realize since Roe Vs wade came to be 60,000 babies are dead. Let that sink in. There are tons of contraceptives on the market. Including a day after pill. Yet it’s ok to kill babies even close to birth. How anyone thinks that is ok? All this will do is send control back to the state. So the people who live in that state can choose for themselves what the majority wants. I’m sure all Democrat states will because abortion states. So what is the “fear” all about?

    1. “Democratic” state, please. Democrats are people. States governed by Democratic leaders are “Democratic states.”

    2. Joy – You just post that number – before doing so, did you research of that number how many pregnancies were the result of rape and/or incest, how many were minor children, the woman’s life being in danger if carried to term, the fetus not surviving upon birth. But my favorite question is – if those 60,000 pregnancies had been none of these scenarios (which is not possible) how many of them would you have been willing to adopt or assist in caring for if the mother and/or father were unable to for whatever reason. Yes, by all means, let’s make the 13 year old rape victim suffer further trauma by giving birth to something that was forced upon her against her will – now we should force and insist she carry it to term also against her will. It is disturbing to me how so many people can just see that number and say the women should have carried to term without taking into account that each situation is completely different and none of anyone’s business. It would seem that you are lucky enough to have never been faced with this situation – but I will not assume that you haven’t because I do not know you as you do not know those 60,000 women who had to make the most difficult decision of their lives. Or maybe not so difficult – I know from experience it was not a difficult decision for me.

      1. Karen Peterson, your points are excellent! Thank you for discussing the realities of this issue. You understand the issue much better than most.

  8. Thank you Laura and Susan! I hope all other council members will support as well.

  9. A good sermon for the flock. Although, you need to add climate change, student loan repayment, elimination of ICE and open borders and labor unions at Starbucks to this resolution. In any case ,it beats local issues like fixing sidewalks, streets, and adding safe lighting to our community.

    1. Members of the Edmonds City Council DO consider climate change in their work on the Council. Issues like protecting the lives of their constituents and passing policies, resolutions, and laws related to climate change ARE valid, important, and very relevant to their work as Council members. The same holds true for the resolution proposed by Council Members Paine and Johnson. I support their efforts on both issues.

  10. The Supreme Court found that abortion was not protected in the Constitution of the United States. It did not end abortion but returned that decision to the states. The action will have no impact on abortion in this State. How about letting the States sort out their laws before we condemn all actions and make assumptions.
    The Council represents the voters and not everyone will agree with these statements in this Resolution. This document is not helpful. Again it divides people and the country. I do not want State Representatives told I support the items in this Resolution–I do Not. I do support States rights and do not agree the Federal government should be involved. I do support the filibuster. I don’t believe the police are involved in persecuting anyone attempting to get an abortion, so why would we imply they do? Activism is dividing this country even further, so why would we promote it?
    How about we just leave it alone instead of drawing lines between people in our community.
    I understand this is a political issue and is being used in trying to sway people in the coming mid-term elections. I am more focused on the cost of gas and food and inflation, the border being overrun, our foreign policy. These are things that affect our lives daily.

    1. Helen, your comment is the most intelligent and truthful in this entire thread! Thank you.

    2. Thank you Helen for pointing out the facts and not using emotional hysterics. I wish Paine and Johnson would educate themselves on the actual facts and stop with the virtual signaling, they are just trying to play on peoples emotions.
      Washington state has a right to abortion in a state law, meaning accessibility will not change. Paine and Johnson can cry hysterical all over the place but nothing changed in Washington state.
      Most countries do not permit abortions after 15 weeks, only six countries allow elective abortions after 20 weeks – the US being one of them.
      Paine and Johnson are trying to enflame Edmonds residents and deepen division by playing on emotions rather than facts.
      It is unfortunate that they are using their council positions, which are suppose to be non-partisan, to try and separate people with different beliefs and opinions. They need to resign their positions and go be political activists where they can hysterically scream their opinions.
      No city council member should sign this drafted resolution! It is based on emotions and not facts. Nothing has changed in Washington state concerning abortion.

  11. Thank you so much. It’s important to know where our electeds stand, all the way down to hyperlocal levels.
    Our only safeguard between women having the right to full reproductive healthcare and being counted as whole human beings and not second class citizens is the state legislature. Senators and representatives often start as a lower office – like city or county council. The GOP is pouring money into Washington to try to flip it red.
    So it’s unwise to dismiss this as a national issue that local electeds should ‘stay out of’. In fact, it’s the opposite. We need to know so we can vote accordingly to ensure we don’t continue with this regressive backsliding.

  12. Just stop it. You two do not represent me or other marginalized folks in Edmonds, you simply jump on the progressive bandwagon and spout off about things you can make political hay with. Elected as non partisan, you two have found no national issue you cannot spout off about having no power to change anything, or accountability for any of it. Not all marginalized folks agree with you or are progressives. Creating a divisive local atmosphere by useless resolutions just makes it worse for many of us. This is settled law in Washington State, by popular vote back in the 1990s. Don’t use us to push your agenda at a local level where it is way outside your lane and authority. Everyone feels how they feel about the ruling. Time for the two straight white well to do ladies to get off our backs. You have done more to divide us locally while not doing anything constructive for the City, like fixing streets, passing realistic budgets, while trying to sneak through upzoning. Get real and do what you were elected to do. Enough.

  13. Completely irregardless of the content of this resolution or any of the politics associated with both sides, my only comment is that I wish CMs Paine and Johnson would spend the same amount of time as they have drafting this resolution responding to and addressing very basic concerns of residents like public safety, public facility and parks maintenance, road maintenance, completing and regularly communicating about progress on existing projects that were promised (note – community office on 99 and the 99 redevelopment project), assuring our police department is fully staffed, etc. I am fine with the council discussing items such as this in an open forum as that is absolutely their right, but only after the very, very basic responsibilities these two individuals have as councilmembers have been addressed which on a regular and frequent basis they are not doing.

  14. 1. This has no business being any part of any discussion that the Edmonds City Council should be having. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Edmonds City Government.

    2. I have no need whatsoever to understand or care where my Edmonds City elected officials stand on national issues that have little or nothing to do with good, well run city government and function. Non-city issues and proclamations like this are, frankly, what are wrong with our current city government and only lead to more discord and polarization.

    3. It is seriously time to call for the recall of both Laura Johnson and Susan Paine, who are now obviously unfit to remain in city government. This effort on their part is probably an open affront and offensive to at least 40% of the people they claim to represent in city matters. They are not doing the job they have been elected to do.

    Personal Note” I’m no longer a Catholic, and I totally disagree with this Supreme Court decision and the harm to women (especially poor and minority women) and unwanted children that will result from it. I do not agree that this decision has any relevance to Edmonds City Government.

  15. How long did it take for this Democracy to address and provide via the Supreme Court the right of abortion? How many days did the current Supreme Court debate the details of this issue? Should it be litigated by a majority of men??

    It is time that male/homo sapiens take on the the role of being the mother of the children.
    Religion has been written by men, and most legal systems are dominated by men, and war is started by men, so now it is time for men to be the domestic gods of how to secure the well being of children and protect children from political bias. The men would still have their sperm, however, at the age of 18 the sperm is put into a protective device that is released when the male of the species, along with the female has the commitment to raise a child.
    Social scientists may have better ideas of how this may occur in a manner than addresses the logic, love, and commitment potential parents need to raise children in an everchanging world. Having a child is a full time commitment, and then according to law, they are prepared to face responsibility of their choices because of the guidance of the parents and the public education system. Life is messy and laws need to address the needs of the society for equality of rights.

  16. Sometimes symbolic acts are very important. Crucial, in fact. Carry on, I say.

  17. It is my understaning that the city council is non-partician. Paine and Johnson are clearly making their political views known on a topic that has nothing to do with the work that they are supposed to be undertaking.

  18. Paine and Johnson want to jump on the virtue signaling bandwagon. What’s new about that? The abortion issue in Washington was resolved by Initiative 120 passed by the voters of Washington in 1991 making abortion legal in Washington. Paine and Johnson do not speak for me and they should go hold signs and chant loudly at any corner in Edmonds they may choose. But, leave City government out of it.

  19. It’s important to understand that decisions made by our representatives at the city and county level influence decisions made by state legislators. That is why I’m deeply grateful for this critical stand being taken by City Councilmembers Paine and Johnson. Now that the Federal Government has washed its hands of protecting equal rights for women , especially equal health care, it falls on our local and state representatives to make their positions real by actually adding their names to the voting record. No more smug, self-righteous platitudes.
    Republican candidates will tell you that Washington is safe because of long-standing laws and precedent. But look at what conservatives on the national level said about Roe. Same thing. Then ask yourself if you can trust what they say.
    I don’t.

    1. There’s a difference between being angry and intelligent resistance and just being dumb. Bringing this to City Council is just being dumb and wasting time. If they want to influence the state legislature, they should run for state legislator. I don’t blame them for being mad but do smart things to fight this, not meaninglness symbolic gestures that just create more divisions.

  20. Thank you, Councilmembers Laura Johnson and Susan Paine, for your courage and for recognizing that when national issues take away an established Constitutional right to privacy they affect every citizen, including Edmonds citizens. Those of us who are old enough to have been adults before 1973 remember the bad old days when women were not allowed to make critical and fundamental decisions about their health and their futures, when richer women flew to Puerto Rico and Europe for abortions and the rest risked illegal, back room, and home procedures. Abortion in Washington State was made legal by Referendum 20 in 1970, so many folks, even here in Washington, know where this backward trajectory leads. Let us recognize that personal CHOICE is a cornerstone of freedom. Let us fight to restore, protect and preserve individuals’ rights to make personal and intimate decisions for themselves. Let us not go quietly into past.

  21. I strongly support this resolution and urge all City Council members to vote “YES” on it.

    This is not a partisan issue. Members of both major political parties, whether they are pro-choice or anti-choice on reproductive rights, need to regard women as responsible enough to make their own personal healthcare and family planning decisions. The Constitutional Right to Privacy is one of the most important rights that we have. It has been flagrantly violated in the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision and in about half of the states in the
    U. S.

    I refer to voters as “pro-choice” and “anti-choice” because pro-choice people are also “pro-life.” In this aspect, the political parties do generally differ. “Pro-choice” folks believe in and support babies in their healthcare, economic, and educational needs after (as well as before) birth. Too many “anti-choice” people emphasize the life of the unborn but do not vote for the many needs of children after they born. We all need to respect the lives of mothers in disadvantaged situations or in danger because of their economic or personal situations and make sure that their lives are protected and cared for by those in power.

    I am grateful to Laura and Susan for sticking their necks out and presenting to our Edmonds City Council and community this excellent, urgently needed resolution. If the majority of cities would pass resolutions like this one, we would likely face a much more hopeful future for families — mothers, dads, and babies.

  22. This is just a bad idea. If you wish to personally contact your federal representatives asking them to amend the constitution would be the correct way to let your feelings known. This resolution does not represent my views or those of many in this city and this court ruling has absolutely zero impact to residents in this city, county or state. For to long our federal representatives have ignored their duties to make law and pushing their responsibilities off on greater power to the president and forcing the court to make law which is what happened here all this was was a undoing of a bad decision made by the court in 73 if Congress wishes to make this the law of the land they have the power to do so then it would be up to the judges to uphold it. Note many of our peer country’s have stricter abortion laws than we do in this state so right or wrong safe legal and rare needs better definition

    1. Last Friday night Bill Maher had a lady guest who noted that Germany allows abortion only up to 12 weeks. She also pointed out they have universal health care so any woman of any economic means can find out early on that she is pregnant for an early intervention if she chooses. Seems a little more fair than what we have. Rich people here from any state will still get their abortions (late or early) and poor people will end up forced to have children they don’t want and/or can’t take care of properly. And adoption mills will have more product. The abortion pill is about to become the next black market drug controlled by organized crime where illegal and by profiteering legal drug corporations where legal. Not sure this has anything to do with Edmonds City Council in any way though.

  23. I’m grateful to CMs Laura Johnson and Susan Paine for bringing forward this resolution. I know access to comprehensive reproductive care seems like more a state or national issue, but these kind of local actions do have an impact and are necessary, especially since the resolution goes to the state, which can then enact further protections.

  24. Thank you very much for this. As our country has taken steps to literally match those of the Taliban, it is critical that we stand up for fundamental rights over our own bodies.

    This definitely is a time where it is important to speak up.

  25. This really made the mansplainers come out of the woodwork. There isn’t one subject you guys aren’t experts in, huh? Although I strongly suspect women’s bodies might not be your forte.
    Thank you to Councilmembers Laura Johnson and Susan Paine for speaking up. Local politics matter just as much as national politics when body autonomy and personal freedoms are at stake.

  26. Joy – thank you for the link, that number actually does make sense. It also says:
    While the rate of abortions increased significantly in the decade after Roe v. Wade, it has since decreased to below the 1973 level. Let that sink in.
    Amazing what a little education and access to birth control will do! (though many have an issue with that as well). None of which is promoting promiscuity – quite the opposite I believe.
    Regardless of the number – you did not respond to my pertinent questions – how many of those were the result of rape and/or incest? How many were minor children? Where was the birth control when some relative was sneaking into a minor child’s bedroom at night??
    So you are ok with a 13 year old girl being raped by someone (often a family member) and having that baby that she cannot possibly care for as a child herself? So you would be willing to adopt that child that you insist must be born? Why is it that none of you ever address that part – what happens when these babies are born? So many into poverty you cannot even comprehend.
    Or how about the woman that is an addict – who will care for that child if she cannot get clean (and often gives birth to a baby with addiction).
    If abortion is legal how are there thousands done illegally? I don’t get that statement at all.
    But again, I don’t understand your narrow view either – and so glad for you that you clearly have never been in a position that so many of us have. I know for some of us it is the most difficult decision ever to be made. I am lucky that I did not struggle with my decision and have never regretted it. And beyond grateful that I was able to do what I needed to for me & my partner legally & safely.

    1. Karen, maybe you like these numbers?
      According to the Guttmacher Institute, an estimated 930,160 abortions took place in the United States in 2020—up from 862,320 in 2017. Guttmacher’s selected annual abortion estimates for the last 20+ years are listed below:
      2020 2017 2014 2011 2008 2005 2002 2000
      930,160 862,320 926,240 1,060,000 1,210,000 1,210,000 1,290,000 1,310,000
      Based on available state-level data, approximately 887,000 abortions took place in the United States in 2019. That’s up from approximately 872,000 abortions in 2018, 890,000 abortions in 2016, and 913,000 abortions in 2015.
      In 2019, approximately 19% of U.S. pregnancies (excluding spontaneous miscarriages) ended in abortion.1
      According to the United Nations’ 2013 report, only nine countries in the world have a higher reported abortion rate than the United States. They are: Bulgaria, Cuba, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine.*

  27. I support Paine and Johnson’s resolution. one million children wait to be adopted annually.. 30,000 are adopted. Children are rejected because they are physically or Emotionally disabled.
    Republican states have the most abortions, trafficking, abuse, sexual exploitation, children living in poverty, children killed by guns. Do not let these ignorant cult followers lower our community to their standards. Stand firm for the resolution.

    1. Are you really calling Republicans ignorant cult followers? That should help bring our community together.

      1. With 40-plus comments expressing a range of viewpoints, I’m closing this comment thread now.

  28. I thought Council was supposed to be non-partisan? What right have any one or several of the council to force other councilmembers to take a position on any partisan issue? Under what ethical code may councilmembers advocate for unequal representation under the law? We live by the law entirely or not at all; councilmembers have no right to instruct police to not enforce laws they don’t agree with.

    What right have councilmembers to make false assertions in language? The term “pregnant people” is directly from the contemporary sacred literature of The Left. Women have children. To not acknowledge that and to in fact refute it with such sophistry is an attack on women everywhere. Councilmembers may hold such ideas privately but have no right to force them on their constituents.

  29. I strongly support CM Johnson and Paine’s resolution and applaud their leadership on the issue. State and local governments no longer have the luxury of silence; citizens have every right to know where all elected officials stand on medical freedom, human rights and equality for all.

    Given the voting history of Edmonds residents – a city that has exclusively sent pro-choice representatives to the state legislature and Congress – this measure should pass overwhelmingly, if this Council’s views are in line with those of its constituents.

    Supporting the right to abortion is not partisan and political. It’s about standing up for what’s right. Thank you CMs Johnson and Paine.

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