President Joe Biden, meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee and other Democratic governors Friday, warned a federal abortion ban is likely if voters don’t elect more Democrats in November.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade leaves a clear choice, the president said in the virtual meeting: “Either elect federal senators and representatives who will codify Roe or Republicans who will elect the House and Senate will try to ban abortions nationwide. Nationwide. This is going to go one way or the other after November.”

Democrats have a chance of codifying Roe if they can end the filibuster, the Senate practice that requires a 60-vote threshold to pass most legislation. But they are now two votes short of making it happen, Biden acknowledged.

In response to urging from New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Biden also said he was weighing whether health clinics on sovereign Native American lands could provide abortion access to people living in states where the procedure is illegal.

The president did not comment on a request by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul that he use federal facilities such as veterans hospitals and military bases in the same way.

Democrats have been pushing Biden to use his authority to blunt the decision that will affect millions of people of childbearing age — a ruling celebrated by some as an affirmation of human life and condemned by others as a historic setback to women’s rights.


Several of the nine governors in attendance spoke about what their states are doing to protect abortion rights before adjourning to discuss more privately.

Hochul, for instance, said New York has allocated $35 million for abortion clinics to expand and she expects the state legislature to pass a constitutional amendment preserving abortion access.

Inslee has said he will seek a similar constitutional amendment to make sure shifting political winds don’t overturn Washington’s law codifying abortion rights.

And immediately after the ruling on Roe, Inslee formed a pact with the governors of Oregon and California to protect abortion patients and providers. The agreement includes a commitment to refuse extradition of individuals facing prosecution in other states for cases involving abortion.

Abortion rights advocates, including Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, have predicted states restricting or banning abortion will come after patients who travel to states offering a safe haven for the procedure and the providers who perform it. Prosecutors in states making abortion a crime might even charge a patient or provider with murder, at least one legal scholar has said.

Inslee this week signed a directive ordering the Washington State Patrol not to cooperate with such prosecutions and investigations stemming from it. He also encouraged local law enforcement not to cooperate. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell has said the city’s police department will not participate in such investigations.


Inslee, Harrell and the King County executive have pledged more than $2 million, combined, to preserve abortion access and shore up local clinics that are expected to see a surge of patients from other states.

That has already begun. Paul Dillion, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, said this week that 62% of abortion patients at the organization’s Pullman clinic, near the border with Idaho, are coming from that state. An Idaho law triggered by the overturning of Roe will soon make abortion illegal — unless a Planned Parenthood lawsuit arguing the law violates Idaho’s constitution is successful.

In the private discussion with Biden on Friday, Inslee stressed the role of West Coast states as a sanctuary for abortion patients, according to an email from spokesperson Jaime Smith.

Inslee also told the president it was important to safeguard national databases that could be used in abortion prosecutions and, like other governors and Biden, said it was important to protect patients’ right to federally approved abortion medication.

“It’s clear to me the president is committed to exercising every tool possible and to assist us in being a sanctuary to patients across the country,” Inslee said in a statement.