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AGLO 1970 No. 157 - December 09, 1970
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington
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                                                                December 9, 1970
Honorable Herbert H. Davis
Prosecuting Attorney
Benton County
1112 Meade Avenue
Prosser, Washington 99350
                                                                                                             Cite as:  AGLO 1970 No. 157
Dear Sir:
            This is written in response to your recent letter requesting our advice as to whether a hospital operated by a public hospital district, under the provisions of chapter 70.44 RCW, is required by virtue of its "public" status to permit its facilities to be used for the performance of abortions under the provisions of chapter 3, Laws of 1970, Ex. Sess. (Referendum No. 20).
            As you know, the measure in question, which was recently approved by the voters at the November 1970 general election, contained a substantial modification in prior state law regarding the performance of abortions.  However, § 3 of the act, which is pertinent to your question, reads as follows:
            "No hospital, physician, nurse, hospital employee nor any other person shall be under any duty, by law or contract, nor shall such hospital or person in any circumstances be required, to participate in a termination of pregnancy if such hospital or person objects to such termination.  No such person shall be discriminated against in employment or professional privileges because he so objects."
            We can see no basis for excluding a hospital operated by a public hospital district from the purview of this section.  Accordingly, our answer to your question is in the negative.  A public hospital district is not required, any more than is any other hospital, to make its facilities available for the performance of abortions.
             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]
            It is hoped that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
Philip H. Austin
Assistant Attorney General
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