Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Picture of the attorney general.

Dear Friends,

My outstanding team at the Attorney General’s Office has been working hard on your behalf over the past month.

My office continued its work to ensure medication abortion drugs remain widely available in Washington state, finished our charity care case against one of the nation’s largest health care systems and its debt collectors and notched yet another win in our undefeated record against the gun lobby.

Here are some highlights from our legal work in March:

Members of my legal team working to ensure Washingtonians have access to the medical abortion drug mifepristone went to watch arguments in an historic case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices’ ruling, which could come in a few months, has the potential to drastically limit access across the country. I went to Planned Parenthood in Seattle to speak with advocates about the case and my team’s innovative legal work to ensure Washingtonians continue to have access to mifepristone, which is safer than Tylenol.

Picture of the attorney general watching other speakers at the Planned Parenthood press conference.

You can read about what could happen after a Supreme Court ruling here: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/what-the-supreme-court-abortion-pill-case-could-mean-for-wa/

I issued a statement regarding in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, which was recently restricted by a court in Alabama. Washington’s strong reproductive health care laws protect access to the full range of reproductive freedom, including assisted reproduction. More on that statement here: https://www.atg.wa.gov/news/news-releases/consumer-alert-ivf-treatment-protected-under-washington-s-robust-reproductive

March marked the final victory in my case against national hospital chain Providence and the debt collectors it used to illegally pressure patients into paying money for discounted medical care they should have received. A King County Superior Court judge ruled that debt collector Optimum Outcomes violated the medical debt collection rights of Washington patients more than 82,000 times. The judge ordered Optimum to pay $827,290 in penalties, plus my office’s costs, which will be determined at a later date. This charity care case was the largest ever lawsuit of its kind in the nation. Overall, we won more than $159 million in debt relief, refunds and money my office can use to enforce laws like charity care. Patients do not have to take any action to receive their debt relief or refunds. Checks are in the mail to qualifying patients.

More about that case here: https://www.atg.wa.gov/news/news-releases/ag-ferguson-judge-orders-providence-debt-collector-optimum-outcomes-pay-827000

A federal judge agreed with my office and dismissed a challenge to a Washington law ensuring gun manufacturers and dealers must take reasonable steps to prevent their products from getting into the wrong hands. The National Shooting Sports Foundation challenged Senate Bill 5078, the Firearm Industry Responsibility & Gun Violence Victims’ Access to Justice Act, in an attempt to block the new law from going into effect. The law ensures that firearms manufacturers and sellers will face liability if they fail to establish, implement and enforce reasonable controls in the manufacture, sale, distribution and marketing of firearms. This win continued my office’s undefeated record against the gun lobby.