During this one-hour webinar, which is part of the Hot Topics series, Cynthia Harris and Rizza Cea with the Washington State Department of Health’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Program will share why and how the state approaches abortion access with a public health framework. Regardless of the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, access to abortion remains legal in Washington State. Washington state will continue to support reproductive health access and abortion access using a public health framework through current state laws and legislation. As other states pass stricter abortion laws that limit access, Washington state is strengthening their position and resources in efforts that center equity and reproductive justice.

The Washington State Department of Health’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Program receives state and federal funding to provide sexual and reproductive health services. Federal and state funding supports Title X services through 16 contractors across the state. Title X is a federal grant program dedicated to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services such as STI screening and treatment, contraception, and cancer screening. Focus populations are uninsured and underinsured, BIPOC, Hispanic, limited English proficiency, adolescents, and people who live in rural locations. Abortion services are not allowed under this grant, but Title X clinics are required to provide all options counseling including abortion, and Title X clinics can provide abortion services separate from this project. The Sexual and Reproductive Health Program supports access to abortion services with state funding.

Learning Objectives

  • Articulate at least two reasons abortion is a public health issue.
  • Understand how states can protect access to abortion, like Washington state, using state laws or policies around reproductive choice.
  • Describe the implications of Roe v. Wade being overturned for your state or neighboring states.
  • Identify actions your organization can take that support abortion access in your service area using a public health framework, including understanding service gaps.

Intended Audiences

Local, state, and tribal public health practitioners


Cynthia Harris (she/her)
Sexual and Reproductive Health Program Manager and Title X Project Director
Washington State Department of Health

Rizza Cea (she/her), DNP, MA, CNM, ARNP
Sexual and Reproductive Health Program Clinical Consultant and Title X Medical Director
Washington State Department of Health

Discussion Questions

  • What are the evidence-based harms of denying people abortions?
  • Based on the safety and quality of legal abortions we have discussed, how accessible are medical and surgical abortions in the areas you serve?
  • Describe some disparities that exist to accessing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care including abortion services. Do those disparities exist in the areas you serve? How can you address those disparities based on information from today’s discussion?


Continuing Education Credits

Up to 1 CPH recertification credit may be earned by viewing this webinar. Visit the National Board of Public Health Examiners to learn more.

A woman holds a protest sign that reads "MY BODY MY CHOICE"
Air Date: 
Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm PDT
Maternal and Child Health
Vulnerable Populations & Health Disparities
1 hour
Hot Topics in Practice
Competency Domains: 
Policy Development/Program Planning Skills