Oregon Passes Controversial Reproductive Health Policy
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Kate Brown

Summary: Oregon made a controversial move to expand free reproductive services such as abortions to anyone and everyone no matter their citizenship status.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown made a bold step today towards expanding reproductive services. She signed a bill into law to increase coverage of abortions and other related services for Oregonians regardless of citizenship status, gender identity, or income.


The law is considered to be the most progressive health policy for reproductive services in the country. The Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon says the bill is the first to comprehensively tackle systemic barriers to accessing reproductive care. However, the law requires taxpayers that morally object to abortions to help cover the costs.

Executive Director of Oregon Right to Life Gayle Atteberry said, “Oregon taxpayers already cover nearly 50 percent of all abortions in the state whether they like it or not. By making abortion free, this percentage will inevitably increase. We also expect more late-term abortions, which are currently very expensive as well as risky to perform. All completely covered by either insurance companies or by the Oregon taxpayers.”

Republican state Sens. Dennis Linthicum and Kim Thatcher said, “Brown has enshrined into state law forced abortion funding, including for illegal aliens, even late-term and sex-selective abortions.” They predict lawsuits will be filed over the new law.

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The law was introduced largely to oppose the congressional attempts to repeal Obama’s healthcare law, which has minimal coverage for reproductive services. The Oregon law would free $500,000 from their general fund for the next two years to help cover free reproductive health coverage such as abortions to those like immigrants who are ineligible for Medicaid benefits. The state’s Medicaid program currently pays nearly $2 million each year for 3,500 abortions provided statewide.

The bill passed in July forces insurance companies to cover a patient’s abortion at no cost. This means insurance companies are not allowed to move costs from these services to a patient’s deductibles, coinsurance or copayments. There are some exemptions for religious-based reasons such as those covered by the state’s nonprofit Catholic health insurance provider can have their abortions reimbursed by the state.

The bill will cost the state $10.2 million.

Planned Parenthood played a large part in creating a legislation to exclude citizenship status. Advocacy director Laurel Swerdlow of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon said, “We are so grateful for the bold leadership of Gov. Brown and legislative champions who understand that Oregonians don’t want reproductive health care attacked. [We] are not going to silently stand around while politicians in Washington D.C. try to take away our health care.”

Rep Bill Post countered, “The saddest day of my life was when I had to vote on this bill, though of course I voted NO, there was no reason to actually run this bill at all. Oregon should be ashamed and embarrassed.”

California and New York have laws in place requiring private health insurance plans to cover abortions.

Arkansas is moving in the other direction. A federal appeals court ruled that the state can remove Planned Parenthood from Medicaid reimbursement funding in response to the videos revealed by undercover journalists catching the chain’s executives bragging about the profits they make off of the sale of aborted baby parts.

Do you think Oregon will be allowed to keep the law? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

To learn more about Planned Parenthood’s abortion scandal, read these articles:

Photo: 142fw.ang.af.mil


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