New bill expands already-liberal abortion laws in Oregon
Catholic News Agency Jul 8, 2017
Portland, Ore., Jul 7, 2017 / 08:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A new bill in Oregon would expand the state’s already-liberal laws, requiring insurance companies to pay for abortions and other reproductive services at zero cost to the patient.
House Bill 3391, or the “Reproductive Health Equity Act Of 2017”, requires that insurance companies provide coverage for abortions and reproductive services to undocumented immigrants, and regardless of income or gender identity. It allows for almost $500,000 to be spent on cost-free abortions and reproductive health services for immigrants who previously would have been ineligible for those services under the Oregon Health Plan.
In the past 14 years, according to state health records, already-expansive abortion laws dictated that almost $24 million in state funds were spent on more than 52,000 abortions. The bill is also uniquely expansive in that, while some states allow for cost-free abortions that are deemed medically necessary, the Oregon bill allows for coverage of abortions for virtually any reason, including sex-selective and late-term abortions.
While some religious exemptions are provided for, such as in the case of churches and some religious non-profits per federal law, the bill states that the government would step in to pay for coverage in the case of such gaps. It also codifies the right to abortion access, even if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned.
Oregon is the only state without current restrictions added to provisions of Roe v. Wade. The bill passed the Democrat-controlled Oregon Senate on Wednesday, and now heads to the desk of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.
The liberal law comes at a time when President Donald Trump’s administration is passing restrictive legislation on abortion and reproductive services, including allowing states to withhold federal family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
After the vote, Senate Republicans issued a statement saying the bill is "nothing more than a political statement and a political gift card to Planned Parenthood that brought unnecessary drama and divisiveness to the end of the legislative session."
Bill Diss, leader of pro-life group Precious Children of Portland, called the proposed law “fundamentally an abortion bill that will boost the coffers of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” according to Oregon’s Catholic Sentinel. Diss said other portions of the bill could be accomplished “without further funding and promoting the killing of unborn children.”