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Oregon greenlights requirement for all insurers to cover abortion

Under the new reproductive health act, even undocumented immigrants would be covered.


Samantha Grasso


Posted on Jul 7, 2017   Updated on May 23, 2021, 12:39 am CDT

On Wednesday, Oregon’s House joined the Senate to approve the Reproductive Health Equity Act, House Bill 3391. The measure would require all insurers to cover abortion, contraceptions, vasectomies, prenatal and postpartum care, STI and reproductive cancer screenings, and counseling for domestic violence survivors, all at an estimated cost of $10 million.

According to the Oregonian, the bill would cover these reproductive health services regardless of gender and even citizenship status. Nearly $500,000 would be allocated over the next two years to reimbursing healthcare providers of undocumented immigrants who would otherwise be ineligible under the state’s Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan.

Though the bill does come with exemptions for religious employers and insurers, people who require an abortion but aren’t covered would receive the procedure at the cost of the Oregon Health Authority.

While Republican lawmakers argued that the bill would end up funding sex-selective abortions and abortions for minors, Democrats maintained that the measure only expands access to rights that already exist and that it will increase equity in services that lower-income Oregonians typically receive.

If signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown (D), Oregon would become the second state (California being the first) to require private insurers to cover all abortions, regardless of reasoning. New York has a similar policy but requires doctors to deem the abortion medically necessary.

However, as Slate’s Christina Cauterucci points out, one state’s expansion of reproductive rights doesn’t protect abortion entirely or forever. Should, in the unlikely event, the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, Congress could merely pass a law banning abortion that would rule above Oregon’s law. But within the context of the Trump administration and multiple Republican-led states acting on Trump’s promise to defund abortion providers, the symbolism behind Oregon’s law is different, if not refreshing.

H/T Slate

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*First Published: Jul 7, 2017, 11:21 am CDT