Free Taxpayer Funded Abortions? What Oregon’s New Reproductive Health Law Does (and Doesn’t)


Governor Kate Brown signed this summer legislation Expanding the reproductive services insurers must provide when selling health insurance in Oregon. Among these services: abortion.

That determination is a reason House bill 3391, also known as the Reproductive Health Equity Act, was passed on a completely biased basis. Not a single Republican in the House or Senate supported them.

Proponents of the law say it provides valuable health services to women. The House Democratic Committee praised it for guaranteeing “comprehensive reproductive health care” for Oregon women at no cost.

Stephanie Yao Long

“I believe that affordable access to reproductive health care shouldn’t depend on who you are, where you live, or how much you earn,” he said. Representative Julie Fahey, D-Eugene, said in a statement when the law was passed. “Health care is a basic human right.”

Critics argue that they are building on Oregon’s already lax restrictions on access to abortion. When the bill passed the Senate, the Republican caucus in that chamber said the bill “forces Oregonians to fund late-night, gender-selective abortions.”

“We should protect innocent lives, and we should protect girls from being killed just because they are female.” Senator Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer said in a statement. “Nobody should be forced to pay for gender murder against their conscience.”

There is no evidence to support Thatcher’s claim due to the lack of data. Sex selection techniques such as sperm sorting are available at many fertility clinics, but choices are made prior to pregnancy, not during pregnancy.

The Equal Opportunities in Reproductive Health Act has received widespread media attention. But some websites have bent the truth in their headlines. Britbart news ran with the heading, “The governor of Oregon is signing a law making free abortions for everyone.” For his headingThe National Review wrote, “The Governor of Oregon hooks taxpayers on all abortions.”

None of these claims are true. So what does the Equal Opportunities in Reproductive Health Act really do? Here is a summary:

What exactly does the Equal Opportunities for Reproductive Health Act do?

The new law requires health insurance policies sold in Oregon to “cover” a range of reproductive health services at no cost to the insured.

Services Covered include: screening for pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, breast and cervical cancer, genetic cancer risk factors, and other health problems; Advice on tobacco use, STIs, breast cancer treatment, and domestic violence; Support in breastfeeding; Contraceptive devices and devices, including introduction and advice; voluntary sterilization and abortion.

Esteban Felix

Does This Law Guarantee Free Abortions For Everyone?

No. The bill guarantees that health insurance policies sold in Oregon will cover abortion services at no cost to you. This means that the people or companies who pay the premiums, not the taxpayers, bear the costs. (The law exempts insurers from coverage for abortion benefits if the insurer’s individual and employer group plans sold in 2017 excluded abortion coverage.)

Will this law force taxpayers to fund abortions?

In some cases, yes. Oregon was already one of the few states that allowed public funds to pay for abortions through its Medicaid program, known as the Oregon Health Plan. Because federal Medicaid funds do not pay for abortions, the full cost falls to Oregon taxpayers when an Oregon Health Plan patient receives an abortion.

Can people living illegally in the country really have a taxpayer-sponsored abortion under this law?

Yes. The Equal Opportunities for Reproductive Health Act allows illegitimate residents who do not have health insurance to have the state pay for an abortion. State officials estimate that abortions will cost about $ 300,000 a year for these residents.

Does this law allow later or gender-selective abortions?

Not special. Before the bill was passed, Oregon already had the most liberal abortion laws in the nation. There are no restrictions on gender-selective or late termination in state law.

However, there is no evidence that Oregon women terminate pregnancies based on the sex of the fetus, and no agency is pursuing or officially investigating this issue.

Larry Bingham, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Health, added, “There is no data to suggest that Oregon women terminate pregnancies because of the sex of the fetus. The state is not collecting data on the matter.”

Late abortions are rare, accounting for fewer than 300 of the nearly 9,000 abortions performed in Oregon last year, according to state data.

– Gordon R. Friedman

[email protected]

503-221-8209; @GordonRFriedman


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