The Oregon Senate passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act (House Bill 3391) on Wednesday, July 5, ensuring Oregonians access to a full range of reproductive health services regardless of citizenship status or gender identity. The bill includes adding abortion services to the list of reproductive health procedures that must be covered by insurance — at no cost to the patient. The bill must now be approved and signed by Gov. Kate Brown.
“As states across the country are stripping women of reproductive health services and coverage,” wrote Grayson Dempsey, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon “Oregon is leading the way in not only protecting the right to legal abortion but in expanding coverage to ensure that no one is denied access to vital reproductive health services, from contraception to postpartum care."
The bill plans to make abortions more accessible and affordable, eliminate the cost of preventive health services and abolish the exclusivity of care.
Costing an estimated $10 million, House Bill 3391 offers “Contraception, postpartum care and screenings for sexually transmitted infections and cancers of the reproductive system” to Oregonians at zero out-of-pocket costs, requiring private insurers to pay for them instead, according to Janaki Chadha of The Oregonian.
Abortion is protected under the bill, ensuring Oregonians access to the procedure if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned. Federal law excuses religious facilities who have not previously covered abortion from performing the procedure.
In addition to improving affordability and accessibility of abortions, the bill promotes the use of preventive reproductive services. According to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon (PPAO,) the Affordable Care Act already requires insurance companies to cover the cost of contraception, but some insurance plans have found loopholes and avoided the cost. House Bill 3391 requires all insurance companies to pay for this benefit, broadening access to 18,600 women in Oregon.
"We believe every Oregonian should have access to the full range of reproductive health care, starting with preventive care and continuing through postpartum care. This basic right is a foundation of freedom and opportunity for individuals and their families,” said Kimberly McCullough, legislative director for American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon.
The bill is co-sponsored by 21 State Representatives and 10 State Senators, predominantly democrats and aims to accomplish precisely what President Trump attempted to abolish by introducing health care bills to the House and Senate that would withhold federal funds from entities that provide abortions, such as Planned Parenthood.
Since the bill has now passed through the House and the Senate, Gov. Brown’s signature is the last requirement to make the Reproductive Health Equity Act a reality in Oregon. With Gov. Brown’s strong track record for supporting such causes, House Bill 3391 appears to have a high chance of becoming state law.