(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Oregon is notorious for cutting-edge leftist policies, like the addition of a third gender option for driver’s licenses. Pushing the envelope further, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced last week that she plans to sign a bill which forces insurers to provide free abortions for their customers, including illegal immigrants.
“The ability to control our bodies and make informed decisions about health are critical to providing all Oregonians the opportunity to achieve our full potential and live productive, thriving lives. Attempts to deny access to contraceptives and family planning are an attack on all Oregonians, particularly women of color, low-income and young women,” Governor Brown told the Washington Times.
Given that Oregon already has some of the most lax abortion laws in the country, several Oregon Republicans are questioning why this new bill is necessary.
“We don’t need to do this. This is Oregon,” Republican state Rep. Mike Nearman said during the House floor debate. “There [are] no legal restrictions on anyone’s right to get an abortion. You can get an abortion at any time for any reason. Even sex selection.”
Democratic state Rep. Pam Marsh said the Oregon bill “ensures that cost alone will never keep a woman from receiving services, regardless of citizenship status, ability to pay or gender identity.”
She also wants the bill to be a message to the Trump administration.
“Regardless of any possible federal action to come, the state of Oregon will protect reproductive health care rights for all residents.”
While the soon-to-be law includes an exemption for the Catholic health provider Providence Health Plans, Republicans still expect the number of abortions in the state to increase significantly.
“Will House Bill 3391 increase or decrease the number of abortions in the state of Oregon? If it will decrease the number, then sign me up. But I’m afraid we all know that’s not the case,” Republican state Rep. Werner Reschke said during floor debate. “The number will inevitably increase.”
Because of Providence Health Plans’ exemption, the state is offering a separate benefit for their customers, giving them access to free abortions and contraceptives.
Liberty Pike, spokeswoman for Oregon Right to Life, said the passage of the bill is very disturbing and will inevitably result in more late-term and sex-selection abortions.
“Oregon taxpayers already pay for almost 50 percent of abortions in the state of Oregon, and this bill will undoubtedly increase it,” she said.
Executive director of Oregon Right to Life Gayle Atteberry has accused the Democrats of “working to reward one of their primary campaign supporters, Planned Parenthood, which stands to financially benefit from HB 3391-B.”
In recent years, Planned Parenthood facilities have closed in Oregon as the number of procedures continues to decline. In Oregon alone, the number of abortions dropped by 15 percent from 2011 to 2014, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
“This terrible legislation is just another example of how Oregon’s largest abortion provider’s only real concern is for their financial bottom line,” said Atteberry.