Legislation forcing healthcare insurers to provide free abortions has passed the Oregon state House. The bill, which passed in a 33-23 vote, carried no Republican support. It is now moving to the Senate chamber for consideration.
If passed, the abortion bill would likely make Oregon the most abortion-friendly state in the country. House Bill 3391 is a $10 million reproductive health care bill that calls for insurance companies to cover abortions at zero cost to the patient.
Not a legal resident? No problem. The bill covers abortions for illegal immigrants too. Half a million dollars will be allocated to expand coverage to undocumented immigrants who are currently not eligible for the state’s Medicaid program – the Oregon Health Plan. Are you unhappy with the expected gender of your baby? No sweat. Oregon Democrats shot down a GOP attempt to include provisions to ban late-term abortions “undertaken solely because of the known or suspected sex of the unborn child.”
Oregon already spends approximately $2 million of the taxpayers’ money on 3,500 abortions every year. This bill would increase these numbers substantially. Republican lawmakers in Oregon’s capitol also noted something else: this bill is a cash cow for Planned Parenthood. The abortion-provider group would benefit substantially if this legislation passes. The organization has spent heavily on Democrats’ behalf in the state, and many see this as the ultimate thank-you card. Oregon Republicans sounded off:
“This highly contentious bill isn’t about health care or about people, it is a political gift card to Planned Parenthood,” said the communications director for the Senate Republican Caucus, Jonathan Lockwood.
“This terrible legislation is just another example of how Oregon’s largest abortion provider’s only real concern is for their financial bottom line,” stated Ms. Atteberry, Oregon Right to Life executive director. “The Oregon Health Authority testified [Thursday] that HB 3391-B will provide almost $500,000 more for abortions. Make no mistake: most of this money is going to Planned Parenthood.”
Despite the extreme partisanship of the bill and its surrounding controversy, Democrats are ecstatic about its House passage.
“Oregon is once again leading the way on health care!” Oregon House Democrats said in a released statement after the House vote. They also took a swipe at the White House: “Even while the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress are trying to strip away reproductive rights, Oregon is ensuring access regardless of income, citizenship status, gender identity, or type of insurance.”
They are proud of what they are doing.
The legislative session in Oregon ends on July 10. Gov. Kate Brown, the country’s first ever bisexual governor, is likely to sign it. Let’s hope Senate Republicans can run out the clock on this bill before Democrats are able to pass it.