The Oregon Senate today passed nationally significant legislation that will guarantee reproductive health equity for Oregonians. It now heads to the desk of Governor Kate Brown for her signature.
The Reproductive Health Equity Act (House Bill 3391) will ensure that every Oregonian can decide when and whether to become a parent - regardless of income, type of insurance, citizenship status or gender identity. The Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon, which developed the legislation over the past two years with input from community leaders and legislators, applauded the elected leaders who recognized the urgent need to safeguard reproductive freedom and fill gaps in coverage that benefit millions of Oregonians.
HB 3391 will:
- Safeguard the right to abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned.
- Protect no-cost coverage for preventive reproductive health care for every Oregonian with commercial health insurance if the Affordable Care Act were overturned.
- Expand post-partum care to about 48,000 Oregonians of reproductive age who have coverage for labor and delivery that drops immediately after birth.
- Make safe, legal abortion more affordable and accessible for about 43,000 Oregon women of reproductive age who have high-deductible policies.
- Help more than 18,600 Oregon women of reproductive age who are forced to pay out-of-pocket costs for preventive health services, including contraception.
- Remove procedural barriers that hinder access to lifesaving cancer screenings for transgender and gender-nonconforming Oregonians.
House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, Representatives Jeff Barker and Julie Fahey, and Senators Richard Devlin and Laurie Monnes Anderson are the chief sponsors of the bill, which is co-sponsored by 21 State Representatives and 10 State Senators.
Grayson Dempsey, Executive Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, said: "Preventive services reduce healthcare costs and strengthen our communities and our economy. In order to have stronger health outcomes, Oregonians need quality medical care to prevent problems before they start."
Laurel Swerdlow, Advocacy Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, said: "Rights don't matter if you can't access them. Every Oregonian - no matter where they live or how much money they make or who provides their health insurance - deserves access to the health care they need."
Linda Roman, Director of Health Policy and Government Relations for Oregon Latino Health Coalition, said: "All Oregonians - regardless of citizenship status - should have the freedom to decide if and when they have children based on what's best for them and their family's circumstances."
Amy Casso, Gender Justice Program Director for Western States Center, said: "Immigrants are our neighbors. They work hard, pay taxes and put their children through school, yet many Oregonians are categorically denied health coverage due to their citizenship status. No one should have to go bankrupt or deep into debt because they don't have affordable reproductive health care."
Kara Carmosino, Director of Programs and Strategy for Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, said: "Transgender and gender-nonconforming Oregonians need access to services often categorized as 'women's health care,' including gender-specific cancer screenings. Unfortunately, when coverage is dependent on one's gender marker, procedural barriers can hinder access to this necessary and lifesaving care."
Kimberly McCullough, Legislative Director for American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said: "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."
Andrea Paluso, Executive Director for Family Forward Oregon, said: "Working families are under so much strain today and often have a hard time making ends meet. Families in Oregon need support like paid time off from work to care for loved ones and access to affordable child care. It is also critical that they have access to affordable, essential reproductive health care, which this bill guarantees."
Reproductive Health Equity Act summary: https://reprohealthequity.org/about/about-the-bill/
Reproductive Health Equity Act fact sheet: https://reprohealthequity.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/hb-3391-fact-sheet.pdf