The National Network of Abortion Funds and the Oregon-based Network for Reproductive Options applaud Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) for signing the Reproductive Health Equity Act (HB 3391) into law on Tuesday, and ensuring insurance companies cover all options pregnancy care, including abortion, at no additional cost, for all people, regardless of their immigration status.
This landmark legislation ensures that all people are able to access healthcare through their insurance, knocking down one of the many barriers to abortion care. Prior to this law, insurance companies did not have to cover abortion care, leaving many people unable to use their health insurance to cover the full range of reproductive options. This forced them to pay for abortion care out-of-pocket, creating unnecessary financial barriers as they saved funds to pay for their abortion. When the cost of an abortion and distance needed to travel to get one increase, abortion becomes more inaccessible and care is delayed.
In addition to protecting abortion access, this new law sends a clear message to undocumented Oregonians that despite the cruel rhetoric and political attacks by the Trump administration and Congress, their human right to health care and bodily autonomy will be respected in Oregon.
Yamani Hernandez, Executive Director of the National Network of Abortion Funds:
“We are thrilled that Oregon has taken crucial steps to ensure that Oregonians will be able to use their insurance coverage to afford abortion care, no matter their income, immigration status, or place of employment. Governor Brown understands the importance of eliminating barriers to abortion care, particularly as other states are searching for archaic ways to make abortion care out of touch or ban coverage altogether. Even in states where abortion is covered by private and Medicaid insurance plans, abortion funds hear from callers who are unable to afford the travel to the nearest clinic or are worried about ICE agents harassing them as they travel to clinics. Oregon is leading the way to ensure everyone who has the ‘right’ to an abortion will truly have access.”
Samantha Gladu, board Vice President of the Network for Reproductive Options:
“In Oregon, we’re blessed with a governor and state legislature who are very receptive and supportive of a woman’s right to choose, but as we’ve been seeing in recent years, a lot of states don’t have that. It’s hard for activists to be proposing and fighting for laws that will build greater access to abortion, when we’re too busy fighting tooth-and-nail to protect what little they have.”
The passage of Oregon’s Reproductive Health Equity Act is a huge victory against the growing number of state laws barring private insurance companies and Affordable Care Act state exchange plans from covering abortion. On the same day, as Oregon was increasing access to abortion coverage, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law banning abortion coverage on private insurance plans, making Texas the tenth state with the ban.
In 38 states, people on public insurance plans, including Medicaid, are barred from using their insurance to cover abortion care because of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding from subsidizing abortion services, disproportionately impacting low-income people seeking abortions, and communities of color.
Earlier this year, the National Network of Abortion Funds released analysis of five years and nearly 4,000 cases of Tiller Fund data which demonstrated how abortion funding bans cause delays in accessing abortion and increase the need for later abortion, which is more expensive and less accessible. For our callers, an unexpected pregnancy is an event that ushers in crisis mode. Abortion fund callers have been resourceful and raised as much as they can, often borrowing from their networks of support, taking more shifts at work, selling possessions, but because of economic hard realities, they have simply been unable to afford the abortion they need. It is unjust that healthcare is so deeply dependent on the amount of money someone has in their pocket, but with the passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act, more Oregonians will be able to afford the care they need with fewer barriers.