Governor Kate Brown today signed the nation's most progressive reproductive health policy into law. The Reproductive Health Equity Act (House Bill 3391) is the first legislation in the United States to comprehensively address systemic barriers to accessing reproductive health care, expanding coverage to thousands of Oregonians throughout the state - regardless of income, citizenship status or gender identity.
Developed by the Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon with input from legislative champions, the new law makes Oregon the first state to establish comprehensive, state-funded reproductive health coverage for women categorically excluded from Medicaid based on citizenship status; the first to codify no-cost abortion coverage in state statute; and the first to stand up to the Trump administration and congressional Republicans by putting the entire list of women's health services covered without cost-sharing under the Affordable Care Act into state statute. The legislation also bans discrimination against those who identify as transgender or gender-nonconforming so that all people who can become pregnant have access to reproductive health care.
The Reproductive Health Equity Act, which goes into effect immediately, will significantly benefit thousands of Oregonians:
900,000: Oregonians covered by private insurance who now have expanded reproductive health coverage.
360,000: Oregon women who now have protected access to copay-free preventive healthcare services under the Affordable Care Act.
48,000: Low-income mothers in Oregon whose coverage now extends past delivery to include follow-up visits during the postpartum period.
43,000: Oregon women of reproductive age with high-deductible policies who now have abortion coverage at no out-of-pocket cost.
18,600: Oregon women of reproductive age whose insurance plans now cannot charge them a co-pay or other out-of-pocket costs for preventive health services, including contraception.
Laurel Swerdlow, Advocacy Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, said: "We are so grateful for the bold leadership of Governor Brown and legislative champions who understand that Oregonians don't want reproductive health care attacked. Women, transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, people of color, immigrants and people of faith are not going to silently stand around while politicians in Washington D.C. try to take away our health care."
Amy Casso, Gender Justice Program Director for Western States Center, said: "This is an amazing victory, and it's all the more significant given the current political landscape. In the face of relentless rollbacks and attacks at the federal level, Oregonians are showing the rest of the country what it means to be resilient and visionary. This groundbreaking legislation is the result of a forward-thinking, inclusive campaign that uplifted the leadership of people of color. There is still work to be done, but today we celebrate that more Oregonians have the freedom to decide if and when they have children based on what's best for them and their family's circumstances."
Kimberly McCullough, Legislative Director for American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said: "Individual rights and freedom go to the heart of who we are as Oregonians, including the right to access safe and legal abortion. For too many Oregonians today, those legal rights do not translate into access, especially for young people, people of color, rural people, people with low incomes, and transgender and gender-nonconforming people. The vast majority of Oregonians support access to safe and legal abortion, which is now safeguarded by the Reproductive Health Equity Act."
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
Reproductive Health Equity Act stories from impacted Oregonians: https://reprohealthequity.org/stories/
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The Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon is a diverse, statewide coalition that is working to create a world where access to reproductive health care doesn't depend on who you are, where you live or how much you earn - where every Oregonian who can become pregnant has the opportunity to choose their own path to a healthy and meaningful life. The coalition consists of American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Family Forward Oregon, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, Oregon Latino Health Coalition, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon and Western States Center.