In a season three episode of Veep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer comments on the over-politicizing of reproductive rights, remarking aptly that “if men got pregnant, you could get an abortion at an ATM.” But men CANNOT get pregnant, so instead women’s health advocates must spend their time fighting for affordable access to abortion and birth control.
As feminists, loss—particularly in regards to reproductive rights—is no stranger in 2017. With cut funding, Planned Parenthoods have shuttered across the country and some states have as few as one remaining abortion clinic. But, in a rare and exciting victory, Oregon is poised to become the second state (after California) where insurance companies—including the state’s Medicaid program—are required to cover reproductive healthcare, including birth control and abortions.
And per ABC News, “Oregon’s $10 million reproductive health care bill would also provide public funds for family planning services and post-partum care for low-income residents.”
House Bill 3391 has passed through the state senate with 17-13 votes and now awaits a signature by Governor Kate Brown, a pro choice democrat.
According to The Oregonian:
[The bill], which will cost the state an estimated $10 million, will also require insurance plans to cover contraception, post-partum care, and screenings for sexually transmitted infections and cancers of the reproductive system. Under it, the state would reimburse providers who offer reproductive health care to undocumented immigrants.
The bill exempts religious employers and insurers who do not currently cover abortion, such as Providence Health & Services. It would require the Oregon Health Authority to create a program to provide no-cost abortions for individuals whose health plans don’t cover the procedure.
While the state senate Republicans argued familiar talking points (that the bill will lead to sex-selective or late term abortions, and so on), Democrats argued back that House Bill 3391 isn’t even new legislation, but an expansion on laws that already exist. The bill passed along party lines.
Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Portland) who also happens to be a public health nurse, hopes that the bill will provide healthcare to a broader economic spectrum of women, stating, “I have seen the difference between what a poor woman can get and one that has financial means to get birth control and health services.”
She added, “Unintended pregnancies can perpetuate cycles of poverty, and we can help stop it. It is a woman’s right to choose when and if she is ready in her life to have a child.”