Oregon Passed the Country’s Most Progressive Reproductive Health Care Policy

The same day Texas took another swing at reproductive rights, Oregon showed the rest of the country what reproductive health legislation can and should look like.

On August 15, Governor Kate Brown (D) signed into law what many are calling the country’s most progressive reproductive health care policy, expanding access to abortion, birth control, postpartum care and many other services to Oregon residents — regardless of income, insurance or immigration status.

The Reproductive Health Equity Act, effective immediately, requires insurance companies to cover birth control and abortion without a co-pay and allocates state funding to cover the reproductive health care of noncitizens without Medicaid.

“Rights don’t matter if you can’t access them,” said Laurel Swerdlow, Advocacy Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. “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.”

In addition to birth control and abortion, the law also covers STI and pregnancy testing, voluntary sterilization, vasectomies, postpartum care and many other related services and medications, allowing the people of Oregon to make the best choices for themselves and their lives regarding their reproductive health, no matter what.

The Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon, which includes members from the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and other organizations, helped write the bill and says it will benefit hundreds of thousands of residents.

In a press release, the Coalition thanked the governor for signing “the first legislation in the United States to comprehensively address systemic barriers to accessing reproductive health care.”

The governor has allocated $10.2 million to fund the bill through 2019 and set aside about $500,000 for women who don’t qualify for the state’s Medicaid program because of their immigration status, ensuring that regardless of what happens at the federal level regarding the Affordable Care Act or Roe v. Wade, people in Oregon will have guaranteed safe, free access to a wide range of critical reproductive health care services.

“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,” Amy Casso, director of the Gender Justice Program for Western States, said in a statement. “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.”

Meanwhile, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill banning companies from covering abortion in their standard plans, effectively requiring women to buy rape insurance … because Texas hates women.