Oregon Gov. Kate Brown today signed a bill that would force health insurers and taxpayers to pay for free abortions for residents and illegal immigrants.
The pro-abortion law would require health insurers to provide free abortions to patients without a co-pay. It also would set aside $10.2 million tax dollars for abortions, contraception and other reproductive health services for 2017 through 2019 in Medicaid, much of which pro-life advocates say will go to Planned Parenthood, the report states.
Abortions must now be covered 100 percent by all insurance policies, without a copay or deductible. HB 3391 also establishes a $10 million fund for illegal immigrants’ reproductive “care,” of which $500 thousand is estimated to be spent covering abortions.
In addition, by passing HB 3391, Gov. Brown and Oregon Democrats are endangering billions in federal funding because HB 3391 violates the federal Weldon Amendment.
“There are many things that make Oregon a wonderful state. Unfortunately, HB 3391 is not one of them,” Gayle Atteberry, Oregon Right to Life executive director, told LifeNews.com. “Today Gov. Brown demonstrated her extreme bias in favor of the abortion rights lobby, disregarding thousands of future Oregonians whose lives have been further endangered by making their elimination 100 percent expense-free.”
For policy holders of Providence Health Plan, the only company in Oregon with plans not covering elective abortion, abortion expenses can be fully reimbursed by the Oregon Health Plan.
“Oregon taxpayers already cover nearly 50 percent of all abortions in the state whether they like it or not,” said Atteberry. “By making abortion free, this percentage will inevitably increase. We also expect more late-term abortions, which are currently very expensive as well as risky to perform. All completely covered by either insurance companies or by the Oregon taxpayers.”
Pro-life Republicans tried to block the bill but did not have enough votes to succeed.
“We don’t need to do this,” state Rep. Mike Nearman said before the House vote. “This is Oregon. There [are] no legal restrictions on anyone’s right to get an abortion. None. You can get an abortion at any time for any reason. Even sex-selection.”
In a statement, Oregon House Democrats indicated that the bill is a direct response to President Donald Trump and pro-life federal lawmakers. Right now, U.S. Senate lawmakers are debating a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood of hundreds of millions of tax dollars.
The Oregon Democrats responded, “Even while the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress are trying to strip away reproductive rights [abortion], Oregon is ensuring access regardless of income, citizenship status, gender identity, or type of insurance.”
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The bill has an exemption for houses of worship and religious non-profits, but pro-life groups said the exemption is very weak.
According to Oregon Right to Life, many insurance plans in the state already cover abortions, and there is no guarantee that there will be insurance options in the future that do not cover abortions.
Atteberry said Oregon Right to Life will continue its successful work in educating Oregonians about abortion, fetal development, and other pro-life issues, work that has contributed to Oregon’s 40 percent drop in abortions. ORTL will also continue working to increase awareness and support of life-affirming alternatives to abortion.
Polls consistently show that many Americans think abortion is morally troubling because it involves the killing of an innocent human being’s life. What’s more, polls indicate that poorer Americans are some of the least supportive of taxpayer-funded abortions.
A Politico/Harvard University poll in October 2016 found that voters who make more than $75,000 were more supportive of forcing taxpayers to fund abortions (45 percent in favor), while those who make $25,000 or less were strongly against it (24 percent in favor). In other words, the people most likely to qualify for a Medicaid-covered, taxpayer-funded abortion are the ones who oppose it the most.
Overall, the poll found very little support for taxpayer-funded abortions. Just 36 percent of likely voters supported the issue, while 58 percent opposed it. These findings are consistent with previous polls from various groups.
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