Bill in Oregon Senate would require health plans to pay for abortion

Legislation under consideration in Salem would provide women with comprehensive health coverage.

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Legislation under consideration in Salem would provide women with comprehensive health coverage, including abortion, contraceptives and breast feeding assistance services — among others.

Senate Bill 894 is co-sponsored by Democrats Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, Rep. Val Hoyle, Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, Rep. Jennifer Williamson, the Statesman Journal reports.

Steiner Hayward addressed a group of about 70 advocates Wednesday in front of the State Capitol: “Women’s bodies are our choices,” she said. “Our bodies are our bodies and it’s not up to the government to tell us what to do with them.”

Michele Stranger Hunter, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, said unequal access to reproductive health services disproportionately affect low-income, immigrant and other minority women. Stranger Hunter said although the Affordable Care Act requires insurance carriers to cover birth control with no cost-sharing and without having to meet the deductibles first, there are transitional plans that still don’t meet those requirements. In addition, the health reform law doesn’t guarantee abortion coverage, she said.

At a time when abortion rights are facing attacks in many states across the country, Oregon women need protection, Stranger Hunter said.

Spokeswoman for Oregon Right To Life Liberty Pike argued the legislation would force religious employers to cover the procedure.

The bill’s language is still being scrutinized before it will be introduced to the Senate floor, Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson said in the SJ story.

“If it goes before the committee now, it can’t pass the way it is now,” Monnes Anderson said in Saerom Yoo’s report. “We’re just getting things ready.”


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