Legislative group recommends even more extreme abortion measures in Oregon

A legislative work group in Oregon has recommended that the state strengthen its already heavily pro-abortion laws and increase abortion access. Abortion is allowed in Oregon for any reason at any time and the state has reported an increase of 18% in abortions since June. Still, the workgroup complained that about 30% of the state’s hospital beds are in Catholic hospitals which are exempt from being required to commit abortions.

The Reproductive Health and Access to Care workgroup, which convened in response to the anticipated overturning of Roe v. Wade, publicly released its 22-page report on December 7 during a Health Care meeting of the Oregon House Committee, expressing concern that there is not enough access to abortion in the heavily pro-abortion state. Over one hundred pro-life advocates attended the meeting in opposition to the workgroup’s efforts.

The workgroup was also concerned that Oregon’s neighbor, Idaho, enacted a law in August that makes abortion a felony unless it is carried out to save the woman’s life or in the case of rape or incest.

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Despite Oregon’s abortion increase and the absence of abortion restrictions, the workgroup, formed by house Speaker Dan Rayfield, made multiple requests to the Legislature regarding abortion, including the request for an unspecified amount of funding for incentives for doctors, medical fellows, and medical residents to travel to Oregon for abortion training.

In addition, the report calls for further state enforcement of abortion health insurance mandates despite the existence of the state Reproductive Health Equity Act of 2017, which requires that the cost of abortion be fully covered by private health insurance companies. It also covers abortions for immigrants who don’t have access to health care because of their immigration status.

The law, however, cannot force the Indian Health Services or Veteran Affairs to cover abortion because federal law prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. It also cannot force religious-based insurers to cover abortion. Therefore, the workgroup wants the Oregon Health Authority to be given the authority and funding to offer abortion coverage to Oregonians who don’t have abortion coverage through their insurance.

The group also wants to ensure that abortionists who participate in illegal activity in other states are not extradited for prosecution and that Oregon prosecutors are prohibited from any abortion-related prosecution.

An unspecified amount of state funding has also been requested to help abortionists pay legal fees. Essentially, if a woman is injured by an abortionist or an abortion is carried out under coercion, that woman or her family may be prohibited from receiving legal recourse. The abortionist might not face prosecution and the state would even help pay his or her legal fees.

Finally, the group wants the state to enforce its Unlawful Trade Practices Act against pro-life pregnancy resource centers, which provide women with maternity clothes, baby gear and clothing, formula, and other resources such as housing. The report notes that there are 13 abortion facilities in Oregon compared to 44 pregnancy centers. The result of shutting down pregnancy centers would be that more women will feel pressured into abortion due to a lack of support — bringing more money to the abortion industry in the state and potentially helping to open more abortion facilities.

Oregon already has zero restrictions on abortion, saw a large increase in abortions in just the last six months, and recently passed a $15 million fund to pay for women to travel to Oregon for abortions. It is equally concerning that lawmakers continue to encourage more abortion while attempting to end the availability of alternative help from pregnancy centers.

Oregon is on track to become an abortion destination state, where women will go for abortions and face possible bodily injury and risk to their mental health, only to be sent home potentially without proper follow-up care and no recourse for any injuries.

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