Back in July, the Oregon state legislature passed a measure that would protect women in the state’s right to access reproductive health. The Reproductive Health Equity Act of 2017 ensures that women’s health will be covered, regardless of federal legislation, and the state’s Governor, Kate Brown, took time yesterday to sign the law, making it one of the most progressive women’s health bills in the country.
According to Refinery29, the Reproductive Health Equity Act of 2017 (AKA House Bill 3391) guarantees that insurers offer reproductive health services at no-cost, protects low-income Oregonians who need postpartum care, and guarantees that the state will continue to support a woman’s right to access a safe abortion, even if Roe v. Wade gets overturned in a Federal court.
With the law in place, insurers in the state must provide no-cost reproductive health services regardless of gender, sexuality, nationality, income, or citizenship status. These health services include vasectomies, birth control, prenatal and postpartum care, STI testing, cancer screening, and health counseling.
Besides guaranteeing people in the state have access to this often life-saving health care, the bill also earmarks public funds to family planning services in light of the federal GOP’s attempts at repealing federal support for organizations that may offer abortion services alongside other health care.
In a statement to R29, Grayson Dempsey, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, said, “As states across the country are stripping women of reproductive health services and coverage, Oregon is leading the way in not only protecting the right to legal abortion but in expanding coverage to ensure that no one is denied access to vital reproductive health services, from contraception to postpartum care.”
With the signing of House Bill 3391, Oregon has become the leader in progressive women’s reproductive health care in the country. While many states are working to remove access to health care (like Missouri’s attempts at making it legal to fire a woman for using birth control), Oregon’s decision to push through with this bill may give other states the push they need to continue to protect the rights of all citizens to access safe health care services.
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