On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned the precedent of Roe v. Wade, which had been the law of the land for half a century, leaving abortion regulation to the states and effectively stripping away a person’s constutional right to an abortion. In the wake of this dramatic decision, abortion became completely banned in several states instantly, and many other states began processes to potentially restrict or ban abortion.
However, here in Oregon, abortion is health care and remains protected under state law. Oregon is the most protective state in the country in terms of ensuring reproductive services and access to abortion, with other states following Oregon’s model to ensure people across the country can access this health care.
Governor Brown has been a champion of reproductive rights throughout her time as governor. In 2017, she signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act which codified abortion into state law — the first state to do so.
And immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, Oregon joined California and Washington to launch a Multi-State Commitment to defend access to reproductive health care, protect patients and doctors, and ensure the West Coast remains a safe haven for people seeking this care.
What The Dobbs v. Jackson Decision Means for Oregon
While the Supreme Court decision does not change the fact that abortion remains legal in Oregon, it will still have effects on Oregonians. Health care providers are preparing for an increase of patients seeking care from states where abortion is banned. This includes Idaho, where abortions are set to soon become illegal under a trigger ban passed in 2020. Trigger bans are bans or laws that were designed to become effective immediately or shortly after the Supreme Court took action to remove federal constitutional protections for abortion.
In preparation for such a decision, Oregon also invested $15 million for community-based organizations to expand access to abortion acorss the state and provide immediate support to patients, health care providers, and community advocates, with a focus on rural communities, communities of color, and low-income communities to overocme barriers to access.
How Governor Kate Brown is Fighting to Protect Reproductive Rights
In 2017, Governor Kate Brown signed into law Oregon’s Reproductive Health Equity Act — a first of its kind bill that expanded access to reproductive health services for all Oregonians. A culmination of decades of work at the hands of lawmakers and community organizations, House Bill 3391 established immediate protections for abortion access, and cemented Oregon as a leader in reproductive health care access.
With the Reproductive Health Equity Act, Oregon became the first state to require insurance companies to cover the full spectrum of reproductive health care for all Oregonians, including expanded postpartum care coverage, counseling for domestic abuse and tobacco use, breastfeeding support, and FDA-approved contraception. HB 3391 also prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in reproductive health coverage, ensuring all Oregonians can access life-saving preventive care, such as cancer screenings. The law also specifcially protects the right to abortion care for patients and providers
The landmark Reproductive Health Equity Act specifically enshrined the right to abortion care in Oregon law and sent a signal that in the face of uncertainty on a national level, states must act to protect the rights and protections of its people.
In 2022, Governor Brown worked with the Oregon Legislature to invest $15 million for community-based organizations to expand access to reproductive health services across the state and provide immediate support to patients, health care providers, and community advocates, with a focus on rural communities, communities of color, and low-income communities to overcome barriers to access. In June of 2022, the Reproductive Health Equity Fund awarded its first $1 million grant to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund.
“At a time when this fundamental right to access reproductive health care is being challenged across the nation, Oregon’s legislation continues to help people across the state lead healthy and productive lives. Oregon doesn’t turn anyone away seeking health care. Period. ” Governor Kate Brown said.
How to Access Abortion Care in Oregon
It is important to remember that abortion is still legal in Oregon.
If you are seeking or in need of an abortion, make an appointment with your physician to talk about medicated and procedural termination of pregnancy.
Follow this link to Oregon Health Authority to find information about reproductive and sexual healthcare offered in Oregon and how you can receive care.