While many across the nation wait to see if they will be faced with a loss of insurance in response to the Republican healthcare bill, states like Oregon are taking the offense and passing their own protective legislation.
Last week, Oregon responded to continued attacks on American healthcare by passing an incredibly progressive piece of legislation targeted at protecting women’s reproductive rights.
The Reproductive Health Equity Act is incredibly wide-reaching, requiring insurance providers in the state to cover reproductive health services like abortion and contraception, as well as natal care (pre and post). In addition, the law requires insurance providers to give patients coverage, free of charge, for screenings for cancer, STI’s, and gestational diabetes.
But that’s not all. The law also has built-in protections should a conservative Supreme Court agree to the repeal of Roe V. Wade. If the law is signed by the state’s Democratic governor, women’s right to choose will be etched into the state’s constitution, guaranteeing it at a state level, even if it is denied federally.
Thanks to the actions of advocates and lawmakers, this wide-reaching legislation made it through the state’s legislative branch without being watered down or dismantled.
The legislation was passed along party lines in a 17-13 vote and will now need to be signed by Gov. Kate Brown, a strong reproductive rights advocate.
Even without the impending threat of the current Adminstration, the need to pass more comprehensive legislation concerning family planning and reproductive rights is vital. The legislation’s most basic target was leveling the playing field regarding access to these vital services for all women by eliminating cost as a factor for low-income women.
Guttmacher Institute notes that there has been a major influx of legislation concerning reproductive rights introduced nationwide since the beginning of the year.
“[M]ore than 400 measures [were] introduced during the first few months of 2017.”
That this legislation has to be passed at all is alarming, but it is something other states may need to consider in the wake of the increasingly conservative government. If we can no longer depend on our federal government to protect womens’ most basic rights, we will have to rely on states to provide that protection.