PORTLAND, Ore. — Lawmakers in Oregon have passed a bill that requires insurance companies in the state to cover abortions at no cost to mothers.
The state Senate passed H.B. 3391 on Wednesday along party lines after it cleared the House on July 1.
“A health benefit plan offered in this state must provide coverage for all of the following services, drugs, devices, products and procedures,” the bill reads, including abortion, contraception and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, among other services, in the list.
It also provides an exemption for religious businesses and nonprofits, outlining that “[a]n insurer may offer to a religious employer a health benefit plan that does not include coverage for contraceptives or abortion procedures that are contrary to the religious employer’s religious tenets,” but only if if the insurer sends a detailed notice to employees to advise which services their employer declines to cover.
Employees can still obtain the desired contraceptives and abortions, however, as the bill also provides that the Oregon Health Authority “shall design a program to provide statewide access to abortion coverage for Oregon residents enrolled in [such] health benefit plans.”
The legislation created much contention in both the House and Senate as Republicans were horrified that an estimated half a million dollars would be used for abortions.
“I can’t reconcile in my mind how anyone who has a walk with God can support this,” said Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, who emotionally shared that he lost his premie granddaughter as an infant. “I just can’t get there with you.”
“We pursue a culture of death in this country. It’s pervasive. It’s everywhere. It’s in our movies, our TV shows, our video games, our magazines. It’s down the street,” also lamented Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend. “The souls of 50 million babies in our country cry out for justice, and I know God hears them. The question, colleagues, is will we hear their cries for justice?”
Democrats framed their argument in support of the bill around women’s rights and assistance for the poor.
“Unintended pregnancies can perpetuate cycles of poverty, and we can help stop it. It is a woman’s right to choose when and if she is ready in her life to have a child,” said Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Portland, according to ABC News.
Gov. Kate Brown, also a Democrat, said that she would sign the bill into law. It goes into effect immediately.
“The ability to control our bodies and make informed decisions about health are critical to providing all Oregonians the opportunity to achieve our full potential and live productive, thriving lives,” she told the Washington Times. “Attempts to deny access to contraceptives and family planning are an attack on all Oregonians, particularly women of color, low-income and young women.”
Planned Parenthood is stated to have helped author the measure.
As previously reported, Philadelphia legal writer, educator and Christian apologist Francis Wharton, who wrote several books on American law, penned an entire chapter on abortion in his book “American Criminal Law,” which was published in 1855.
Wharton called abortionists “persons who are ready to degrade their humanity to this occupation” and stated in regard to abortion in general, “Such conduct cannot be too strongly condemned, and is the more deserving of receiving the punishment awarded for the criminal offense in question.”
He proceeded to outline the wonders of fetal development in his book, showing that even in the fourth and fifth week of development, the facial features of the baby are distinctly recognized.