With sickening, breaktaking swiftness, the Oregon State Senate passed HB 3391-B last week, forcing insurance companies to fund, among other things, abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.
For any reason.
Are you pregnant with a girl but want a boy? Your insurance will cover that abortion, no problem.
Did you decide eight months into the game you don’t actually want another child? Don’t worry, your insurance will cover that abortion, too.
And if they don’t, the state is setting aside $10 million in Medicaid funding every year to make sure you’re covered, regardless of the Hyde Amendment’s clear stipulation that no federal tax dollars go towards paying for abortion. Your insurance doesn’t cover abortions because of religious or conscientious objections? Don’t worry. Medicaid is there for you in that moment, too.
Want an ultrasound? It doesn’t seem this law requires insurers to cover that for you. If you’d like to terminate your pregnancy, be Oregon’s guest (literally, undocumented workers welcome to have an abortion!), but if you’d like to see an image of your child? That’ll cost you.
The bill, expected to be signed into law by Governor Kate Brown, is shockingly (or maybe not-so-shockingly) one sided in its approach to an issue as complex and nuanced as abortion. Not only did Planned Parenthood, who – as you may recall benefits financially from abortion – help write the bill, they also lobbied to make sure it passed.
Planned Parenthood denies the proven health risks associated with abortion, pushing one option as the best choice for women facing unplanned pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if you really want abortion or not, if you didn’t plan for the pregnancy then obviously the best decision for you to make is abortion. And by removing all barriers to abortion, why would you be expected (by family, friends, anyone) to make a different decision?
Pregnant and don’t want to be? Great. Insurance will cover that termination for you.
This is hailed as a victory for women’s reproductive rights, but is removing the last great restriction abortion (cost) really about women’s freedom? Or is it about pushing women into a singular choice?
Will this law make it easier for pimps to get abortion for their girls? Yes.
Will this law make it easier for boyfriends or husbands who don’t want children to pressure their partners to “choose” abortion? Yes.
Will it make it easier for underage girls to hide information from their parents if they’re dating and were impregnated by an older man? Yes.
Congratulations, Oregon. You’ve made it possible for other illegal and harmful industries to thrive under your new law.
Of the slew of services to be covered under the new law, including contraceptives, STI testing and treatment, and voluntary sterilization, conspicuously absent is ultrasound. Is it really too great a thing to show women what’s happening inside their wombs?
Are you withholding information from women because you suddenly agree with the “patriarchy,” or because you think women will make the “wrong” decision if they’re fully informed, or because you think they’ll make a stupid choice that will ruin their lives, and you, as the all-wise state know what’s best for women?
Are providers prohibited from performing and showing an ultrasound? No. But by not including it in the list of services covered by insurance, the barriers for women seeking an ultrasound still stand, especially at organizations like Planned Parenthood who charge upwards of $200 per ultrasound.
How far are we willing for this to take us? And are we willing to face the implications of the moral calls being made in this legislation?
We can no longer decry sex-selective abortion as wrong. If we want insurance agencies and the government to cover abortions for any reason at any time, we can’t complain about global discrimination against women. Because abortions will happen based on the sex of the child. 68% of Americans oppose prenatal testing for the purpose of sex-selection only. The Oregon law provides no safeguards against such testing and reasons for abortion.
And what of the children who will be aborted after viability? A child post 24 weeks in the womb, thanks to medical technology, has a high likelihood of survival outside the womb, yet this legislation makes no distinction between abortions in the first trimester and abortions in the third trimester. As long as you want one, you can have one … for free.
It’s been estimated that 3,000 more abortions could happen in Oregon per year because of this law.
Ultimately, the new law makes it easier for women to get abortions than it is to find helpful and good solutions for both woman and child. We don’t deny the complex and heartbreaking situations women face every day when it comes to unplanned pregnancy. We see it daily and extend help and hope with compassion and love to any woman who feels unable to carry her child to term. A law that makes abortion the easier short term fix will encourage women to choose abortion over parenting or adoption simply because it removes the perceived need for other options.
The law does nothing to help women out of their poverty or life circumstance that makes them consider abortion in the first place. It simply provides a quick “fix” for a “problem” that leaves devastation in its wake.
It also fails to tell the full story. That children are hard, yes, but that they’re also a joy and that help is available to carry women through their pregnancies fully supported and cared for.
Pregnancy centers offer assistance and resources beyond the present “crisis” to help women in the long term. The solutions often aren’t a quick fix, but they also take into consideration the complexities a woman faces when she’s in an unplanned pregnancy and offers to come alongside women in their difficult situations. This is true care for women, not the assembly line in and out approach of the abortion industry driving this new legislation.
Is this really the best Oregon has to offer women and families? The law reduces women to a singular problem with a singular answer: Abortion. And now they’ve made it free.