Medford, Oregon — During the 2022 Oregon legislative session, House Bill 5202, was passed, providing $15 million to the Oregon Reproductive Equity Fund.
This was in anticipation of Idaho enacting one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, ultimately forcing women to travel to Oregon for the procedure. A study by the Guttmacher Institute estimates there will be a 234% increase in people traveling to Oregon for an abortion.
The Oregon Reproductive Equity Fund is expected to pay the travel expenses of those incurred by people coming to Oregon from states with strict abortion laws. The law also expands the network of providers and works towards increasing access for Oregonians to reproductive health care.
Impacted by Idaho’s abortion laws and Oregon’s $15 million investment is Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon.
News 10 reached out to Planned Parenthood, but they declined to comment.
However, President and CEO, Lisa Gardener, gave a statement that “As of 2017, 78% of Oregon counties had no clinics that provide abortion care; as many as 23% of Oregonians who can become pregnant live in counties that lack abortion providers. Funds will be used to address urgent support for patients, like travel and lodging, and to expand provider network capacity.”
House Bill 5202's passing comes as a shock to members of Oregon Right to Life, whose organizers didn't know about the bill until shortly before it passed. Executive Director, Lois Anderson, said that Oregon already has expansive laws allowing abortion for any reason using state dollars, laws that mandate insurance to cover costs with no co-pay and allows minors to request not to notify parents.
“It seems like an unnecessary thing to then allocate, in this kind of environment, another $15 million dollars.”
Last month, California Governor Newsom followed also signed a law making abortions cheaper for those on private insurance plans. Meanwhile, in Washington, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill that prohibits that state from taking any action against individuals seeking to end their pregnancy or those assisting.