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Oregon reproductive rights and gender-affirming care bill heads to governor’s desk

Lawmakers gave final approval on Wednesday to House Bill 2002, which was at the heart of the state’s longest legislative walkout
Oregon Capitol in Salem. | JAKE THOMAS/THE LUND REPORT
June 22, 2023

Oregon lawmakers gave final approval on Wednesday to House Bill 2002, the reproductive rights and gender-affirming care measure that was at the heart of the state’s longest legislative walkout.

The measure now heads to Gov. Tina Kotek’s desk for her signature.

Republicans strenuously opposed the measure throughout the months-long session in Salem. Republican lawmakers agreed to end the six-week legislative walkout only after the bill was watered down.

The first time members in the House considered the bill, they debated the measure for hours. But Wednesday’s vote, which was a concurrence vote to adopt the agreed-upon amendment approved last week by the Senate, the discussion was relatively quick. The only Democrat who spoke on the measure was Rep. Rob Nosse, of Portland, who sponsored the measure. The measure passed on a 35-12 vote.

Despite the changes to the measure, Republicans still railed against it. Most lawmakers focused their comments on the gender-affirming care portion of the measure.

Rep. Christine Goodwin, R-Canyonville, said the bill “seeks to normalize gender confusion.”

The bill expands the scope of care Medicaid and private insurance is required to cover in Oregon to include facial feminization surgery and laser hair removal.

The part of the measure that spurred the walkout deals with reproductive rights. Republicans disagreed with a provision that would have allowed children of any age to terminate a pregnancy without parental consent.

As part of the deal to bring Republicans back to the Capitol, Democrats agreed to keep parental permission rules in place for children under the age of 15 seeking to end a pregnancy. The requirement can be overridden, however, if two health care providers at separate medical practices deem informing parents would not be in the best interest of the child.

Democrats also cut out portions of the bill that would have expanded abortion access on university campuses and in rural parts of the state.

The measure still contains a key provision protecting medical providers who perform abortions from any legal repercussions for providing such care, including if providers treat patients who traveled from anti-abortion states.

This article was originally published by Oregon Public Broadcasting. It has been republished here with permission.