Abortion Battle Moves To Center Stage In Oregon

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With an anti-abortion measure on the ballot and differences in the governor's race, abortion will be a hot-button issue in the next few months.

Only once in more than a decade have Oregon voters been asked to weigh in on abortion.

But now, driven by three distinct developments, abortion promises to take center stage politically in a state widely regarded as the most pro-choice in the nation.

Democrats Rally Against Trump’s Supreme Court Pick to Protect Health Care Act

Though divided on abortion, Senate Democrats are banding together against District Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh over fears his confirmation could threaten protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Senate Democrats, who are divided on abortion policy, are instead turning to health care as a rallying cry for opposition to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

Providence Threatens to Leave Oregon Insurance Market Over Bill that Would Ensure Abortion Access

House Bill 3391, the comprehensive reproductive health bill, requires abortion, vasectomies and contraceptive care be covered at no additional out-of-pocket costs to consumers, gives postpartum care to low-income unauthorized immigrants, and adds further clarity to stop insurers from discriminating against transgender individuals.

Providence Health Plan has threatened to pull out of the state health insurance market if they are forced to cover abortion services, citing First Amendment rights in an effort to block a bill that requires coverage of abortion and other reproductive health services with no additional cost-sharin

Democratic Leaders Spike Women’s Health Bill Over Abortion Issue

The bill would have codified Affordable Care Act protections for reproductive healthcare and brought Oregon insurance law in line with the federal government, but it divided Democrats, some of whom objected to language in the bill around abortion. The bill was stopped before it could have a public hearing.

The Democratic leadership of Oregon’s Legislature, including Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, has killed a bill that would have ensured a woman’s access to abortion and blocked sponsor and Health Chairwoman Sen.

Thompson Tries to Survive Strong Challenge from the Right

Rep. Jim Thompson is among the most influential Republicans on healthcare issues, serving as the vice-chair of the House Health Care Committee. But his support for same-sex marriage and his compromising demeanor on healthcare reforms has forced him to defend his Dallas-based House district against a conservative eager to take a more provocative approach to politics.

Mike Nearman wants to take the Oregon Republican Party in a new direction, one along Tea Party lines and rid the party of so-called “Republicans In Name Only” that hold sway in the Oregon House. He wants to start with Rep. Jim Thompson, R-Dallas, whom he believes hasn’t done enough to derail the hated Obamacare laws.

“He’s content to just get spoon fed whatever Cover Oregon wants,” said Nearman, an information technology professional and the chairman of the Polk County Republicans. “I wouldn’t let John Kitzhaber get away without answering any questions.”

Abortion Rates Lowest Since 1973 – But Pregnancies, Births Down As Well

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In Oregon, the numbers dipped by 18 percent between 2008 and 2011

Abortion rates are at their lowest since 1973, when the Roe v. Wade court decision made the procedure legal, according to figures released by the Guttmacher Institute earlier this year.

Michelle Stranger-Hunter, executive director of NARAL and the Oregon Reproductive Health Foundation, noted that the study in question covers the years between 2008 and 2011. Between 2011 and 2013, more than 205 abortion restrictions passed in different states nationwide – more than in the previous decade, Stranger-Hunter said. (None of them passed in Oregon, which is the only state not to have passed any restrictions on abortion since Roe.)


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