Gov. Brown reaffirms abortion rights in Oregon
Gov. Kate Brown reaffirmed a woman's right to choose an abortion in Oregon even as a federal judge blocked part of Idaho's near-total ban from going into effect.
Brown joined U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and state Rep. Andrea Valderrama, D-Portland, at an event Thursday, Aug. 25, at an East Portland clinic operated by Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette. Its chief executive, and the executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, also were there.
"Oregon will always be a safe and welcoming place for all people seeking reproductive care, and for all people seeking an abortion.
"Oregon has joined Washington and California to form the West Coast Offense, to protect abortion access on the West Coast, protect people seeking an abortion in our states, and to protect providers from prosecution in other states for providing medical care. I'd like to thank the health care workers of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, who are on the front lines of providing patient care to everyone who comes through their doors."
Brown and the others spoke the morning after a U.S. district judge temporarily blocked Idaho's near-total ban from taking effect as scheduled Aug. 25. It was an early legal test of trigger laws passed in several states, including Idaho, set to take effect after the U.S. Supreme Court decided June 24 there is no federal constitutional right to an abortion. It reversed its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.
Idaho's ban could result in some of that state's residents to seek care in Oregon, though there are few services available on the Idaho-Oregon border.
Brown signed a 2017 law that guarantees access to abortion and other reproductive health services in private health insurance plans and for those who do not qualify for state-supported health care because of their immigration status. Oregon covers the procedure for low-income women, though the money has come primarily from state funds since a 1976 federal ban on funding most abortions.
Bonamici: Oppose trigger laws
U.S. Rep. Bonamici, who represents part of Portland, said:
"We will never stop fighting to protect, restore and expand access to abortion care.
"We must stand together in opposition to the recent attacks on reproductive rights, including the trigger law going into place in our neighboring state, Idaho. Here in Oregon we are committed to providing the care people need, whether they are Oregonians or traveling from nearby states. I am deeply grateful for the Planned Parenthood staff we met with today who are providing needed care, and to the many reproductive health care workers throughout our state."
State Rep. Valderrama, whose district includes part of East Portland, said:
"Reproductive justice is racial justice. This means if we aren't addressing health disparities that continue to impact Black and Brown communities, we aren't going far enough.
"While the right to abortion is protected under Oregon law and we've worked hard to expand access, we know that coverage and access gaps persist. That's why I support the Hillman Clinic and efforts to address and eliminate barriers in the 2023 session."
The clinic, which opened in June 2020, provides sexual and reproductive health care services to residents of East Multnomah County and elsewhere.
Planned Parenthood comments
Anne Udall, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, said this:
"Idaho's abortion ban is devastating and cruel, and it puts physicians in an impossible position: having to choose between upholding their oath, or risk criminalization and jail time.
"The chaos, confusion and devastation we are now seeing on the ground is exactly the environment politicians opposed to reproductive rights have worked for decades to create. Banning abortion does not stop people from needing abortions. It only puts more people's lives in danger.
"Here in Oregon and Southwest Washington, where our health centers are located, our doors are open and we will do what we can to connect people who come to us seeking abortions with the care they need — regardless of where they live."
An Do is executive director of the advocacy arm Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon.
"Anti-abortion politicians have been systematically stripping access to abortion one state at a time. Against the will of the American people, the Supreme Court handed away our bodily autonomy and removed the bulwark against politicians having free rein in our personal medical decisions," she said.
"I am proud to live in a state with leadership that believes abortion is health care and that health care is a human right.
"We are so grateful for the leadership of Governor Brown, Congresswoman Bonamici and Representative Valderrama for taking bold and necessary action in recent months to try to protect abortion access. We need everyone — at every level of government — to continue using every tool in their toolboxes to protect access to abortion."
The Hillman Center features an education and community space for events with community partners in East Portland; signage in four languages; a large waiting area for patients equipped with Wi-Fi; light that simulates the outdoors; an individually controlled sound system in each of the 12 exam rooms; and rooftop solar panels that will target 80% of the building's electricity.
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