SALEM — Although pro-life activiists defeated a similar bill two years ago at the State Capitol, new legislation is described as forcing Oregon churches to pay for abortions in their insurance plans, if passed.
Oregon Right to Life is calling for the state’s pro-life community to vigorously oppose House Bill 2232.
According to Gayle Atteberry, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, HB 2232 would force all insurance companies who sell plans in Oregon to provide for abortions, with no guaranteed ability for them to opt-out for religious reasons.
Atteberry said this means that even churches would be forced to buy insurance plans from companies that pay for abortions. While there is what Oregon Right to Life describes as a “so-called religious exemption” within the bill, it does not require insurance options that do not cover abortions, she said.
Currently, all insurance companies in Oregon offer plans that cover abortions, but that is not a requirement under law. If passed, HB 2232 would force all health insurance companies to cover abortions and leave it up to them whether to provide a separate abortion-free plan only religious organizations could purchase, according to Atteberry.
She said that if the bill passed, for example, if someone wanted to start a pro-life insurance company that did not cover abortion on any plan, they would be prohibited. Also, Oregon Right to Life itself — which is formally a non-religious organization even though it has always found its strongest support within the Christian community — would not be able to purchase a plan for its employees that did not cover abortions.
According to ORTL, the bill is being promoted under the banner of improving access to contraceptives, but ORTL contends that insurance companies are already required to cover contraception under Oregon law. But the new legislation would require insurance companies to cover abortion, leaving no options for business people to select an abortion-free plan.
The 2017 Oregon legislative session convenes Feb. 1. Oregon Right to Life is asking concerned Oregon residents to contact their state representatives and express their opposition to HB 2232. For full information, phone 503-463-8563 or go to ortl.org