Oregon has passed the nation’s most progressive abortion bill, requiring state insurers to provide free abortions for all, including illegal immigrants.
Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, signed the historic health bill Tuesday, after the Legislature approved it in July. It would require Oregon insurance companies to cover reproductive procedures, all on the taxpayers' dime.
The $10.2 million bill takes effect immediately, allocating $500,000 for abortions for the estimated 22,873 women eligible under the Oregon health plan, the Washington Times reported. This will include abortions for immigrants who are otherwise ineligible under the state’s Medicaid program.
Opponents argued that the bill will force people who morally object to abortions to assume some of the costs. They also predicted that lawsuits will quickly follow, arguing that the new law violates the Weldon Amendment, a 2004 congressional provision that prohibits Health and Human Services funds for states that discriminate against health care providers that refuse to cover abortions, the Washington Times further reported.
Providence Health Care, a nonprofit Catholic health care provider that is also the only insurer operating in Oregon that does not cover abortions, will have its expenses reimbursed by the state.
Two other states, California and New York, also require state insurers to cover abortion.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.