Lawmakers approve abortion bill
SALEM — Insurance companies in Oregon would be required to cover abortions and other reproductive services at no cost to the patient regardless of income, citizenship status or gender identity under a measure approved Wednesday by lawmakers.
Oregon already has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the U.S., leaving out otherwise common requirements for waiting periods or spending limits on taxpayer funds.
The measure, which does offer some religious-based exemptions, comes as the federal government and other states are seeking restrictions on abortion services.
President Donald Trump earlier this year signed legislation allowing states to withhold federal family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. In May, the Texas Legislature approved a sweeping package of new abortion limits.
Oregon's legislation has been in the making for years but was introduced in early March largely in response to Republican congressional leaders' earliest attempts to repeal former President Barack Obama's health care law, which includes minimum coverage requirements for birth control and other reproductive services.
The Democratic-controlled Oregon Senate approved the measure in a 17-13 vote along party lines. It now heads to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.
The bill would also allocate almost $500,000 over the next two years to expand cost-free reproductive health coverage, including abortions, to immigrants who are otherwise ineligible for Medicaid.