Do you remember Senate Bill 894? During the 2015 Legislative Session, Oregon legislators introduced this bill which would have forced churches to pay for abortions in their insurance plans. With the help of pro-life activists across the state, Oregon Right to Life was able to defeat this terrible bill. Unfortunately, a variation of this legislation is back this year in House Bill 2232.
HB 2232 forces all insurance companies who sell plans in Oregon to provide for abortions, with no guaranteed ability for them to opt-out for religious reasons. This means that even churches would be forced to buy insurance plans from companies that pay for abortions! While there is a so-called religious exemption within the bill, it does not require insurance options that do not cover abortions.
Currently, almost 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 that only religious organizations could purchase.
Here are some examples of what would happen if this bill passed, to help make things clear: if someone wanted to start a pro-life insurance company that did not cover abortions on any plan, they would not be allowed to. Also, Oregon Right to Life, a non-religious organization would not be able to purchase a plan for our employees that did not cover abortions.
The bill is being promoted under the banner of improving access to contraceptives, but the truth is that insurance companies are already required to cover contraception under Oregon Law. Again, insurance companies are currently not required to cover abortion, which is what this bill would accomplish. Oregon Right to Life of course, is opposed to abortion, which always takes the life of an innocent unborn child. Because HB 2232 would force all insurance companies in Oregon to pay for abortion, leaving no options for business people of conscious to select an abortion-free plan, ORTL is opposed to this bill.
The 2017 Oregon Legislative Session convenes February 1st. To ask your State Representative to oppose HB 2232, please click here!