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Oregon governor signs bill expanding coverage of abortions and birth control

[JURIST] Oregon Governor Kate Brown [official website] signed a bill [text, PDF] into law on Tuesday that expands access to abortions and birth control. The bill prohibits health benefit plans from imposing a deductible, coinsurance, copayment or any other cost sharing requirements on services such as abortions or birth control. Additionally, the bill allows state funds to be used to provide reproductive healthcare to non-citizens who are not eligible for Medicaid. There is an exception that allows employers to exclude coverage for abortions or contraceptives that are contrary to their religious beliefs. However, the employer must notify all of their employees in writing of all of the procedures that are not covered due to their religious objections. The provisions included in the bill were set to take effect immediately upon its passage.

Abortion and contraception access remain controversial issues. In June the Delaware Legislature approved [JURIST report] a bill that guarantees access to abortions. On the same day Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a series of abortion regulations into law [JURIST report]. In May President Donald Trump's administration announced [JURIST report] plans to expand the so-called Mexico City Policy blocking international family planning assistance through the US Agency for International Development to any groups or programs that provide abortion or abortion education to women. Also in May Trump signed [JURIST report] a bill into law that scales back an Obama administration regulation that protected certain federal funds for organizations that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood. In February the US House of Representatives approved a bill [JURIST report] that would overturn the Obama administration's rule prohibiting states from denying federal funding to Planned Parenthood and passed a bill [JURIST op-ed] that makes permanent restrictions on federal funding abortion. That same month the Florida Supreme Court blocked [JURIST report] enforcement of the Mandatory Delay Law, which requires that a woman wait 24 hours after receiving counseling from a physician before she can have an abortion. Also in February the Pennsylvania Senate approved SB 3 [JURIST report], putting Pennsylvania in line to become the seventeenth state to pass a bill banning abortions in a span of 20 weeks.

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