July 07, 2017
While Republicans hammer out their health care plan in D.C., Oregon has already decided what they'll include in theirs: "free" abortions. To the dismay of pro-lifers, Governor Kate Brown (D) announced yesterday that she plans to ink her name on one of the most radical bills in the country -- a measure forcing health insurers to offer no-cost abortions, not just to legal immigrants -- but to illegal ones too! The move, which comes as U.S. Senate leaders put the finishing touches on a federal plan that would end a mandate like Brown's, incensed local conservatives who are already living under the most extreme abortion policies in America.
"We don't need to do this," state Rep. Mike Nearman (R) said during a fiery floor debate. "This is Oregon. There [are] no legal restrictions on anyone's right to get an abortion. You can get an abortion at any time for any reason. Even sex selection." Like us, they aren't sure who the mandate is meant to please, since the majority of Americans (61 percent) don't want to be on the hook for abortion-on-demand. As most people will tell you: It's one thing to make abortion legal -- it's quite another to force Americans to pay for it.
Meanwhile, at least one group was thrilled by the news -- the organization that stands to profit most from it: Planned Parenthood. According to the Washington Times, Cecile Richards's group even helped write the bill, which, not-so-coincidentally, does wonders for their flailing business. To tamp down the criticism, Laurel Swerdlow, the group's local advocacy director, argued that free abortions are as American as apple pie. "Rights don't matter if you can't access them. Every Oregonian -- no matter where they live or how much money they make or who provides their health insurance -- deserves access to the health care they need."
There's just one problem: abortion isn't health care. And it certainly isn't a "right" guaranteed by our nation's Constitution. Unfortunately, Brown perpetuated the lie, telling reporters, "The ability to control our bodies and make informed decisions about health are critical to providing all Oregonians the opportunity to achieve our full potential and live productive, thriving lives. Attempts to deny access to contraceptives and family planning are an attack on all Oregonians, particularly women of color, low-income and young women."
In one of the more outrageous parts of the bill, a half-million dollars will flow to the 22,873 women who are eligible for Medicaid, despite living in the country illegally. Of course, that's nothing new for some liberals, who celebrated a similar taxpayer-funded gravy train when Obama was president. Until Congress stepped in, Immigration and Customs Enforcement was happily giving detainees more extensive "health care" than U.S. citizens! Now, it seems, Oregon wants to carry on the tradition of rewarding people who break the law.
Speaking of breaking the law, that's exactly what the state's bill appears to be doing, since it -- like the controversial California mandate -- orders employers to offer this abortion coverage over their moral objections! While the Left will point to the bill's flimsy religious exemption, even the media agrees the text is so narrowly written that it's hardly worth mentioning. That means, with very few exceptions, churches and other faith-based groups will be strong-armed into paying for plans that violate their deeply-held beliefs. This is exactly the sort of clash the Supreme Court sought to avoid in its rulings for Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Woods, and others.
If there's one thing both sides should agree on, it's neutrality in health care. That's what Americans want -- and it's what unborn children deserve. Sadly, Governor Brown and company don't believe in choice. Not really. If they did, they'd give Oregonians one in coverage.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.