Abortion

'Free' Abortions for Everyone in Oregon

Anchoring abortion access to the insurance market won't make it more affordable. But it will result in a lot of legal drama...

|

The Washington Times/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

A measure on its way to Gov. Kate Brown requiring health-insurance plans to include "free" coverage for elective abortions and an array of other pregnancy-related services for all insured, regardless of their gender identity, is certain to reverberate far beyond the state of Oregon.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Julie Fahey (D-West Eugene), is a response to Republican shenanigans in Washington, which could soon end Obamacare's provision that health insurers cover a list of preventative services with no deductibles or co-pays.

Fahey's measure would ensure that many of these services—such as cervical and breast cancer screenings and birth control—remain mandatory benefits under Oregon insurance plans and add abortion and vasectomies to the list.

It would also set up a fund for covering abortion procedures for undocumented immigrant women, who are not eligible for state-funded health coverage otherwise.

"In some states such as New York, abortions are cost-free if they're deemed medically necessary," ABC News reports. "The Oregon bill is unique, however, in that patients would have access to the procedure for virtually any reason, at any time."

The Hill called the bill "a rare bright spot for abortion rights advocates at a time when opponents have advanced restrictions in other states."

I disagree.

The goal of the reproductive-freedom movement is ensuring safe, widespread access to things like contraception, abortion, and maternity care. And, in theory, the Oregon measure does that. But it does so by acting on the same authoritarian impulses abortion foes are so fond of, guaranteeing inevitable and lengthy legal battles from folks who feel their conscience rights are being abridged.

The bill contains some exemptions for churches and religious non-profits as required by federal law. Insurance companies with religious objections can also apply for a waiver. But the category of people who oppose abortion for religious reasons extends far beyond religious institutions and insurance-company execs.

As with Hobby Lobby and the Obamacare contraception mandate, there will certainly be owners of private, for-profit companies who object to providing employee health-care coverage that funds something they find morally abhorrent.

I don't find abortion morally abhorrent. I share in the liberal fight to not just keep abortion legal and clinics open but also to ensure that anyone who needs to terminate a pregnancy can afford to do so. But we have got to get beyond this idea that securing this access must involve mandates and government funding. Inevitably, such requirements will interfere with civil liberties, stymie innovation that could bring better and cheapter care to more people, and drive up the cost of care for everyone.

If we are securing abortion access even for those who can't afford it, why not go at it directly, instead of through sixteen layers of bureacracy? Making every health-care plan include abortion coverage doesn't just rile religious objectors and raise insurance costs (which will be passed on to plan recipients indirectly), it ignores some of the most vulnerable populations.

Not only undocumented immigrants who may lack health insurance coverage altogether. Homeless women, women fleeing violent partners, teen runaways, drug addicts, and others who are unlikely to be insured are also likely to be targets of sexual violence and to have unintended pregnancies. How is a health-insurance mandate going to help them?

Abortion providers will no longer have an incentive to keep costs as low as possible or find innovative models for care because they can count on insurance reimbursement and don't need to deal directly with patients about the expense.

Rather than requiring one-size-fits-all insurance plans, we'd do better to look to places like Carafem, which opened in the D.C.-area in 2015 and offers first-trimester, pill-induced abortions, along with other gynecological and sexual-health services.

The company advertises directly to patients via ads on the Metro and in other high-visibility spaces, and its website is up front about all costs—which are similar to those at Planned Parenthood. Without vast amounts of government funding, Carafem manages to provide the same services at the same prices and avoid the attention of anti-abortion protesters.

Harnessing the twin engines of the market and charitable groups devoted to helping low-income, uninsured, and undocumented patients could do a world more for abortion services than the government imposing "access" on the insurance industry.

NEXT: Trump Speaks in Poland, Federal Ethics Chief Resigns, States Sue DeVos over For-Profit College Loans: P.M. Links

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “In some states such as New York, abortions are cost-free if they’re deemed medically necessary,” ABC News reports.

    Other than plastic surgery, what kind of medical procedures aren’t necessary?

    1. In most cases, abortion could be considered unnecessary. Medically speaking.

      There are a lot of knee or hip replacement surgeries that are arguably not necessary– ie, the patient is not in any imminent danger if the operation doesn’t take place, but may not be able to job any more or be as active as they’d like.

    2. I recently had a burst appendix and almost died. They drained the poison out of me, and then said its my choice if I actually want to get the ruined remains of my appendix actually removed from me.

      So I guess, appendectomies sometimes.

      1. When i had my burst appendix removed c.1989 the procedures went the other way around.

        1. What a time to be alive.

      2. Mine was in 1995. Peritonitis hurts like hell.

  2. Tiny American flags for others?

    1. Don’t blame me.

      1. set grid coordinates for…Bob Dole.

  3. Without vast amounts of government funding, Carafem manages to provide the same services at the same prices and avoid the attention of anti-abortion protesters.

    Sounds pretty racist. Or fascist. Maybe both.

  4. A measure on its way to Gov. Kate Brown requiring health-insurance plans to include “free” coverage for elective abortions and an array of other pregnancy-related services for all insured, regardless of their gender identity, is certain to reverberate well beyond the state of Oregon.

    I read this twice. Even so I could not but understand it.

    1. Elizabeth may have never diagrammed a sentence.

      1. Nice.

    2. I read it as a man who identifies as a woman should be able to get their birth control and abortions for free through their insurance. And people outside of Oregon are going to applaud it, and say that everyone should be able to get an abortion always every time. Or something like that.

      Doesn’t really have anything to do with me, as long as I have a say in the abortion if it’s my kid. Oh, what’s that? I don’t? Well, can I at least get out of paying for her choice? No?

      Super. Heads she wins; tails I lose.

      1. Oh, and recall forced sterilizations here in the United States at the beheast of the government? ‘Three generations of imbeciles is enough’?

        Ah, the good ol’ days are a’ comin’ back again!

    3. I took it to mean that if you’re a man LARPing as a woman, you must be given free abortions and “other pregnancy related services” the first time I read it. And if you’re a woman LARPing as a man, you’ll be denied it…

      But upon closer inspection, it I think that ENB means “everyone must receive free abortion / pregnancy related services regardless of their gender”.

      1. I think that ENB means “everyone must receive free abortion / pregnancy related services regardless of their gender”.

        You do realize that ENB was reporting the details of the bill, right?

        1. You do realize I was paraphrasing ENB for clarity on the bill right? The nomenclature is so awful that it is confusing if you aren’t some mentally handicapped land-whale Tumblr-ette.

  5. It would also set up a fund for covering abortion procedures for undocumented immigrant women, who are not eligible for state-funded health coverage otherwise.

    If I was a Trump supporter, my head would explode on this one.

    1. abortions for immigants < or > less anchor babies?

      it’s like the “put the donkey between 2 identical bales of hay” game

    2. Hmm…or would it bring a smile to your face when you realize that the anchor baby can be disappeared?

      Not that a catholic woman from Mexico, who is counting on that baby to keep her in the country, would be likely to do anything remotely like this. Set up a fund if you like, it’ll just be a slush fund for their legislature I’d wager.

      1. If it makes you feel better, my one friend’s mom went BACK to Mexico to give birth to him. So even though his parents lived in the US on a green-card he had to go through the full naturalization process.

        1. Doesn’t make me feel good or bad, really. The above was not serious.

    3. I’m not a Trump supporter, but still think it sucks ass. Glad I don’t live in Oregonistan. “Don’t worry, we still have PLENTY of other people’s money to spend on the freeloading women of the world.”

      I wonder which is cheaper? An abortion, or the per-head cost of packing a C-130 full of illegal preggos, flying to their shitholes of origin, and dumping them out. I’m guessing you could probably ship-and-dump for cheaper than $1K each, which is a ballpark average abortion cost.

  6. of other pregnancy-related services for all insured, regardless of their gender identity

    I read this sentence like… six times.

    If someone needs pregnancy services (prenatal care, abortion services), they need pregnancy services, why do we care what their gender identity is?

    Doctor: It appears you’re already about two months along… Mrs… *looks at chart notes*
    Patient: I prefer Mr.
    Doctor: Oh, I guess I can ignore the ultrasound then!

    1. The point appears to be that you’ll be forced to purchase health insurance with premiums that include “free” pregnancy care even if it is physically impossible for you to become pregnant.

      1. Eh well, I guess that’s nothing new. Reason has already covered the octogenarians having to pay for pediatric dentistry coverage. it is what it is, I guess.

      2. And this differs from the ACA how?

        Oh, right. It doesn’t.

  7. I think if I was a Bezos/Zuckerberg level rich person instead of a traditional charity I would found a nation-wide free abortion service. That would be one huge wrench removed from the political gears in this country, AND would massively reduce the number of welfare recipients. Everyone would be happy! (except for the religious right, but fuck them)

    1. You monster.

    2. Yes, because killing the undesirables and justifying it based on cost, has been a winning strategy throughout history.

      1. Lebensunwertes Leben, Kamerad.

  8. “Free Abortions For Everyone” was my nickname in college.

    1. I thought it was ‘Regardless of Gender Identity’.

  9. Rather than requiring one-size-fits-all insurance plans

    Hey Congress, this should be how you begin every discussion on health care.

    1. I thought it should be “what just happened, and why are we here?”

      1. That wasn’t in the article, Paul!

        1. They’re ruining the libertarian moment!

  10. The police are happy to perform 90th trimester abortions

    1. effective canine life-removal tactics as well.

  11. I’m going to do my part to push Oregon towards bankruptcy by getting dozens of abortions every day.

      1. I won’t let any of god’s mistakes stop me from reaching my goals.

  12. And Oregon will be shocked, shocked, to find no insurers selling in the state.
    At least no men buying.

    1. Also, which is more “medically necessary” on a regular basis, abortions or eating?!?!

      MeThinks food is obviously, totally “medically necessary”, and so, should be covered 100%, NO deductibles!!!

      I wonder what will happen to insurance prices after this obviously-needed change?

  13. Nothing is more ‘libertarian’ than digging into people’s pockets to pay for abortions!

  14. I found a great site that focuses on stay at home mom’s complete guide to gaining a serious amount of money in very little time. While being able to earn an passive income staying home with your kids. If you are someone who needs more money and has some spare time, this site is perfect for you. Take a look at…

    follow this link?..????????????

    Trump”s New Opprunuties See Here

  15. Stop feeding the troll, people.

  16. How long will White Indian stay this time?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.