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The anti-abortion folks backing Measure 106 want voters to believe this is a measure that will simply let Oregonians decide where their tax dollars are headed. It’s not. Measure 106 is a thinly-veiled ban on abortion for state employees and low-income Oregonians.
Let’s break it down: Measure 106 would prohibit public funding from covering the cost of an abortion. That means women enrolled in Oregon’s Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), and public employees signed up for health insurance would immediately lose abortion coverage. All told, the measure would impact more than 300,000 women.
Proponents argue that pulling public funding isn’t the same as a formal ban on abortion. But forcing low-income Oregon women to pay out of pocket for an abortion—ranging anywhere from $300 to $3,000—is simply a sneakier, crueler way to keep the legal option out of reach. During the Mercury’s endorsement interview, Yes on 106 campaign spokesperson Nichole Bentz told us the campaign “hadn’t considered” the impact it would have on low-income women.
Measure 106 is a thinly-veiled ban on abortion for state employees and low-income Oregonians.
Unfortunately, dozens of other states have given us a preview of how Measure 106 could impact Oregon women. In the 33 states that have adopted the federal model of banning public dollars from covering abortion costs, women are going into debt to pay for the procedure, delaying important healthcare, missing work to drive to out-of-state clinics, undergoing dangerous illegal abortions, or going through with a pregnancy they know they’re not ready for.
To be clear: Getting an abortion is never, never an easy decision. It isn’t a fun decision. It isn’t a decision that comes without consequences and long-term trauma. But it is a decision. And since 1973, women in the US have been granted the freedom to make this extremely personal decision about their bodies, lives, and futures without explanation or apology. Measure 106 will take that freedom away from Oregon women.
Oregon is the only state in the nation without laws restricting a woman’s access to safe and legal abortion. Meanwhile, Oregon has continued to push for policies that expand reproductive health coverage, like the 2017 Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), laying the groundwork for other state-level legislation across the country. States look to Oregon to lead the way to a future where women’s health care is as unregulated as men’s. With a conservative-learning US Supreme Court presenting a new threat to federal abortion policies, we need to hold tight to the few protections our state can offer women of all income levels. Vote no on Measure 106.