The leaked majority opinion draft from the US Supreme Court, indicating the court will overturn the abortion rights enshrined in 1973's Roe v. Wade, has Oregonians on the defensive.
As the late Monday news spread, politicians, advocacy groups, and other leaders pledged their commitment to keeping Oregon a state that protects the individual right to an abortion, regardless of the federal ruling.
"Like many of you, I am outraged reading the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion," said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in a press statement. "The immediate impact of this ruling, if adopted, means each state gets to decide whether to ban abortion, or not. That is absurd and dangerous."
"Let me be clear," she continued, "abortion is still legal here in Oregon, and our borders are open."
Oregon codified its own version of Roe v. Wade in 2017 with the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which expanded free reproductive health coverage to all Oregonians, regardless of immigration status.
These protections have made Oregon a destination for residents in states that have outlawed most abortions in recent months, including Texas and Idaho. In a press conference, representatives of Oregon's Planned Parenthood chapters reminded reporters that it's completely safe and legal for out-of-state residents to seek abortion procedure in Oregon.
"No matter what happens, we’ll be here for our out-of-town neighbors," said Anne Udall, president of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette. "We’ll continue to fight for bold solutions, where abortion is available and affordable for everyone who needs it."
One of those solutions is providing tele-health appointments to out-of-state and rural residents seeking a medical abortion, which can be administered with a pill. While it may be illegal to mail this medication to people living in states where abortion becomes banned, Udall said that anyone with an Oregon address can receive the pill in the mail. The address can be temporary. In April, following the news of Idaho's strict abortion restriction law, Planned Parenthood announced plans to open a clinic in Ontario, an Oregon town close to the Idaho border.
According to Udall, more than half of Americans of reproductive age will likely be blocked from abortion in their state if Roe is in fact overturned in the coming months. And, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research organization, that would mean Oregon would see an estimated 240 percent increase in abortion demand.
Udall said that her organization has been working for more than a year to prepare for this potential ruling.
"The leaked draft didn’t do anything but reaffirm what we thought was coming," she said. "Planned Parenthood is built for this fight."
Local elected officials took the Monday news as a call to action at the federal level. In a joint statement, all five members of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners urged Congress to "act quickly to codify Roe v. Wade."
"At the very least, we ask Congress to enact a law to protect patients, their healthcare providers, and other supports for traveling out-of-state to access an abortion," commissioners wrote.
All six Democratic members of Oregon's congressional delegation expressed their intent to codify abortion care at the national level.
"This is going to be the fight of our lives," said Sen. Ron Wyden, in a press statement, "and we must use every tool at our disposal to stop this attack on constitutionally guaranteed rights."
Portlanders plan on gathering to protest the draft opinion Tuesday evening, both at PSU and outside downtown Portland's Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse.