PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A bill that would expand gender-affirming health care and reproductive rights just passed the Oregon House with a 36-23 vote, and will soon head to the Senate floor.
On Monday, May 1, Oregon lawmakers spent hours discussing House Bill 2002. Among other rights, the measure would allow minors of any age to have an abortion without parental consent, and include more gender-affirming procedures in insurance coverage. This includes facial feminization surgery and hair removal treatments.
HB 2002 would also implement a fine of up to $6,250 and a prison sentence of up to 364 days for anyone who interferes with health care facilities.
The bill’s chief sponsors are Rep. Andrea Valderrama, Rep. Travis Nelson, Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber and Sen. Elizabeth Steiner.
While expressing his support for the bill on Monday, regular sponsor Rep. Rob Nosse said that HB 2002 furthers the state’s goal of establishing an equitable healthcare system by stopping legislators from blocking personal medical decisions.
“When the United States Supreme Court Dobbs decision of last summer overturned Roe W. Wade, a series of basic rights in our country came into question that had decades of precedent behind them,” Rep. Nosse continued. “And while other states are passing anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ legislation, here in Oregon we’re clarifying with House Bill 2002A that you should have access to the health care that you need.”
Rep. Lucetta Elmer, an adoptee, was one of the 23 lawmakers who opposed the measure. According to the representative, the state of Oregon has chosen to emphasize abortion rather than providing pregnant people with alternative options.
“The culture we are introducing on our college campuses is not just contraception for all, not just health care for all, but a direct endorsement of not life — but instead death,” she said. “It is disturbing to me that there is no room for life-sustaining treatment or care to be expanded when we are already the least restrictive state in the country when it comes to abortion.”
Groups like Unite Oregon Now are opposing the bill, saying that it worsens parent-child relationships and gives the government too much say in what’s best for a child.
Other Oregon-based organizations are pushing for the bill.
Fair Shot for All has encouraged the community to write thank-you notes to the lawmakers who helped pass HB 2002, while the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon wants residents to write letters to the Republican Senators who staged a walkout ahead of the bill’s next hearing.
The Oregon State Senate floor session was scheduled for Thursday, May 4.