Abortion in Oregon remains legal and safe. That’s the top-line message from the ACLU of Oregon, Planned Parenthood, and the state’s top public health officials in response to Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court striking down the abortion protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.
“If you have an appointment, keep it,” said An Do, executive director of Planned Parenthood.
Oregon Right to Life, meanwhile, called the ruling an opportunity to support those facing an unsupported pregnancy.
“We’re committed to what we’ve been doing, what we’ve been doing is helping people see and understand the humanity of an unborn child,” said Lois Anderson, executive director of Oregon Right to Life.
A law passed in 2017, the Reproductive Health Equity Act, guarantees the right to an abortion in Oregon.
According to Oregon Health Authority, the state’s public health agency, this includes a legal right for anyone who travels to Oregon for an abortion, not just Oregon residents.
“The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade does not change the fact that people in Oregon are guaranteed the right to receive abortion services, which remain legal in this state,” Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen said in a statement.
In a press conference, advocates for abortion rights framed the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson as an attack on the bodily autonomy and fundamental equality of people who can get pregnant.
“They have failed this country,” Do said. “The court is stealing our power to control our bodies, our lives, and our personal medical decisions and handing that over to politicians.”
The groups said that for privileged people in the United States, having an abortion will become less convenient. Less privileged people may be forced to self-manage abortions or bear children against their will.
The decision will most affect people of color, low-income and rural communities, young people, immigrants, disabled people, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Abortion-rights advocacy groups announced a range of plans for a political response, including rallies planned at 5 p.m. Friday in Portland and Eugene, and a fundraising effort. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU asked people not to show up at health clinics, saying it does not help people seeking abortions.
Seeding Justice, the nonprofit organization that is the intermediary for a $15 million Reproductive Health Equity Fund created by Democrats in the state Legislature, said it is opening the fund to foundations and private donations.
It will make its first grant award, of $1 million, to the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, a grassroots, volunteer-led group that pays for abortions and travel costs for people in Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Idaho.
Board member Megan Kovacs said the group supports people who face a wide range of barriers to getting an abortion, from living far away from a clinic to being incarcerated.
“Access is not access if you cannot afford it or you cannot get to your appointment. That is what the Northwest Abortion Access Fund is for,” Kovacs said.
The advocacy groups noted that Oregon’s pro-abortion-rights policies could change with a change in elected leaders.
Abortion opponents say they have more work to do
Opponents of abortion rights celebrated the news and said they have more work to do to protect life
Anderson, of Oregon Right to Life, said Roe v. Wade was a decision she had dedicated her adult life to overturning, shoulder-to-shoulder with many Oregonians.
”This is a day that I honestly wasn’t sure I would see, but I certainly am grateful that I get to be here for this,” she said. “I think very simply the constitution of the United States does not have a right to abortion within its purview.”
Anderson said her movement will continue its local efforts to elect political candidates who oppose abortion and to push for a ban on abortions later in pregnancy.
Oregon Right to Life will be tracking how Seeding Justice spends the $15 million it received from the state to launch the Reproductive Health Equity Fund and will make an effort to block future contributions to the fund by the state Legislature.
”I don’t think we should be spending our tax dollars on helping people come here from out of state, to do any kind of medical procedure, much less one as controversial as abortion,” Anderson said.
We acknowledge that while some are celebrating, it’s a complicated and emotional issue for others. There are over 2,700 pregnancy resource centers in the U.S., and a robust network in Oregon. You are strong. You are brave. You can do this. https://t.co/iicyzRvLzn #LoveThemBoth— Oregon Right to Life (@OR_RTL) June 24, 2022
“Pro-lifers, take this opportunity & step up in your community,” Oregon Right to Life posted in a Tweet. “Find your local family resources. Engage your clubs, churches, and local governments in helping women facing unsupported pregnancies. But most of all, be kind. This is the voice of the pro-life movement.”