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What Supreme Court ruling on birth control means in Oregon

Oregon is one of 26 states that have passed laws to provide protection of contraceptive coverage, like the Reproductive Health Equity Act which was passed back in 2017.

Posted: Jul 9, 2020 6:43 PM

EUGENE, Ore. --- On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that allows President Donald Trump to weaken the Obamacare contraceptive mandate. 

RELATED: COURT: SOME EMPLOYERS CAN REFUSE TO OFFER FREE BIRTH CONTROL

Under the new ruling, employers and universities will be able to decide if their health insurance plans cover birth control -- something that was free for more than 62 million women under the Affordable Care Act. But now, there will be expanded exemptions for employers who have religious or moral objections to the mandate. 

Oregon is one of 26 states that have passed laws to provide protection of contraceptive coverage, like the Reproductive Health Equity Act which was passed back in 2017.

"In Oregon we have a state governor and legislator that has gone to bat for access to reproductive health care and it’s guaranteed to folks regardless of income, race, identity, immigration status," President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon Lisa Gardner said.

The Reproductive Health Equity Act requires health plans regulated by the state to continue covering birth control at no out-of-pocket cost, regardless what happens at the federal level. However, the law doesn’t apply to federal health plans or self-funded plans.

Gov. Kate Brown fired back at the 7-2 ruling, saying in part, “the consequences of not upholding the Affordable Care Act in this case and others have grave consequences for millions who rely on it for necessary preventive and non-preventive health care and coverage.”

KEZI 9 News talked to people on both sides of the issue.

“Just to know if you are employed, which a lot of people aren't right now, which is really hard. But having your insurance is one of the huge benefits of being employed and the reliability of that,” Eugene resident Olivia Faith said.

However, others argue that employers should be able to decide how their employees can and cannot use their health insurance based on whatever personal beliefs they hold.

"We are pleased with the decision by the Court to not limit the ministerial exception to title or what would be assumed as formal religious training, but rather to appropriately allow for religious institutions to define employee purpose by the role an individual serves in the exercise of the mission of religious education," Bushnell University President Joseph Womack said.

One KEZI 9 News viewer wrote in a Facebook comment, “You're an adult. You can pay for your own birth control."

Another wrote, “Anyone who has a problem with a company not offering birth control can choose to not work there or not do business with them. It’s a free country folks, no need to get bent out of shape.”

Regardless which side you fall on, the government estimates that this rule change would cause between 70,000 and 126,000 women to lose contraception coverage in one year.

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