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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DIVERSE COALITION DEMANDS REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH EQUITY IN OREGON

PRO-CHOICE COALITION OF OREGON PRESS RELEASE
Portland, OR (Jan 18, 2017) Under landmark legislation, Oregon would become the first state in the nation to ensure reproductive health equity.

A broad coalition of racial and gender justice, reproductive rights and community groups from across the state have joined forces to introduce the Reproductive Health Equity Act (House Bill 2232). The coalition consists of American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Family Forward Oregon, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, Oregon Latino Health Coalition, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon and Western States Center.

Access to reproductive health care is critical for the health and economic security of all Oregonians, regardless of income, citizenship status, gender identity or type of insurance. Limitations on reproductive health services can have profoundly harmful effects on public health, particularly for those who already face significant barriers to receiving high-quality care. By ensuring that Oregonians have coverage for the full range of preventive reproductive health services at zero out-of-pocket cost and by filling gaps in reproductive health coverage for those categorically excluded from health programs due to citizenship status, the Reproductive Health Equity Act will remove financial barriers and ensure that every Oregonian is empowered to make decisions about whether and when to become a parent.

Zeenia Junkeer, Director of Equity and Community Engagement for NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, said: "Preventive services reduce healthcare costs and strengthen our communities and our economy. In order to have stronger health outcomes, Oregonians need quality medical care to prevent problems before they start."

Laurel Swerdlow, Advocacy Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, said: "We don't always know a person's circumstances; we're not in their shoes. That's why all Oregonians should have access to the full range of reproductive health care, starting with preventive care and continuing through postpartum care. This basic right is the foundation of freedom and opportunity for Oregonians and their families."

Linda Roman, Director of Health Policy and Government Relations for Oregon Latino Health Coalition, said: "All Oregonians - regardless of citizenship status - should have the freedom to decide if and when they have children based on what's best for them and their family's circumstances."

Amy Casso, Gender Justice Program Director for Western States Center, said: "Immigrants are our neighbors. They work hard, pay taxes and put their children through school, yet many Oregonians are categorically denied health coverage due to their citizenship status. No one should have to go bankrupt or deep into debt because they don't have affordable reproductive health care."

Kara Carmosino, Director of Programs and Strategy for Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, said: "Transgender and gender-nonconforming Oregonians need access to services often categorized as 'women's health care,' including gender-specific cancer screenings. Unfortunately, when coverage is dependent on one's gender marker, procedural barriers can hinder access to this necessary and lifesaving care."

Kimberly McCullough, Legislative Director for American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said: "We believe every Oregonian should have access to the full range of reproductive health care, starting with preventive care and continuing through postpartum care. This basic right is a foundation of freedom and opportunity for individuals and their families."

Andrea Paluso, Executive Director for Family Forward Oregon, said: "Working families are under so much strain today and often have a hard time making ends meet. Families in Oregon need support like paid time off from work to care for loved ones and access to affordable child care. It is also critical that they have access to affordable, essential reproductive health care, which this bill guarantees."



 
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