Abortion Rights Supporters See Hope in Oregon’s Hospital Merger Law

An interesting law may further protect abortion access in the state. Oregon’s strict law regulating health care mergers may keep religiously affiliated health systems that do not provide abortion care from expanding. Similar to some other states, Oregon also has the Reproductive Health Equity Act of 2017. It protects the right to abortion and seeks to ensure abortion, family planning and postpartum care are available to all Oregonians.

Oregon’s toughest-in-the-nation law regulating health-care mergers that went into effect this year gives state officials the authority to deny significant health-care industry consolidations that would result in higher prices, less competition or restricted access.

This tool is found nowhere else. Oregon lawmakers who sponsored and supported the merger law, House Bill 2362, said that the Oregon law is even more important now that the Supreme Court ruling has spawned a state-by-state fight over abortion rights and access.

The law is intended to, among other things, protect access to abortion and other reproductive health services such as by restricting the expansion of religious-based providers.

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling striking down Roe v. Wade, lawmakers in Washington state are renewing their efforts to follow Oregon’s lead and pass a similar law. Experts say that millions of people are now being forced to travel hundreds if not thousands of miles to access abortion.