Advocates react as Oregon unveils abortion-information website

The state of Oregon unveiled an abortion-information website on Tuesday, March 27, drawing reactions from activists on both sides of the divisive topic.

The timing wasn’t lost on anybody: the Oregon Health Authority’s Reproductive Health Program launched the new website — which is designed to make it easier for people to seek abortion care information and services in Oregon — on the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that seeks to limit access to mifepristone, a medication used in more than 60 percent of U.S. abortions.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, mifepristone blocks a hormone called progesterone, which is needed for a pregnancy to continue. Mifepristone, when used with another medicine called misoprostol, is used to end a pregnancy through 10 weeks’ gestation.

The launch of the new site drew criticism from Oregon Right to Life, an organization that long has opposed abortion. “The ‘abortion access’ website is a political statement thinly disguised as health care information,” said Lois Anderson, director of Oregon Right to Life. “Pro-life Oregon residents, medical providers and others who may hold differing views on this issue are essentially erased from the conversation.”

In a press release, her organization said the state’s new site suggests that pro-life pregnancy clinics and resource centers, are “fake clinics” because they do not provide abortions.

“Oregon Health Authority should be prioritizing patient protection, not the profits of the abortion industry,” Anderson said. “As the U.S. Supreme Court (Tuesday) considers restoring crucial guardrails on chemical abortion drugs, our state should be focused on creating more protections for pregnant women and the unborn — not marketing abortion.”

Multiple media reports indicated high court justices were skeptical of the arguments brought by the anti-abortion attorneys, calling for limiting access to mifepristone.

Samantha Gladu, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, took the opposite position. “Clear, transparent information from a trusted source like Oregon Health Authority will help people know exactly what their rights are and where they can access care,” Gladu told the Pamplin Media Group. “OHA’s resource is crucial to navigating the available resources that can be confusing and complicated due to changes in policy in states all over the country as well as disinformation spread by anti-abortion activists.”

The site includes web pages and links with current information about accessing abortion services in Oregon, including information about abortions; legal rights and privacy; where to get an abortion; ways to pay for reproductive health care; and the Abortion Access Plan, the Health Authority’s program to cover abortion services for people who have health insurance through Providence, or whose religious employers provide insurance that does not cover abortion.

One link on the site includes “abortion support,” include resources for travel and other related benefits, as well as resources related to emotional support before, during and after an abortion.

Gov. Tina Kotek praised the Health Authority. “The new Abortion Access in Oregon website helps us reaffirm to people in Oregon that abortion remains legal and protected in our state, and that anyone who comes to our state for an abortion, regardless of immigration status, has the legal and protected right to that abortion service, not just Oregon residents,” Kotek said.

The federal Food and Drug Administration initially approved mifepristone with some conditions on who and how it can be dispensed in 2000.

In 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturned decades of federal protection for abortion rights as outlined in the 1973 case, Roe v. Wade.

0
0

Recent Blogs