Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) signed a bill on Wednesday that will strengthen protections for women’s reproductive health. The new law, effective on January 1, 2008 requires private health insurers to cover birth control prescriptions and also requires hospitals to provide sexual assault survivors with emergency contraceptives.
The bill was introduced to the Oregon legislature in the early 1990s, but Republicans have blocked its passage in the House since then. The Democrats gained control of the House in November 2006 and, with a majority in the Senate, recently passed the legislation.
“This fight is fundamentally about women being able to make the best health care decisions for themselves and their families,” Governor Kulongoski said at the signing ceremony. “Today, with the signing of this bill into law, we continue our ongoing work to expand personal freedom and offer women full equality in our society.”
This bill comes during a time when birth control prices at college health clinics and clinics serving low-income women across the US are skyrocketing due to a change in the Medicaid rules under the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 that is just going into effect.