CGN state of Oregon

Differences between majority Democrats and minority Republicans have come to the surface as the Oregon House moves to a vote on legislation that builds on Oregon’s 2017 law ensuring access to abortion and other reproductive and gender-affirming health care.

Every Democrat on the joint budget committee voted Thursday to send House Bill 2002 for a vote of the full House — and every Republican, including its leaders in both chambers, voted against it.

The bill emerged from a work group convened last year by House Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, before the U.S. Supreme Court officially overturned abortion as a federal constitutional right granted by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and returned the issue to states. But Rayfield did so after a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito leaked.

Oregon lawmakers removed criminal penalties for abortion in 1969 — four years before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion — and voters rejected six ballot initiatives between 1978 and 2018 to restrict abortion or ban public funding. Oregon began public funding of abortions in 1977, the year after Congress put most abortions off-limits for federal funds.

House Majority Whip Andrea Valderrama, a Democrat from East Portland, will be the floor manager for HB 2002 when it comes up for a vote in late April or early May. She also sits on the budget committee. Though Republican lawmakers and governors in other states have moved to restrict or ban abortions, Democratic lawmakers have gone the other way — and Valderrama said that is because Oregonians have weighed in.

“Time and time again, Oregonians have made this a priority on our ballots, in emails and phone calls,” Valderrama said after the committee vote. The bill would create a new crime of interference with a health care facility, set maximum penalties of 364 days in jail — one day short of a felony qualifying for state prison — and a fine of $6,250, and empower individuals to go to court to enforce their rights under the law.