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Western states coordinate more abortion resources for Idahoans

With almost all abortions outlawed in Idaho, states like Oregon, Washington, and California are working to create regional resources for those seeking care.

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho women who seek abortions will soon have to travel outside of the state.
The new abortion law is expected to take effect this summer, probably in August.
Idaho's new abortion law essentially outlaws all abortions in the state, there are exceptions in cases of rape or incest that have been reported to law enforcement as well as an exception for emergency medical care, to save the life of the mother.

Steps are being taken by advocacy groups in Idaho, like Planned Parenthood, to create resources so women can travel to other states if they need an abortion.

The State of Oregon is reaching across state lines to offer assistance to Idaho women who need abortions. Unlike Idaho, Oregon’s abortion laws remain the same after the Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs vs Jackson.

Back in March, in preparation for a possible change to the Roe v Wade precedent, Oregon lawmakers approved the Oregon Reproductive Health Equity Fund to “counter attacks on abortion access,” which includes Idaho. The $15 million fund is setup to do several things, including to help cover abortion costs as well as travel and lodging for those who need it, like Idahoans whose closest abortion provider is in Oregon.

Lawmakers like Oregon Representative Andrea Valderrama pushed for Oregon to dedicate millions for the fund. KTVB spoke with Valderrama Tuesday about the fund and resources Oregon is working on. So yes, Oregon tax dollars will go towards helping Idaho women seek abortion care.

“The intention behind this fund was to close the existing gaps that we currently have in our reproductive health care network. And so, whether that means that those are for Eastern Oregonians who currently don't have any infrastructure, whether that's for a resident in a neighboring state," Valderrama said. "We believe that everyone deserves this access and care and the opportunity to plan their family and to have access to abortion. And so, we took all of that in mind to put forward something that was meeting the needs of this of this community and really of this country in this moment."

Again, a major factor in the decision to create the fund, are people living in Eastern Oregon. The closest resource for abortion care was Boise and Meridian, Idaho. Planned Parenthood recently closed down their Boise office, merging it with the Meridian office. Planned Parenthood said they are working to open a clinic in Ontario, Oregon. But, until that is setup women in eastern Oregon could have to drive hundreds of miles to get care.

The Oregon legislature setup the $15 million dollar fund, that fund is now in the care of the 501 c(3) Seeding Justice. $1 million of that $15 million was pledged to Northwest Abortion Access Fund this past week. Rep. Valderrama has this advice for Idahoans looking to connect with the resources:

"Reach out to an organization that is most accessible to them. And so if they have relationships or if they're able to get a hold of someone at the Northwest Abortion Access Fund earlier, then that's great. If they're able to find someone at Planned Parenthood or through the justice fund, then that's great. I think we want folks to be able to ultimately get those resources in the fastest way possible," Valderrama said.

Also, of note in the western region, California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to what they are calling a multi-state commitment to reproductive freedom. Points of the commitment include:

  • Protect against judicial and local law enforcement cooperation with out of-state investigations, inquiries, and arrests regarding the provision of,
    receipt of, inquiry about, or assistance with obtaining abortion and other reproductive health care services that are legal in the states.
  • Refuse non-fugitive extradition of individuals for criminal prosecution for receiving legal reproductive healthcare services in the states.
  • Promote greater access to abortion care services, including by expanding access to medication abortion, removing barriers to telehealth for reproductive healthcare services, and growing the pool of qualified practitioners who may provide abortion and other reproductive healthcare services.
  •  Defend against false and misleading reproductive healthcare information.

In Idaho, abortion remains legal pending installment of the trigger law. That is expected to take place in August.

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