Reproductive Freedom

“Few decisions are more personal and intimate, more properly private, or more basic to individual dignity and autonomy, than a woman's decision . . . whether to end her pregnancy. A woman's right to make that choice freely is fundamental.”
— U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun,
Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, 1986


Decisions about contraception, marriage, and child-rearing are among the most intimate and important decisions a woman will ever make. Since its inception in 1920, the ACLU has recognized that personal privacy and reproductive freedoms are among our most important constitutional liberties. The ACLU was the first national organization to argue for abortion rights in the U.S. Supreme Court, and has been the principal defender of those rights since 1973, when the Court recognized the right to choose in Roe v. Wade.

Every person should be able to make informed, meaningful decisions about reproduction free from intrusion by the government. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, we aim to protect access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care, from sex education and family planning services, to prenatal care and childbearing assistance, to abortion counseling and services.

 

Litigation

Cohen et al. v. Brown

ACLU Challenges Petition to Grant “Paramount” Right of Life to Unborn

Supporters of Initiative Petition 30 (2010), which sought to establish the “paramount” rights of “every innocent life” including the “unborn,” failed to file the required number of signatures before the July 2, 2010, deadline passed, so it will not be on the November ballot.

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Legislation

A Trailblazing Bill for Women's Health

March 6, 2015 - As part of a diverse coalition of organizations committed to expanding access to women’s health care, we are thrilled to announce that Senate Bill 894 has been introduced in the Oregon Legislature.

This groundbreaking legislation is an important step in ensuring that more Oregonians – regardless of their income, type of insurance or location – have access to safe and affordable reproductive health care.

We believe every Oregon woman should have access to the full range of reproductive health care, starting before she ever becomes pregnant and going through childbirth. This basic right is a foundation of freedom and opportunity for women and their families.

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Anti-Choice Measure Fails to Qualify for 2012 Ballot

July 6, 2012 - We are thrilled to announce that Initiative Petition 25 (IP 25), a dangerous anti-choice constitutional amendment has failed to qualify for the November ballot. Reporting only 70,000 signatures gathered over the last several months, proponents of the measure fell far short of the legally required 116,000 valid signatures. Today’s news shows that Oregonians are committed to women’s health and refuse to support laws that impose government interference on our personal private decisions.

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Other

Attorney General Rosenblum: Do Not Waive Catholic Hospitals' Merger Review

Catholic Ethical & Religious Directives Restrict Reproductive, End-of-Life Care

January 14, 2016 - The ACLU of Oregon and 12 other public interest organizations sent Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum a letter urging her to reject a request for a waiver from the standard process for reviewing merger transactions by the nation’s 6th largest nonprofit hospital system, Providence Health & Services, and St. Joseph Health.

“This proposed transaction involves eight hospitals across Oregon, and a total of almost 50 hospitals across six states [Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Washington],” the groups said in the letter sent to AG’s office on Jan. 8. “Even absent the transfer of assets, significant changes in health care delivery are likely to occur…it behooves the Attorney General to undertake the full review process to ensure that this transaction preserves existing health care services and benefits the public interest.”

St. Joseph and Providence are both Catholic health systems. Catholic hospitals must typically follow the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The ERDs many forbid reproductive health services, including all birth control methods, sterilization, miscarriage management, abortion, the least invasive treatments for ectopic pregnancies, and some infertility treatments. The ERDs provide no exceptions for risks to a patient’s health or even life.

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Groups Are Concerned Walgreens’s Collaboration with Catholic Health Provider Will Limit Consumer Access to Important Medical Services

December 14, 2015 - Nineteen public interest organizations that advocate for patients’ rights and comprehensive health care access are concerned about the impact on health care consumers of a collaboration between the nation’s largest drug store chain, Walgreens, and a Catholic health care provider, Providence Health & Services, to open up to 25 in-store health clinics in Washington State and Oregon.

In a letter emailed to Walgreens today, the 19 organizations sought to learn whether religious doctrine will limit access to important medical services, information, and referrals at the clinics operated by Providence Health & Services and its affiliate, Swedish Health Services, and will limit Walgreens’s pharmacies’ ability to fill prescriptions.

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