Oregon Launches Free Hotline for Abortion Legal Advice

The Oregon Department of Justice has launched a hotline to provide free legal advice to people with legal questions about abortions.  

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s Monday announcement came the day after the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v Wade, which guaranteed abortion rights nationwide until the court overturned the decision in last year’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.  

Abortion rights are now protected in some states, including Oregon, and restricted in others, including Idaho. Oregon’s eastern neighbor has a near-total abortion law, allowing the procedure only in cases of rape or incest documented with police reports or when a physician determines that an abortion is the only way to save a pregnant woman’s life.  

“Even in a state like ours, where abortion is legal, confusion and fear has ensued since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to obtain an abortion last June,” Rosenblum said in a statement. “The hotline will fill an important need in our state for callers to understand the status of our reproductive health laws, including issues related to abortion access.” 

Attorneys from the Oregon law firms Tonkon Torp, Markowitz Herbold, Perkins Coie, Stoel Rives, McDowell Rackner Gibson and Pickett Dummigan McCall will handle questions to the hotline on a pro bono basis, with no cost to callers or the state. Calls will be returned within 48 hours, according to the Department of Justice. The hotline is now open to callers.  

Anna Sortun, a partner in Tonkon Torp’s Litigation Department, said in a statement that her firm is looking forward to coordinating the hotline.  

“When the law changes suddenly, a hotline like this helps support our community by answering questions about critical access to health care, and we’re glad to help,” she said.   

The new hotline is among several steps Oregon officials have taken in the past year to protect abortion access since the Dobbs decision. State legislators last year allocated $15 million to help abortion providers hire more staff and expand facilities to respond to  increase in demand from both out-of-state residents and people living in eastern Oregon who previously received care in Idaho. That money is also being used to help with other expenses, such as travel and child care, for people seeking abortions in Oregon.  

This year, legislative Democrats intend to introduce a proposal to ensure doctors who provide abortions or gender-affirming care aren’t subject to prosecution or civil lawsuits from states where those forms of care are restricted. 

Hotline: If you have legal questions about abortion, you can call the free Oregon Reproductive Rights Hotline at 503-431-6460. 

By Julia Shumway, photo by Alex Baumhardt, both of Oregon Capital Chronicle 

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