Gov. Kate Brown's campaign has repeatedly hammered her general election opponent, state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend), for his inconsistent position on abortion, noting that although Buehler says he's pro-choice, he voted against House Bill 3391—groundbreaking 2017 legislation that required health insurers to provide all Oregon women access to abortions.
One problem: Providence Health Plan, a Catholic-affiliated insurer, refused to provide abortion coverage and won an exemption from the law. Yet records show, despite Brown's unwavering pro-choice stance, her campaign has continued to buy health insurance from Providence—the only insurer exempt from the Oregon's abortion law.
Since the law passed in July 2017, Brown's campaign has spent $25,000 with the insurer, despite its anti-abortion stance.
Brown campaign spokesman Christian Gaston says there's no inconsistency. "It's a health plan the campaign staff chose," he says. "The governor helped to change the law going forward with the Reproductive Health Equity Act. Knute Buehler voted against that."
Gaston added that Brown played no role in choosing Providence and, now that she's aware of the situation, she has directed her staff to "fix this issue," by finding a new insurance provider.