SALEM (LifeSiteNews) – Oregon Republicans concluded a six-week walkout from the state Senate Thursday, after securing concessions from the Democrat-controlled Senate on extreme abortion, gender, and gun legislation that compelled them to grind the chamber’s business to a halt.
National Review reports that the dispute concerned legislation to allow abortions for minors without parental notification “in many cases,” codify abortion “access,” protect physicians from other states’ laws against abortions or gender “transitions,” require insurance coverage for some “transition” procedures, and numerous gun restrictions, as well as a proposed amendment to the state constitution codifying “rights” to abortion, gender transitions, and same-sex “marriage.”
In response, Republican senators staged the longest walkout in state history in order to deny the Senate the two-thirds quorum legally required to pass legislation, a move which, for ten lawmakers, potentially meant sacrificed their ability to run for reelection under a 2022 rule disqualifying any incumbent with ten or more unexcused absences (although that rule may be challenged in court).
The walkout ended with Democrats agreeing to drop several (but not all) of the gun restrictions and the constitutional amendment and eliminate language expanding abortion and contraception access on college campuses and in rural areas, as well as a compromise on underage abortions by which abortionists must get an additional medical provider to agree that parental notification for anyone under 15 would not be in her best interests.
Oregon Right to Life (ORTL) adds that Republicans also got Democrats to drop a proposed repeal of the crime of “concealing the death of an infant.”
Many of the other pro-abortion and pro-transitioning proposals remain in place, however. In Oregon Democrats control the governorship and both chambers of the State Legislature.
“Senate Republicans and Independents stood firm as the last line of defense for parental rights and the rule of law,” Senate Republican leader Tim Knopp said. “I am incredibly proud of their steadfast determination to give their constituents a long-overdue seat at the table.”
“At the beginning of May, HB 2002 was on track to glide through the Oregon Senate without any meaningful debate, let alone amendments,” said ORTL executive director Lois Anderson. “Because pro-life senators walked out, courageously putting their political careers on the line, HB 2002 was reined in. Though the amendments do not resolve all our concerns, the changes to HB 2002 retain protections for parents and children–born and unborn–that would have been removed. I hope this is the beginning of Oregon’s political leaders walking toward more protections for unborn Oregonians.”
Fourteen states currently ban all or most abortions, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last year. But states like Oregon and their allies in Congress have a variety of tactics at their disposal to preserve abortion “access.”
Among them are easing distribution of abortion pills, legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, attempting to enshrine “rights” to the practice in state constitutions, constructing new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states, and making liberal states sanctuaries for those who want to evade or violate the laws of more pro-life neighbors.
President Joe Biden has called on Congress to codify a “right” to abortion in federal law, which would not only restore but expand the Roe status quo by making it illegal for states to pass virtually any pro-life laws.