Oregon to vote this fall on taxpayer funding of abortion
July 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The people of Oregon will vote in November on whether to force taxpayers to finance abortions.
The state determined last week that pro-life activists had submitted 117,799 valid signatures to place Initiative Petition 1 which will most likely be known as Measure 106, on the fall ballot, The Oregonian reports. Exceeding the minimum requirement by just 221, the measure asks voters to approve a state constitutional amendment declaring that the “state shall not spend public funds for any abortion, except when medically necessary or as may be required by federal law.”
“Medically necessary” is defined as any physical condition “that would place [the mother] in danger of death unless an abortion is performed,” while “required by federal law” refers to federal rules requiring that exceptions be made for rape or incest. The amendment would also allow the “termination of a clinically diagnosed ectopic pregnancy” to receive public funds.
“We did something many people didn’t think was possible,” said Oregon Life United (OLU) director Jeff Jimerson. “Oregonians can finally vote to stop the funding of elective abortions with our state tax dollars.”
Pro-abortion lobbying groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon have naturally come out against the amendment, with the former’s executive director Grayson Dempsey suggesting it somehow violates “the right to health care” for “women and their families.”
But the measure “doesn’t stop anyone from choosing to have an abortion, it simply prevents using public funds to pay for it,” Jimerson told Oregon Public Broadcasting. It “gives a little bit of a speed bump” that encourages women to reconsider.
Pro-life and pro-abortion groups agree that Oregon is one of the most abortion-friendly states in the nation. It has no pro-life laws on the books, is one of 17 states that allow Medicaid funds to be used directly for abortions, and it requires health insurance plans to cover virtually all abortions for any reason, without any copay, under a law signed last year by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.
While current federal law only allows direct federal funding of abortions for rape, incest, or physical medical emergencies, federal funding of groups such as Planned Parenthood has been estimated to indirectly cover almost 25 percent of all abortion costs.
Oregon’s permissive abortion regime has spent almost $24 million on 52,438 abortions in the past 14 fiscal years, OLU says, citing a report from the state Division of Medical Assistance Programs. Christian News Northwest adds that the Oregon Health Plan funds an estimated ten abortions per day, with more than $1.7 million going to kill 3,556 babies in the last fiscal year alone.
Similar efforts failed to qualify for the ballot in 2012 and 2014, leading Oregon Right to Life to choose not to back the current campaign. But OLU notes that this year’s effort had more time, organization, and assistance, citing the support of more than 550 churches in the state, as well as endorsements from Archbishop Alexander Sample, Bishop Liam Cary, former pastor and pro-life author Randy Alcorn, and more.
Putting the question directly to Oregon voters bypasses both the pro-abortion legislature and an inevitable veto from Brown, an openly bisexual former abortion lobbyist.