Oregon Right to Know Bill Gets Hearing but May Die

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 23, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC


Oregon Right to Know Bill Gets Hearing but May Die

by Steven Ertelt, Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Editor/Staff Writer
June 23, 2003

Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — A hearing on a pro-life bill to require information about abortion risks and alternatives to be given to women considering abortion filled a committee room on Tuesday. Despite the hearing, the bill may not go further.

The Senate Rules Committee took no action on House Bill 2547, previously passed by the state House, and the committee’s Vice Chairman, Sen. Jason Atkinson, said the bill may not be brought up again before the end of the legislative session — meaning it will die.

Oregon Right to Life director Gayle Atteberry said that the “desire of some senators” is to see the bill die in committee, although she said her group would keep pushing for it. Legislators have been putting off debate on more controversial issues while they tackle the state’s budget problems.

During the hearing, supporters said the bill was necessary to prevent women from getting abortions that will ultimately cause them emotional and physical harm.

Deborah Wyant of Salem said she suffered emotional consequences following an abortion that she wasn’t warned of beforehand. “House Bill 2547 is not about forcing information on anyone; it is about ensuring the ability to make informed choices,” Wyant said.

Abortion advocates said the only reason for the bill was to dissuade women from having abortions rather than protecting them.

"This bill is of great importance to the pro-life community," Rep. Betsy Close (R-Salem), who is sponsoring the bill, told LifeNews.com. "Oregon has passed no pro-life legislation, and Gov. Kitzhaber vetoed parental notification in 1999."

The measure requires abortion facilities to provide information about assistance services, abortion procedures, medical risks and the unborn child’s development and viability to a woman at least 24 hours before performing an abortion in order to obtain informed consent to the abortion.

"Similar legislation passed in other states, and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, has been shown to decrease abortions," added Gayle Atteberry, Executive Director of Oregon Right to Life.

"This bill will show that Oregon will move to protect its women and make sure they make an informed choice," Said Rep. Close. "This is not now the case."

"Women in Oregon do not all receive adequate information to make a fully informed consent to abortion," said Dr. Lynn Bissonnette, M.D., who spoke at a press conference for the Woman’s Right to Know initiative in Oregon.

"Informed consent for a woman about to undergo a medical or surgical procedure for abortion should be held to the same high standard as any other medical or surgical procedure. The right of choice that is exercised in ignorance is not freedom of choice."

Oregon is one of only six states with no pro-life legislation. If the bill
should fail, Oregon pro-life groups are prepared to take the measure to the 2004 ballot.