Oregon Governor’s Wife Defends Abortion in Controversial Speech

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 28, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Oregon Governor’s Wife Defends Abortion in Controversial Speech

by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
January 28, 2004

Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — Oregon’s First Lady defended legal abortion during a controversial speech over the weekend.

Mary Oberst, wife of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, made the pitch for keeping abortion legal during what was billed as a "Celebration for Choice" sponsored by the pro-abortion lobbying group known as NARAL.

Oberst, who works as a lawyer for the Oregon State Bar, claimed that young women today don’t understand what life was like before Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which legalized abortion.

Speaking to a crowd of 400 avid abortion supporters in Portland, Oberst said young women don’t know "the fear, the danger, the loss of control over the most private decisions. We don’t ever want to go back to those days."

As pro-lifers point out, Oberst failed to acknowledge the intense pain, both physical and psychological, that a number of women face following their abortions. Scientific studies show that abortion has been linked not only to sterility and death, but also to higher rates of substance abuse and depression.

Meanwhile, Gov. Kulongoski told the Oregonian newspaper that he was nervous for his wife before her pro-abortion speech.

"It’s a tough business," Kulongoski told the Oregonian. "She’s a very private person. But there are some things she believes in very, very strongly, and this is one of them."

At the dinner, Oberst told the story of how, while attending a Catholic high school, she took over a job in a car wash that had been held by a young woman who had been forced out of school after she became pregnant.

"That brief car wash experience made me more grateful than ever that I was headed for college," Oberst said. "More importantly, it made me more aware than ever that in a country without choice, a young woman’s dreams can die very quickly."

Pro-life leaders note that there is a common myth, perpetuated by the abortion industry, that an unexpected pregnancy represents the death of a woman’s career aspirations. But counselors at pregnancy resource centers report that pregnant women can give birth and still realize educational and professional goals.

According to the Oregonian, Oberst and other speakers at the banquet decried the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, a ban which is supported by 70 percent of Americans, according to public opinion polls.

The speakers also complained about laws at both the federal and state levels designed to protect the rights of unborn children. Such laws have been credited with significantly decreasing the nation’s abortion rate.

But the speakers’ biggest concern was that President Bush would appoint pro-life U.S. Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe.

Oberst described her Governor-husband as an "unwavering guardian" of abortion rights, but added that abortion supporters should be on guard with each election.

"We have a real struggle ahead of us," Oberst said.

On that point, pro-life advocates note, Oberst was correct. A number of public opinion polls show that Americans, particularly young Americans, are increasingly pro-life.