Oregon Republicans Show Support for Pro-Life Party Platform

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Oregon Republicans Show Support for Pro-Life Party Platform

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
March 14, 2004

Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — Delegates to the Oregon Republican Dorchester Conference were witnesses to a heated debate on the Oregon Republican Party. Sixty percent of the attendees abstained from voting on former Sen. Bob Packwood’s proposal to throw out the Republican pro-life plank, in a display of party unity.

Had the Conference attendees supported the measure, it wouldn’t have made a difference – the 40-year-old Dorchester Conference is not part of the Oregon Republican Party.

Annette Price, the conference president, emphasized that the Dorchester Conference "is not the party" but a gathering of Oregon Republicans with no say in official party decisions.

Packwood, the founder of the conference, opened the topic by challenging the Oregon Republican Party to "restore itself to its former greatness," reported the Oregonian. He advocated a change in direction for the Party, to catch up with the rest of the state by removing the pro-life plank.

He referred to the "great days" when Republicans supported legislation against racial discrimination – a comparison that clearly showed his views on abortion and the pro-life movement.

"Let this conference say loud and clear," said Packwood, "a woman shall have a right to choose."

Kevin Mannix, the state party chairman, accused the Dorchester board of selecting a biased topic, abortion, for the debate.

"It is not the way to unify the party," Mannix said.

"It turned out to be ‘egg on your face’ for ex-Senator Packwood," said Gayle Atteberry, Executive Director of Oregon Right to Life. "They could have voted to take the [pro-life] plank out, and it would not have done anything."

Atteberry said the Conference is "very liberal," as its founder, Packwood is. His "sole remaining political passion is getting rid of the pro-life plank in the Republican Party," said Atteberry.

Mannix asked delegates to abstain from voting on Packwood’s measure to show party unity. The vote overwhelmingly went in Mannix’s favor, with 212 delegates abstaining, 86 voting for the removal of the pro-life plank, and 58 against.

"It was a huge pro-life victory," said Atteberry, who added that Mannix was pro-life. "The delegates clearly said, ‘Leave the pro-life plank in the Republican Party alone.

"We have a very strong platform in Oregon," she concluded.

Last year, Packwood criticized the Republican Party for remaining pro-life, stating that the position had cost them elections, including five gubernatorial races in a row.

Atteberry called Packwood’s remarks "sour grapes," pointing out he erred in his statements.

"Two of the GOP gubernatorial losses he refers to were pro-abortion Republicans; every Republican member of the Oregon legislature votes pro-life, many of them having won their seats BECAUSE they are pro-life; Packwood and his political consultant wife are both avidly pro-abortion and always support a pro-abortion GOP candidate who ends up losing," said Atteberry.

Packwood’s promotion of abortion is legendary.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, in 1971, long before Roe v. Wade, Packwood introduced a bill intending to legalize abortions nationwide. Pro-life activists point out that, although his national stature has diminished in the wake of his sexual harassment scandal, his support of abortion has not waned.

Pro-life leaders also note that the Oregon GOP’s lone statewide office-holder, U.S. Senator Gordon Smith, is pro-life, although he has pledged not to be a single-issue candidate.

Related web sites:
Oregon Right to Life – https://www.ortl.org