by Steven Ertelt
January 31, 2005
Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — A newly created pro-life group in Oregon wants to stop the state-funded health care plan from paying for abortions.
The organization, called Life Support, wants churches, legislators and the public to know that the Oregon Health Plan, which provides health care coverage to low-income state residents, pays for abortions.
"We are going to expose this," David Brownlow, the group’s director, told the Associated Press.
According to the Department of Human Services, the state paid for 8,150 abortions in the last two years with taxpayer funds under the plan, which is the state’s version of Medicaid. During the 2005-2007 budget period, the department will spend $3.2 million on abortions.
Brownlow said his group will lobby state lawmakers to vote against any state budget that includes taxpayer-funded abortions.
He told the Oregonian newspaper that the new organization "believes it is unconscionable to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for child-killing, either by surgical or chemical means."
Sen. Gary George, R-Newberg, told the Portland newspaper that he intends to bring the issue to a vote.
"We intend to make a big issue of it," George said.
However, Becca Uherbelau, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, told AP that her group would oppose such efforts.
"We really believe that every Oregonian woman should have equal access to reproductive health care," she said. "And that’s regardless of socioeconomic status."
Lon Mabon, founder of Oregon Citizens Alliance and Jim Leuenberger, a Lake Oswego lawyer and former candidate for the Oregon Supreme Court are two of the members on the new group’s executive committee.
Oregon is one of 17 states that use state tax dollars to pay for abortions. California, Hawaii, Montana, and Washington are among the others.
Federal law prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for virtually all abortions. Preventing the death of the mother and cases of rape or incest are the lone exceptions.