by Steven Ertelt
September 6, 2006
Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — In early October, every Oregon voter will be mailed a voter’s guide from the state that contains a list of the candidates running for office and information about the statewide ballot issues. One measure calls for informing parents when their minor daughter is considering an abortion.
That proposal, known as Measure 43, drew 56 arguments for and against that are listed in the voter’s guide, with a majority coming from those backing the proposal.
Any person or group can pay $500 to have a 326 word argument appear in the voter’s guide on behalf of a statewide initiative. The money is cost-effective because the voter’s guide goes to 1.6 million households early next month.
Sarah Nashif, manager for the abortion notification campaign, told the Portland Oregonian newspaper that appearing in the guide won’t win the battle over the notification measure, but the 29 arguments in favor of the proposal will help.
"The voter pamphlet gets the most widespread distribution of anything we will be able to do, and it is the one place that people can go to look at both sides," she said. "And it’s something a voter views as being generated by the state and therefore more reliable than some flowery campaign piece."
The parental notification measure qualified for the state ballot back in July.
Supporters needed just 75,630 valid signatures to qualify but, led by Oregon Right to Life, they turned in 115,845 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office.
Nancy Bennett, a spokeswoman for Oregon Planned Parenthood’s political action committee, said the abortion business would oppose the measure.
"We know what has proven most effective in keeping teens safe when it comes to reproductive health — and that is education and counseling," Bennett told the Associated Press.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, 22 states have parental consent laws in effect that require a parent to sign off on a teen’s abortion before it can be done. Another seven states have notification laws in place that require abortion facilities to notify a parent of a potential abortion beforehand.
Oregon has neither, but if state residents approve the ballot measure, parents would be able to be notified by an abortion facility 48 hours prior to their teenage daughter’s abortion.
That would allow them the opportunity to help her make a better decision.
"Parents are involved in teenagers’ lives in every other area," Nashif said. "Why is abortion the exception to that rule?"
In 2004, 1957 teen girls had abortions in Oregon and 55% of minors did not tell either parent before they had an abortion.
The proposal includes a Supreme Court-mandated provision that teens be allowed to get an abortion through a judicial bypass in cases of medical emergencies or in abusive home situations.
Polls show Oregonians strongly support parental involvement laws on abortion.
A January 2005 Moore Information Poll found 74 percent favor parental notification on abortion while just 21 percent opposed the idea.
That tracks with polls showing Americans favor the concept as well.
An April 2005 Fox News Poll also found that Americans agreed by a 78-17 percentage margin that parents should be notified about a minor’s abortion. A March 2005 Quinnipiac University Poll found a 75-18 percent support for parental notification.
Abortions in Oregon are down to their lowest levels since 1998, having decreased 20 percent between then and 2004, the latest year from which state data is available. The Oregon Department of Human Services reported 14,344 abortions in 1998, but that number decreased to 11,443 abortions in 2004.
Oregon has one of the oldest abortion laws in the nation, having legalized it in 1969, four year before the Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade decision nullifying pro-life laws in the rest of the states.