by Steven Ertelt
September 28, 2006
Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — A new poll of Oregon residents finds very strong support for a November ballot initiative that would make sure parents are told about their minor daughters abortion before an abortion practitioner is allowed to do it. Though the poll found most Oregon residents aren’t yet paying attention to the debate on the measure a majority back it.
Sponsored by the Oregonian news and KATU, the survey found 56 percent of Oregon voters support the parental notification initiative while just 38 percent oppose it.
Some 6 percent of voters are undecided on Measure 43, which is lower than the percentage of voters that are normally unsure with several weeks left to go in the campaign.
Sarah Nashif, manager of the pro-life group that is backing Measure 43 said her internal polling data is showing an even higher number of Oregonians back parental notification that the media poll shows. That’s good news for her groups since state voters defeated a similar proposal in 1990.
Nashif told the Oregonian that the low numbers of undecided voters means a strong pro-abortion media campaign during October may not be able to change opinions against the abortion measure.
"The fact there is a such a low undecided rate, which is rare in campaigns for initiatives, indicates people have strong views on this issue and are less likely to be swayed by a media campaign," she said.
But Carol Butler, who is managing the pro-abortion campaign, told the newspaper the measure "sounds deceptively simple" but voters will begin to oppose it once abortion advocates barrage them with television commercials and other advertising.
According to the poll, voters 55 and older most strongly supported the measure while those between 18 and 34 were most divided.
Republicans strongly favored the parental notification proposal while Democrats narrowly opposed it. That reflects the governor’s race in the state where Republican Ron Saxton supports parental notification while pro-abortion Gov. Ted Kulongoski wants parents to remain in the dark about teen abortions.
Backers of the notification measure have been happy with the support they have received for the ban ever since they turned in 115,845 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office to get it on the ballot. They only needed 75,000.
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.
A previous January 2005 poll by Moore Information found 74 percent of Oregon residents backed the idea of parental notification while 21 percent opposed the idea.
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.
The media outlets took the new poll from September 23-25 and it has a 4 percent margin of error.