Oregon: Battle Continues to Stop $1.5M in Tax-Funded Abortions

State   |   Jeff Jimerson   |   Jun 12, 2012   |   6:44PM   |   Salem, OR

A growing, grassroots movement of concerned citizens — fueled by a passion for freedom, and armed with the facts — have created a rare opportunity to set Oregon taxpayers free from being forced to spend $1.5 million on 3,500 abortions every year.

If you’re like most people we talk with you’ll be surprised to learn how anyone with an Oregon Health Plan card in their pocket can receive an unlimited number of “free” abortions for any reason at any time, at taxpayer expense. Truth be told, 1/3 of all abortions in Oregon today are fully funded with our state tax dollars. In other words, if you pay taxes in Oregon you pay for abortions in Oregon.

These hidden truths are being brought to light through Oregon 2012 Initiative #25 (www.Oregon2012.org) and the work of countless volunteers across the state, myself included, now racing against the clock to gather enough signatures for voters to weigh in this November. We need at least 150,000 signatures by July 2nd.

But not everyone’s happy with this effort. Some opposing groups are labeling Initiative #25 as “anti-choice.” And this, in a word, is nonsense.

For anyone who is honest about giving people freedom to choose, and for anyone who specifically believes taxpayers should have choices with how their money is being spent — especially concerning highly controversial issues such as abortion — then Initiative #25 is by definition “pro-choice” because it creates a choice that currently doesn’t exist.

How so?

Today in Oregon if an individual wishes to fund abortions they have a number of options, first and foremost being the freedom to send a personal contribution to their favorite abortion provider. It’s their checkbook after all. They can do what they want with it.

However, at the same time millions in state tax dollars are now going directly to these same abortion providers — many of which are for-profit businesses — in the form of state reimbursement payments for services rendered. What this means is hundreds of thousands of Oregon taxpayers like me who don’t wish to fund abortions currently have no way to opt-out. This initiative gives us that choice.

Here’s something else that might shock you. I’ve personally witnessed people sign our petition who’ve boldly confessed to supporting abortion rights. But should this really surprise us? The reality is, not everyone who wants access to abortion wants to pay for someone else to have the procedure. As one woman who signed our petition in Seaside told me, “I support abortion rights, but that doesn’t mean I want to pay for abortions.” Initiative #25 would give her the freedom she desires.

On the back of our petition sheets you’ll find these 27 simple words: No public funds shall be used to pay for any abortion, except to save the life of the mother or as may be required by federal law. This easy-to-understand statement is free from complicated legalese and it covers the bases by protecting the mother’s life, as well as acknowledging federal law that allows for funding abortions in cases of rape and incest. You see, the federal Hyde Amendment — which prohibits the use of federal tax dollars from funding abortions except in the rare circumstances described above — has been the law of the land for 35 years. But individual states can still spend their own money as they wish. Our initiative simply brings Oregon up to speed with how most of the country has been handling abortion funding for decades. Namely, let abortion remain a private issue, and let it be funded with private — not public — money.



So don’t be fooled when the extremists attempt to brand this grassroots citizen movement as extreme. Initiative #25 is a normal, mainstream concept we believe — and public opinion surveys confirm — the majority of Oregon voters will support on Election Day.

Oregonians are a diverse people with a wide range of personal beliefs and opinions on the difficult subject of abortion. Not everyone fits neatly into a “pro-life” or “pro-choice” box.

Initiative #25 is a fair and balanced approach to finding common ground on this often-polarizing issue. It doesn’t block anyone from choosing abortion. It gives taxpayers freedom to choose. It belongs on the November ballot.

LifeNews Note: Jeff Jimerson is co-chief petitioner of Oregon 2012 Initiative #25.