Oregon: Ballot Prop Fails, Taxpayers Forced to Fund Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 5, 2012   |   7:44PM   |   Salem, OR

A statewide ballot initiative that would end taxpayer funding of abortions in Oregon failed to obtain enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. As a result, taxpayers are still on the hook for millions of dollars to fund tens of thousands of abortions.

Initiative Petition 25 would have amended the Oregon Constitution to prohibit access to taxpayer funds to pay for abortions. Initiative 25 was intended to prevent state funding of abortion to the extent permitted by federal law.

“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,” the ballot proposal would have read.

“With just two days left to deliver signed petitions to the secretary of state, we’ve got only about 70,000 signatures in hand – less than half of our 150,000 signature goal,” chief petitioner Jeff Jimerson wrote.

According to the Oregon 2012 Petition Committee, one third of all abortions in Oregon are funded by taxpayers. From 2003 to 2009, that amounts to $11.1 million in state money spent on 26,000 abortions.

Jimerson talked about the reasons for the proposal during the campaign to gather signatures:

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.

Oregon forced to spend $1.5 million on 3,500 abortions every year.

“The Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for unfettered and taxpayer-funded access to abortion, confirms that more women have abortions when they are covered by public program says Bill Saunders of Americans United for Life. “Eliminating taxpayer funding for abortion-on-demand in Oregon will unquestionably protect many women, save the lives of their unborn children, and defend the conscience rights of Oregonians who view abortion as what it is—ending the life of an innocent child.”



Statewide ballot proposals to stop or limit abortions or abortion funding have not been successful over the years. According to the Statesman Journal, “Oregon voters defeated similar measures in 1978 (initiative) and 1986 (constitutional amendment). Voters also rejected measures to require advance notice to parents (1990, 2006) and to ban abortion with three exceptions (1990).”