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Oregon Again Strongly Supports Equal Access to Abortion


The Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon today celebrated Oregon Life United's failure to place an extreme anti-abortion constitutional amendment on the November 2016 ballot.

Sponsored by Jeff Jimerson, former State Senator Marilyn Shannon and Suzanne Belatti, Initiative Petition 61 would have embedded in the Oregon Constitution a definition of abortion that includes some commonly used forms of contraception, and would have created unequal access to safe, legal abortion by prohibiting the use of so-called "public dollars" to pay in any way for abortion or certain contraceptives through the Oregon Health Plan or private insurance policies for employees of the state, school districts, cities, counties or any "public" entity.

"Oregon voters remain strongly supportive of equal access to safe, affordable reproductive health care, including abortion," said Michele Stranger-Hunter, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon.

Stacy Cross, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette and lead petitioner on objections filed with the Attorney General and the Oregon Supreme Court over the proposed ballot title, said: "When a woman is living paycheck to paycheck, denying coverage for an abortion can push her deeper into poverty. Studies show that a woman who seeks an abortion but is denied is more likely to fall into poverty than one who is able to get a safe abortion."

Kimberly McCullough, Policy Director of ACLU of Oregon, also filed comments with the Supreme Court. She noted, "Today, the sponsors of this dangerous effort seemed to admit that they faced a difficult, if not impossible, challenge to convince voters to take away healthcare rights from Oregonians."

Kara Carmosino of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, another plaintiff, added: "Limitations on abortion can have profoundly harmful effects on public health, particularly for those who already face significant barriers to receiving high-quality care, such as low-income women, immigrant women, young women, women of color and LGBTQ people."

This marks the third consecutive failure by Jimerson and Shannon to bring this measure to Oregon voters. They have never been able to collect enough signatures to even warrant having the Elections Division of the Secretary of State's office undertake a verification process.

The only times measures proposing to limit funding for abortion in Oregon have been on the ballot, in 1978 and again in 1986, Oregon voters soundly defeated them.

Posted on May 9, 2016 in News.
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