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PPAO, NARAL Executive Directors File Complaint Against Oregon Family Council for Referendum 301 Elections Law Violations

The executive directors of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon (PPAO) and NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon filed a formal complaint Tuesday against the the Oregon Family Council (OFC), an anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ extremist organization, for elections law violations contained in a Referendum 301 mailer. The mailer, signed by OFC Executive Director Jack Louman, provides incomplete signature-gathering instructions and inaccurate information about Referendum 301, which seeks to roll back key provisions of the Oregon Healthcare Protections Bill (House Bill 2391).

The Healthcare Protections Bill safeguards insurance for more than 350,000 low-income Oregonians, reduces premiums for another 220,000 and ensures access to health care in rural parts of the state. PPAO and NARAL are members of a broad coalition that is working to defend the Healthcare Protections Bill.

The Oregon Family Council actively lobbies to limit access to reproductive care and opposes LGBTQ rights. The group's mailer links its efforts to block access to reproductive freedom to the new Referendum 301. The mailer claims that the Healthcare Protections Bill "hurts families and expands abortions." The Healthcare Protections Bill does provide for healthcare access for hundreds of thousands of women, many of whom who rely on the Oregon Health Plan for access to basic reproductive health.

The mailer also clearly violates elections law: Signature gatherers are not instructed to carry the relevant portions of HB 2391, as explicitly required in ORS 250.045(11), and instead are told to direct potential signers to the Secretary of State's website for more information.

What's more, the Oregon Family Council incorrectly states that insurance companies are not subject to a tax under the Oregon Healthcare Protections Bill. That's demonstrably false; in fact, Referendum 301 explicitly seeks to roll back a piece of the bill that levies a 1.5 percent tax on insurance companies.

"These are egregious errors that serve only to confuse voters and misrepresent the Oregon Healthcare Protections Bill," said Mary Nolan, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. "Sadly, distributing misinformation is a tactic the Oregon Family Council has turned to time and time again in an attempt to restrict women's access to vital reproductive care in Oregon. We urge the office of Secretary of State to investigate this election violation immediately and invalidate all signatures that petitioners cannot conclusively demonstrate were gathered in accordance with the law. We also encourage the Oregon Attorney General to investigate the potential felony caused by disseminating blatantly inaccurate referendum information."

Click here to view the OFC complaint

Click here to view the OFC mailer

Posted on August 1, 2017 in News.
 
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