By JOHN FORTMEYER, CNNW publisher
Concerned Christians who are persistently working to see state funding of abortion halted in Oregon are bringing a nationally famed author, politician, clergyman and TV host to the state this month to bolster their efforts.
Mike Huckabee, former three-term governor of Arkansas, two-time presidential candidate, former pastor and current host of a weekly program on Trinity Broadcasting Network will speak Sunday and Monday, Jan. 21 and 22, at three Speak Life ’18 events sponsored by Oregon Life United. That Corvallis-based organization is the sponsor of a current petition drive to see a statewide vote this November on stopping the state funding.
Those events are Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel on the River, 909 N. Hayden Island Drive at Portland’s Jantzen Beach, 7 that evening at Peoples Church, 4500 Lancaster Drive N.E., in Salem, and Monday at 7 p.m. at Bethel Church, 4245 Vista Point Drive in Medford. Admission is $20, and tickets are now available.
Huckabee is known nationally for a consistent, faith-motivated stance on the ever-controversial abortion issue. Huckabee opposes any public funding for abortion, and believes that abortion should be legal only when the life of the mother is at risk.
“Along with Huckabee, the events will feature local pastors, elected officials, and pro-life leaders who will speak truth and life over our state,” said Jeff Jimersen of Corvallis, director of Oregon Life United. “Additionally, powerful testimony will be shared about finding healing and forgiveness after abortion.”
According to records obtained by the state government, more than 45,000 abortions have been funded with more than $23 million in state money during the past 14 fiscal years. The current efforts by Oregon Life United mark the third time since 2012 that Jimerson has spearheaded statewide initiative attempts — largely by concerned Christians — to halt state funding of abortion. Both the 2012 and 2014 initiative drives failed to secure the required voter signatures, although the 2014 effort saw an increase to nearly 100,000 signatures secured by 2,800 volunteers.
This third effort started last year and already more than 400 Oregon churches have gotten involved in the petition effort. Vol-unteers in every corner of the state are working to meet the goal of 117,000-plus signatures needed to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot.
Known as the ‘Stop Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” the measure would prohibit state funds from being used for abortions, except when medically necessary or if required by federal law.
The proposed initiative is strongly opposed by abortion rights advocates. In a statement after the current petition drive was announced, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon Executive Director Michele Stranger Hunter termed the initiative “a heartless attempt to take away some women’s personal decision-making and push abortion out of reach in Oregon — falling hardest on those who already face significant barriers to getting health care.”
Jimersen said the petition efforts got a big boost last year after the Legislature passed, and Gov. Kate Brown signed into law, what he termed one of the most aggressive pro-abortion laws ever in the nation’s history, offering free abortion, including sex-selective and late-term abortions.
For details, go to stopthefunding.org/churches or oregonlifeunited.org
Disclaimer: CNNW Publisher John Fortmeyer is on an advisory committee for Oregon Life United and for this month’s events.