CORVALLIS — As of last month, more than 400 Oregon churches are involved in a petition effort aimed at ultimately stopping taxpayer-funded abortions in Oregon.
According to Corvallis-based Oregon Life United, sponsor of Initiative Petition 1, volunteers from Medford to Portland, and Brookings to Baker City are working hard 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.
According to the sponsors, the effort is especially timely because Oregon House Bill 3391, otherwise known as the Reproductive Health Equity Act, is about to become law in Oregon. It requires all private health insurers to offer free abortions without restrictions or copays. (The law creates an exception for Providence Health Plans, which had threatened to pull out of the state because of the abortion requirement. Instead, anyone covered by Providence will soon be able to obtain free, taxpayer-funded abortions through the Oregon Health Plan).
Jeff Jimerson, director of Oregon Life United, said HB 3391 is one of the most aggressive pro-abortion laws ever in the nation’s history, offering free abortion including sex-selective and late-term abortions.
He said churches can help mitigate the damage done by HB 3391 by supporting the “Stop Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” This grassroots initiative would block the stream of taxpayer dollars currently funding approximately 3,700 abortions annually through the Oregon Health Plan and reverse the expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion mandated by HB 3391.
The hundreds of volunteers are organizing petition drives at their churches, but teams are also going out to concerts, parades, festivals, and county fairs.
Jimerson noted that while protecting the young and the vulnerable is reason enough for the initiative to be on the 2018 November ballot, there are financial implications that have non-churchgoers supporting it as well. Data provided by the Oregon Health Authority reveals that $2.42 million in state money was spent on abortions during fiscal year 2015-16, by far the highest of any year covered in the 14-year report. The money was paid to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers for 3,769 abortions covered under the Oregon Health Plan.
“Nationally, upwards of 70 percent of Americans don’t want their tax dollars being used for the destruction of innocent human life,” said Jimerson. “We are inviting Oregon’s pro-life community, specifically people of faith and action, to join in this movement to protect women and babies from abortion.”
Jimerson said more churches are needed to reach the petition goal. For information, go to stopthefunding.org/churches or phone 541-286-3039.