By JOHN FORTMEYER, CNNW publisher
CORVALLIS — Because concerned Christians succeeded in getting it on Oregon’s November ballot, battle lines have now been drawn over Measure 106 — the proposed ban on state funding of abortion.
The Corvallis-based Yes on 106 campaign (www.yes106.org) is going head-to-head with the Portland-based No Cuts to Care campaign (nocutstocare.com).
And the arguments given on both sides are sure to intensify between now and the voter deadline of Nov. 6.
The Yes on 106 campaign is coordinated by Oregon Life United, the group — largely composed of Christians — that sponsored the initiative drive that placed 106 on the ballot. More than 10,000 volunteers from about 600 churches gathered more than 150,000 signatures.
“We are running an efficient, targeted and cutting-edge campaign,” wrote Jeff Jimerson, director of Oregon Life United and Yes on 106, in a letter to supporters.
Jimerson said the focus of the campaign is to educate moderate and swing voters how tax dollars are funding elective and late-term abortions.
According to state statistics, more than $24 million of Oregon tax dollars have been spent on more than 57,000 abortions since 2002.
Oregon is the only state with no limits on abortion. Today, abortions are taxpayer-funded for any reason and at any time during pregnancy.
In addition to encouraging supporters to “like” the @yes106 Facebook page, the campaign is urging writing of letters to the editor to local newspapers, posting of yard or field signs, and placement of door hangers.
Twenty-seven statements in favor of the measure, and 35 against, will be printed in the official state voter guide. Representing the viewpoints of a wide range of individuals and organizations, the statements can already be viewed on the Oregon secretary of state’s election website, oregonvoters.org
On Aug. 30 Jimerson debated Emily McClain, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, representing No Cuts to Care, debated the measure on Portland’s KATU-TV 2.
The opposition’s campaign formally kicked off with four rallies Sept. 22 — in Clackamas, Eugene, Hillsboro and Portland.
“Measure 106 goes against our Oregon values,” stated a press release announcing the four events. “We believe that everyone must be able to decide whether and when to become a parent — no matter how much money they make or how they are insured. We are fighting this attack on reproductive freedom and taking to the streets to make sure Oregonians vote no on this dangerous ballot measure. You belong in this fight.”
Among those who have publicly taken a stand against Measure 106 is Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. She told Eugene Weekly that the measure “would set a dangerous precident by cherry-picking which medical procedures public insutance will and won’t cover. It would take abortion coverage away from women on the Oregon Health Plan. It would take coverage away from state employees.”
Brown also noted that Oregon voters last January approved Measure 101, allotting up to $320 million in taxes on hospitals and certain health insurers to help pay for those enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid.
“We successfully fought the same kind of attack on health care earlier this year when Oregonians resoundingly approved Ballot Measure 101,” Brown said. “And this time, wel’l fight back again.”