By JOHN FORTMEYER
SALEM — For a second time in three years, the dozens of pregnancy resource ministries in Oregon have succeeded in blocking state legislation they believed would severely impair their outreach.
By Monday, July 8, when the Oregon Legislature adjourned, Senate Bill 490 had not passed out of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, thus killing the legislation. Hundreds of representatives and friends of the centers statewide had spoken out against the bill at legislative sessions in Salem in April.
“It was miraculous!” exulted Gayle Atteberry, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, which joined with the centers to oppose the bill. “This was due to a lot of hard work on the (pregnancy) centers’ part and God’s great hand of power!”
“We rejoice in this defeat (of the bill) and know God had the process and outcome in His hand,” agreed Karen Tameling, executive director of Options Pregnancy Resource Centers in Albany and Corvallis.
Larry Gadbaugh, chief executive officer of Pregnancy Resource Centers of Greater Portland, the state’s largest group of such centers, had helped spearhead the opposition efforts. He said the bill would have required centers to post services they do not provide, particularly that they do not promote or do abortions, even though the bill never required abortion facilities to disclose what services they don’t offer, such as support for women who give birth.
He also said the centers, which are fully privately funded and receive no government money, would have wrongly placed them under a government agency — specifically, the new Oregon Health Authority. Furthermore, Gadbaugh said, the centers feared never-ending legal problems had the bill become law.
Had it become law, the bill would have marked the first time such regulations would have been imposed at a state level. Such rules have been enacted in several large U.S. cities but have faced legal challenges.
“We’re grateful to our senators who listened to the literally thousands of PRC supporters from our communities who responded to our request to communicate with the Legislature, urging them to ‘kill the bill’,’’ said Gadbaugh. “We’re also thankful for many others from other ‘kindred spirit’ organizations who joined the movement to oppose this initiative.”
He added that the situation was a reminder to Christians to pray for those in authority, particularly that they would “serve with consciences educated by God’s truth, and use their authority to protect the innocent and vulnerable, such as the pre-borns and their mothers.”
By JOHN FORTMEYER