CORVALLIS — Corvallis-based Oregon Life United will very soon learn whether its third attempt — a more than yearlong effort by concerned Christians — will result in a statewide ballot measure this November to halt state funding of abortions.
As of press time for this newspaper, the required 117,578 minimum number of signatures by July 6 from registered Oregon voters has been solidly surpassed — latest figure is 130,000.
But whether the measure makes the ballot still hinges on a big question — whether state elections officials find at least 117,578 of the signatures valid. The state has until Aug. 5 to review the petitions, which Oregon Life United plans to submit to the secretary of state’s office in Salem in the late afternoon of July 6.
Hoping to ensure that threshold is met, Oregon Life United had wanted to get as many as 150,000 signatures by its own self-imposed early deadline of June 30 to compensate for invalid signatures.
The petition effort began last year and has been done entirely by about 7,000 volunteers and with the involvement of about 600 churches statewide and endorsement of some religious leaders. It also has been bolstered through special events throughout Oregon featuring nationally known pro-life speakers Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and host of a weekly TV program on Trinity Broadcasting Network; Abby Johnson, who left her clinic director position with Planned Parenthood be-cause of abortion; and Gianna Jessen, who survived a saline abortion as an unborn infant.
In his January talks in Oregon, Huckabee noted that it wasn’t until the third attempt that Arkansas passed a similar initiative. Oregon Life United founder and director Jeff Jimerson noted that fact with great interest and expressed hope that it would help inspire additional energy to the initiative effort here.
In 2012 and 2014, when it required 116,284 valid signatures to get an initiative on the Oregon ballot, Jimerson’s group gathered about 72,000 signatures in 2012 and about 98,000 in 2014.
Oregon is the only state that currently has no restrictions on abortion, and is one of 17 states that allow state funds to pay for abortion.
For more information, go to stopthefunding.org