ALBANY — A second attempt within three years to allow Oregonians to vote on halting state funding for abortions has fallen short.
When the July 3 deadlne to qualify a November ballot initiative with 116,824 valid voter signatures arrived, only about 97,000 had been obtained, said Jeff Jimerson of Albany, one of the chief petitioners for the Oregon 2014 campaign.
A similar effort two years ago collected fewer signatures — about 70,000; however, this latest initiative drive started earlier than the first. Both campaigns were conducted largely by concerned Christians who are troubled by the use of tax dollars for abortions. Annually more than 4,000 abortions are paid under the Oregon Health Plan.
Jimerson said it had not been decided whether to try a third initiative drive in the future.
“In the coming weeks we’ll regroup and decide what’s next,” Jimerson stated in an e-mail to campaign supporters. “Until then, I want to thank everyone who has signed and circulated our petition, contributed financially, and supported this effort in many other meaningful ways. It’s truly been a privilege to serve alongside to many amazing, faithful people. And while our work is not yet done, for now it is time to rest.”
Jimerson told The Oregonian that one big challenge the campaign faced was not having the money to hired paid petitioners.
His group instead relied solely on volunteer petitioners, which is rare among successful initiative campaigns.
The Oregonian also noted that Oregon Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, had not provided financial help to the campaign.
According to the newspaper, Oregon Right to Life leaders have expressed uncertainty whether Oregon voters would accept the measure, and decided to save their resources for other efforts.