CORVALLIS — Signature gathering for the Oregon 2014 citizen initiative to stop taxpayer funding for abortion has officially begun.
The Corvallis-based petition committee mailed a first batch of 10,000 petition sheets to volunteers and other supporters across the state last month. This is the group’s second attempt to place this issue on the ballot using only volunteers, most of whom are concerned Christians.
Data recently obtained from the Oregon Health Authority reveals that 4,191 abortions were covered under the publicly funded Oregon Health Plan in fiscal year 2011-12, which is a 10-year high. Approximately $16 million in state funds have been spent on 38,455 abortions over the past 10 years. About half of all abortions in the state are now publicly funded.
“Oregonians should not be forced to fund abortions with their tax dollars — especially elective and late-term abortions,” said Jeff Jimerson, one of the initiative’s chief petitioners.
In January, sponsor signatures from more than 1,800 Oregon voters were delivered to the secretary of state’s office in Salem. No appeal was filed on the petition’s ballot title, and organizers were approved to circulate the new petition on April 16. It’s the only statewide 2014 petition in Oregon currently approved to circulate. A total of 116,284 valid signatures are needed to qualify for next year’s ballot.
Albany resident Jimerson, along with co-chief petitioners Lee Edward of Corvallis and former State Sen. Marylin Shannon of Salem, are heading up the Oregon 2014 petition committee. More information about the initiative can be found at www.Oregon2014.org.
Disclosure to readers: John Fortmeyer, publisher of Christian News Northwest, is an unpaid advisor to the Oregon 2014 Petition Committee.