Pro-lifers: Free abor­tion for il­le­gals in Ore­gon may back­fire.

See hope to end pub­lic funds for pro­ce­dure

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

An Ore­gon bill that would set aside $500,000 in tax­payer funds to pay for abor­tions for il­le­gal im­mi­grants could back­fire and lead to sig­nif­i­cant pro-life gains, abor­tion op­po­nents say.

David Ki­lada, po­lit­i­cal direc­tor at Ore­gon Right to Life, said Ore­gon al­ready has some of the most per­mis­sive abor­tion reg­u­la­tions in the na­tion. The pro­ce­dure is avail­able up un­til the mo­ment of birth, and al­most half of all abor­tions are funded by tax­pay­ers.

This time, he thinks pro-choice law­mak­ers are over­play­ing their hand.

“Democrats have made clear that they are in fa­vor of more late-term and sex-se­lec­tive abor­tions,” Mr. Ki­lada said. “Not to men­tion un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants can now get abor­tions for free. That’s not what Ore­go­ni­ans want, and I think it will be a big part of the cam­paign next year.”

H.B. 3391, the Re­pro­duc­tive Health Eq­uity Act, would al­lo­cate $10.2 mil­lion to the Ore­gon Health Plan, the state’s Med­i­caid pro­gram, to pay for re­pro­duc­tive ser­vices for women who would be el­i­gi­ble “ex­cept for their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus.” Of that amount, about $500,000 is ear­marked for abor­tions.

The leg­is­la­tion, which was de­vel­oped with the as­sis­tance of Planned Par­ent­hood and other pro­choice groups, also would re­quire pri­vate in­sur­ance com­pa­nies to pro­vide abor­tions to their cus­tomers free of charge.

Lau­rel Sw­erd­low, ad­vo­cacy direc­tor for Planned Par­ent­hood Ad­vo­cates of Ore­gon, said the bill would guar­an­tee abor­tion ac­cess to every Ore­go­nian no mat­ter “where they live or how much money they make or who pro­vides their health in­sur­ance.”

The Ore­gon House ap­proved the mea­sure on a party-line vote last month, and it cur­rently sits on the desk of Demo­cratic Gov. Kate Brown, a for­mer abor­tion rights lob­by­ist.

She’s up for re-elec­tion in 2018, but the gov­er­nor’s race isn’t the only thing the pro-life move­ment has its sights set on.

For years Ore­gon Life United has tried to get a bal­lot mea­sure on the docket that would bar tax­payer dol­lars from fi­nanc­ing abor­tions. Since 2002 Ore­gon has paid nearly $24 mil­lion for more than 52,000 abor­tions.

With the Re­pro­duc­tive Health Eq­uity Act gar­ner­ing na­tional at­ten­tion, Shan­non Hen­shaw, an or­ga­nizer with Ore­gon Life United, said the bal­lot mea­sure has its best chance of pass­ing yet.

“I think a lot of peo­ple were al­ready con­cerned about the num­ber of abor­tions in the state that are paid for by tax­payer dol­lars,” Ms. Hen­shaw said. “And be­cause H.B. 3391 is so ex­treme, I think it’s gen­er­ated some ad­di­tional fer­vor to put a stop to that.”

Ms. Hen­shaw said the pe­ti­tion cur­rently has between 40,000 and 50,000 sig­na­tures. It needs about 117,000 to make it onto the 2018 bal­lot.

Re­cent prece­dent sug­gests abor­tion is a los­ing issue for Democrats.

Un­der the lead­er­ship of U.S. Sen. Michael F. Ben­net of Colorado, the Demo­cratic Sen­a­to­rial Cam­paign Com­mit­tee poured $60 mil­lion into the Ban­nock Street Project, an ini­tia­tive to ad­vance the “War on Women” nar­ra­tive in the 2014 midterm elec­tions.

De­spite the in­fu­sion of cash, the pro-choice mes­sage fell flat, and Repub­li­cans ended up hold­ing onto the House and re­claim­ing the Se­nate.

Mr. Ki­lada said some­thing sim­i­lar could hap­pen in Ore­gon.

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