Data provided this month by the Oregon Health Authority reveals that $2.42 million in state money was spent on abortions last year, by far the highest in the 14-year report. The money was paid to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers for 3,769 abortions covered under the Oregon Health Plan during fiscal year 2015-16.
In response, Corvallis-based Oregon Life United is leading the effort to give voters a chance to weigh in. Initiative Petition 1 — known as the Stop Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act — would prohibit state funds from being used for abortions, except when medically necessary or if required by federal law.
“Nationally, upwards of 70% of Americans don’t want their tax dollars being used for the destruction of innocent human life,” says Jeff Jimerson, director of Oregon Life United. “We are inviting Oregon’s pro-life community, specifically people of faith and action, to join in this movement to protect women and babies from abortion.”
More than 117,000 valid voter signatures are needed to qualify the measure for the November, 2018 ballot.
The new petition drive began statewide on Tax Day — Tuesday, April 18 — and organizers plan to be finished by the end of the year. Only one week in, and more than 500 individuals and churches have already volunteered to help gather signatures.
This marks the fourth attempt at qualifying this measure for the ballot: In 2012 volunteers gathered 72,000 signatures. In 2014 volunteers gathered 98,000 signatures. In 2016 petitioners were unable to gather signatures due to legal action brought against the petition by four pro-abortion organizations. Legal hurdles for the new petition were cleared in February, 2017.
A total of $23,887,720 in state money was spent on 52,438 abortions over the past 14 fiscal years. There are currently no limits or restrictions on publicly-funded abortion in the state of Oregon.
“Many Oregonians don’t know their tax dollars are directly funding abortions,” Jimerson added. “We’re committed to getting the truth out.”
Supporters can request petitions and learn more by visiting the petition drive website at www.StopTheFunding.org, or by calling (541) 286-3039.