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The Fight to Halt Abortion Expansion in Oregon
Oregon Right to Life | 27 April 2023
Audible gasps in response to an answer from legislative counsel revealed that even some proponents of House Bill 2002 had not thought through the full impact of the legislation. Counsel was asked, “so a ten-year-old can make the decision on their own?” and the answer was yes.
HB 2002, promoted by Planned Parenthood as the Reproductive Health & Access to Care bill, has many egregious provisions in its 39 pages. However, as demonstrated in the recent Joint Ways and Means Committee, perhaps the worst is the removal of any limits on the age of consent with no parental involvement for “reproductive healthcare,” which includes abortion. The definition of reproductive healthcare includes treatment for cancers of the reproductive system, which could also be pursued without a parent’s knowledge.
If passed, the child would have to give written permission to the healthcare provider to share information with their parent or guardian. You read that right; the child must give permission to share information with the parent. While there were shocked responses and outrage expressed by pro-life members with little defense of the language, the members of the committee still passed it out on a party-line vote.
Language in the bill assures that a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or a naturopathic physician who violates a law in another state and as long as what they did was legal in Oregon and as long as it was related to providing “reproductive health care,” is shielded from that information being given to an Oregon employer. In addition, it establishes a gag order on public entities that prevents sharing information about ethical or legal violations. In broad language, the bill will make Oregon a state a sanctuary for abortion providers who do not respect the rule of law in their own states.
From the bill: (5) A health professional regulatory board may not disclose the information described in subsection (1) of this section to another public entity if the information relates to the provision of or referral for reproductive or gender-affirming health care services.
Legislation with this kind of broad, permissive language protects the powerful, leaving vulnerable children at the mercy of the abortion industry and parents without a voice.
Further provisions of the bill expand funding even further in our state, where 60% of abortions are publicly funded. HB 2002 creates a taxpayer-funded program providing chemical abortions at Student Health Centers at higher education facilities, including community colleges. Pushing the abortion pill on campuses is terrible enough, but our community colleges have programs that include high school students who would have easy and free access without any parental knowledge.
Oregon borders Idaho, which has protective laws only allowing abortion in limited cases. Oregon’s abortion industry already secured $15 million in the last session, and a Planned Parenthood facility has opened in the border city of Ontario. The facility was clearly opened to target the nearby Boise metro area.
HB 2002 would add a pilot program providing grants to two rural Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to help the abortion industry expand into areas of Oregon where few people are seeking abortions. According to Oregon’s state reporting, 39 women residing in Malheur and five surrounding counties had abortions in 2021.
Supporters of the legislation also want to discourage pro-life prayer vigils and advocacy outside of abortion clinics. The bill creates a crime of interfering with a health care facility. While the specific language of the measure reflects a misunderstanding of how pro-life sidewalk advocacy works, it still is a direct attack on peaceful Oregonians who want to help mothers choose life.
The legislation includes provisions relating to “gender-affirming” care. It has been observed, not just in Oregon, that the abortion industry and its allies combine abortion and transgender issues whenever possible.
HB 2002 is currently awaiting a vote of the full Oregon House, expected the first week in May. As a result of current legislative rules for joint committees, the bill can move directly to a vote of the full Senate and will not be required to be heard in a policy committee.
In the meantime, a joint resolution to refer a measure to the 2024 ballot was introduced last week that will ask the voters of Oregon to enshrine the elements of HB 2002 and more into the Oregon constitution:
SJR 33 seeks to add to our constitution's existing “equal rights” language. From the bill (bold language is new): Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the State of Oregon or by any political subdivision in this state on account of sex, including but not limited to denial or abridgment of equal rights by any law, policy or action that discriminates, in intent or effect, based on:
(a) Pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes or related health decisions;
(b) Gender identity or related health decisions;
(c) Sexual orientation; or
This measure is likely to move quickly as session deadlines approach.
States, where abortion rights proponents are in power, are seeing a wide range of damaging bills, ballot measures, and other policy initiatives. political, legal, and grassroots support must grow as we battle against these efforts state by state.