Oct. 31, 2018 — Measure 106: Amends Constitution: Prohibits spending “public funds” (defined) directly/indirectly for “abortion” (defined); exceptions, reduces abortion access.
Under current law, state-funded health plans, or health insurance procured by public employment, can help cover the cost of abortion services, when approved by medical professionals.
The law would prohibit this, except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, or in the case of ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than inside the uterus, such as in the fallopian tube.
The measure does not ban abortions in the state.
Oregon is one of 17 states that uses its own money to provide abortions to women eligible for Medicaid, according to a June 2018 story by Oregon Public Broadcasting. Federally, abortion funding is banned. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Oregon paid for 4,086 abortions.
Proponents of the measure state that the measure is about how the state spends taxpayer funding, and questioning if Oregon should be using money for the controversial procedure.
Opponents say that restricting funding will essentially be a ban on abortions for low-income wage earners.
Those in favor of the measure run the gamut of opinions, from anti-abortion sentiments couched in personal experience, to moderates who feel the state should not be getting involved in the debate.
“My life was shattered by shame,” wrote Linda Burwell of Women for Measure 106 for the Oregon State Voters Pamphlet. “The day of my abortion, the admitting clerk checked me in at a hospital in Portland and asked me to sign a permission form to dispose of the fetus. Until then I’d never heard the word fetus. This growth inside me was a ‘mass of cells, undeveloped tissue,’ not an unborn child. In that moment, I realized I was signing the death certificate for my child. In my shame, I chose my life over his.”
Burwell wrote that Oregon’s current law is making is easy to “erase an entire generation” in a “genocide of the unborn children,” and that taxpayer funds would be better used for education, assistance and help for women to find “other options.”
“I am pro-choice, pro-responsibility, pro-Oregon, pro-women and pro-men,” wrote Angie Hummell of Hermiston. “I don’t necessarily like abortion (I wouldn’t choose one myself), but I also don’t believe I have the right to tell someone else what to do.”
Hummell stated that the issue was not about access to abortion, but whether or not it is right to ask those who do not believe in practice to help pay for it.
“Having personal freedoms and individual rights are one thing — but asking YOU to fund MY rights is a totally different story,” she said, and then went on to liken the issue to the Second Amendment debate:
“... We all have the freedom of choice when it comes to gun ownership. But it doesn’t mean the government should reach into your pocket and buy my guns and ammo. … It’s exactly the same with elective abortions,” she said.
Opponents of the measure argue that it would not stem the amount of abortions in the state but would only make them more dangerous and costlier.
“Lack of access to abortions harms low-income women and women of color,” City Club of Portland Executive Director Julia Meier wrote. “Policies that attempt to restrict funding for abortions do not reduce the number of abortions sought or obtained. However, these policies do make abortions less safe and contribute to the economic instability of low-income women.”
For Christel Allen of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, the measure is about keeping healthcare available to all Oregonians.
“We believe that every Oregonian — especially those who have historically been marginalized — must have access to the full range of reproductive health care, starting with proper preventative care, and continuing through postpartum care,” she wrote. “This includes access to safe, affordable abortion care.”
Allen compared the measure to the national debate regarding women’s rights, stating, “... We have seen a fervor in attacks on women — we are living in a time when many of our elected officials and policies do not represent the views of the majority. This is why it’s so important that we hold the line in Oregon by opposing Measure 106.”
Fiscally, the measure would most likely have a negative effect on the Oregon tax base, according to the state.
If passed, the measure is expected to increase public spending by $19.3 million annually, according to a report written by Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson and other state agencies.
The report states that $2.9 million would be saved annually by preventing the types of abortions mentioned in the measure, according to the report.
However, there would be an increase of $22.2 million annually from those born due to the ban. The expenditures would come from health care, food and nutritional services provided by the state.
That financial impact wouldn’t be felt immediately, however. The first year is only expected to see an increase in $4.8 million in state costs.
One of the main reasons for budget increase is the income level of those who utilize abortion services. According to a 2017 study done by the Guttmacher Institute, which backs legalized abortion, 49 percent of women who get abortions are below the federal poverty level, a group that traditionally utilizes state and federal social programs.
Organizations that are for the measure’s passage include a variety of grass roots organizations such as Women for Measure 106, Oregon Right to Life PAC, Public School Teachers for Measure 106 and Medical Professionals for Measure 106.
Opponents include the Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Nurses Association, Oregon Public Health Association and the Northwest Health Foundation.