As of March of 2018, over 105,000 signatures have been collected for the initiative effort to stop taxpayer funding of abortions in Oregon. This, the 4th such attempt by pro-life group Oregon Life United (OLU), is the closest they have gotten to the required 117,578 signatures the group has achieved. OLU is attempting to collect 150,000 total signatures to account for any disqualified signatures.
If successful in the signature gathering stage, the initiative will give Oregon voters the opportunity to weigh in on the issue in the November election. Oregon Life United’s leaders have high hopes that this year they will be able to stop taxpayer dollars from funding abortion.
On average, 10 abortions per day are paid for by Oregon taxpayers. In Oregon, even late-term, sex-selective abortions are publicly funded. With the passage of House Bill 3391 by the Oregon Legislature last year, taxpayer funding of abortions was further expanded to undocumented immigrants.
Oregon Life United founder, Jeff Jimerson, first began his effort to stop taxpayer funding of abortion in 2012 by creating Oregon2012, a non-partisan, non-denominational political action committee (PAC). Its mission was to pass the state’s first-ever law to protect women and babies from abortion.
Jimerson believed the best way to fulfill the mission of Oregon2012 was to start a ballot initiative. This requires a certain percentage of registered voters to sign a petition that they want the proposed legislation to appear on the ballot. Once done, the ballot measure will receive a public vote in the next election. In this case, the initiative language would change the state constitution to prohibit public funding of abortions.
When Oregon2012 began their ballot initiative to qualify for the November 2012 election, volunteers from all over Oregon began to collect signatures. However, only 72,000 of the required 117,000 minimum were collected. In 2014, Jimerson and the team tried again, this time collecting 98,000 signatures.
Discouraged from the multiple defeats, but optimistic about the gradual increase of signatures collected each year, Jimerson tried again. The groups most recent attempt brought on a wave of pro-abortion opposition. Several pro-abortion organizations including Planned Parenthood, NARAL and others, made a lengthy court appeal which blocked Jimerson’s group from gathering enough signatures in time. Determined to stop taxpayer-funded abortions, Jimmerson filed the petition again for 2018 as Oregon Life United.
Although 105,000 signatures is a significant milestone, there are only three months remaining for petitioners to gather the remaining quota.
To qualify for the November ballot, a total of 117,578 valid signatures must be collected before the June 30th deadline. OLU’s goal of collecting 150,000 signatures is a frequently used strategy for initiative efforts in Oregon in order to avoid disqualifying the effort because of too many signature errors.
“I’m confident we can get it done,” says Jimerson. To learn more about Oregon Life United’s petition, go to www.StopTheFunding.org.
The following article contains excerpts from an interview conducted with Republican candidate Teri Grier.
Teri Grier has not given up the fight for rural Oregon. She is running again for State Representative of House District 9. Grier still feels that “the vast rural community of Oregon, which is largely conservative, is under siege by the much louder voice of liberal Portland.”
According to Grier, the rural citizens in her district are struggling to find jobs. The high rate of unemployment has pressured her neighbors to relocate for work. Grier attributes the unemployment rate to the state’s leaders who consistently vote for Portland’s needs, not the needs of the rural community.
To Teri, this crisis is an eerie throwback to her childhood, when she experienced the down turning of several mines in her small town in Arizona. Both her mom and step-dad lost their jobs along with numerous other families, many of which were forced to pack what they could into a truck and drive away, leaving the key in the front door. Teri describes this disaster as a “modern day Grapes of Wrath.”
Teri firmly believes this experience gives her the ability to understand rural Oregon in a way many other legislators cannot. When discussing the possibility of being a voice for these communities, she stated that “the experience that I’ve had can help make that happen. Those places that feel like they’ve been forgotten . . . they’re not forgotten.”
Jump forward over twenty-five years later, and Teri, who now has been working in public policy for over two decades, is aghast as the Oregon Legislature frequently passes major pieces of legislation in less than 30 days that “should take six years or longer.” The lack of transparency in state government and the intentional neglect of rural community needs inspired Grier to begin a write-in campaign for state representative in 2016.
In the 2016 election year, Grier drove all over her district, knocking on thousands and thousands of doors, just listening to local people share. Unfortunately, she lost to Democratic incumbent Caddy McKeown in the fall by 1,111 votes.
However, Teri Grier was not fazed by the loss and is running again. She has the support of many rural communities and conservatives House District 9 from her last campaign. Grier plans to work hard so rural Oregon is not neglected in the future.
This past January, the Statesman Journal published an article highlighting the top 11 causes of death for Oregonians in 2016. These causes and total deaths included:
- Cancer 8,076,
- Heart disease 6,976,
- Unintentional injury 2,108,
- Chronic lower respiratory heart disease 2,081,
- Stroke 1,944,
- Alzheimer’s disease 1,786,
- Diabetes 1,240,
- Alcohol-related 829
- Suicide 771,
- High blood pressure 557,
- Firearms 510
While these numbers are horrific and far higher than desired, there is a secret cause of death not mentioned in the Statesman Journal’s article.
The cause of death: abortion. In 2016 the Oregon Health Authority recorded 8,942 abortions. This startling number reveals more babies were killed from abortion that year than those who died from cancer. On average over 22 babies were aborted every day in Oregon. This injustice must be stopped.
There is hope. In the past 5 years, abortion rates have been going down. Since 2012, Oregon’s average abortion numbers have gone down by 909 babies. You can be a part of that change. Help abolish abortion today by becoming an advocate ORTL.org.
Salem, OR – Legislators return to the Oregon Capitol this week. Already some are seeking to pass a bill which would target dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. House Bill 4135 is scheduled for a hearing and possible work session in the House Health Care Committee at 3:00 pm on February 7th. It is believed this bill will move quickly because there are only 35 days in the 2018 regular session.
Last session a similar bill (SB 494) was introduced in the Senate by Senator Floyd Prozanski . It died in the House. The new bill, HB 4135, is chief sponsored by Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek.
“Supporters of this bill are touting it as a ‘fix,’ but the only fixing that is happening is fixing it so vulnerable Oregonians are left without protections and their right to basic care like food and water,” said ORTL Executive Director Lois Anderson. “One wonders what the true motivations are for this legislation.”
HB 4135 is purported to just be a bill that makes technical changes to the current statutory advance directive form found in ORS 127.531. However, over the last 25 years Oregonians at the end-of-life stage have been protected by the current advance directive and removing it from statute has legal consequences.
“The advance directive was put into Oregon statute back in 1993. I was then a state senator when a very well vetted bill was thoroughly discussed and passed. I worked hard to ensure the advance directive was in statute. If it were to be removed from statute, I fear the legal protections we carefully placed there could be jeopardized, potentially harming end of life decisions for vulnerable patients,” stated Representative Bill Kennemer (R- HD 39).
Under current Oregon law, a healthcare representative does not have the authority to make a life ending decision for an incapable person unless the representative has been given authority to do so, or the incapable person is in one of four end of life situations defined in statute.
If HB 4135 is passed a person who appoints a healthcare representative, but makes no decisions regarding end of life care, would be granting his or her healthcare representative the power to make a life ending decision for the principal even when the principal is not in one of the four statutorily defined end of life situations, and even if this is not the will of the principal.
The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships that allows awardees the chance to study at Oxford University in England. Only 32 Americans are awarded the scholarship every year, and this time, a fellow Portlander received this award.
JaVaughn T. “JT” Flowers was a student at Lincoln High School. He did not perform well academically and even stayed a fifth year in high school at a boarding school in Connecticut. His efforts payed off, and he went on to study at Yale, founding an organization called A Leg Even to assist low-income Yale students by offering mentoring and tutoring services as well as connections to faculty. During his years at the Ivy League school, he studied in six different countries to examine the various cultures and politics. His thesis investigated Portland’s sanctuary city policy for immigrants undocumented in the United States. His academic excellence also resulted in receiving the Truman scholarship in 2016, which gives gifted students graduate support to help them prepare for government or public service careers.
He currently works for Representative Earl Blumenaur in Portland. “I’m essentially getting paid to learn about all the incredible work going on across all these different silos in Portland,” Flowers said in an interview with The Oregonian.
The competition for the Rhodes Scholarship is intense and involves a difficult, time-consuming application process. Finalists were flown out to Seattle for several events, including standing in front of a seven-judge panel. Rhodes Scholars have their tuition and all expenses covered to study for two or three years at Oxford.
Flowers was floored by the news. “I really don’t know how to attach words to it. I’m really at a loss. I’m so humbled.”
Blumenaur was thrilled by Flowers’ success. In an interview with the Associated Press, he stated, “He’s just an outstanding candidate for the Rhodes. He’s a very quick study, very good wth people, an incisive listener who is able to translate that back to people who contact him and to the staff in our office. We’re excited for him, and we’re excited for what he’s going to do when he’s back.
Flowers plans to earn degrees in Comparative Social Policy and Public Policy in order to give back to his hometown, Portland. “Portland is home for me and will always be home for me. I was born and raised here in the heart of Northeast Portland. I want to set up permanent shop here. I’ll be gone for a couple years, but then I’ll be right back here.”
Working in the medical field is certainly stressful and reducing the strain of saving lives is much needed by doctors, nurses, and other such workers. Most will turn to the average stress relievers such as exercise and reading; however, a certain group of doctors joins together once a month to blow off steam in in a much more nonconventional way: through a band called the Providence Hospital Stage Band.
The band formed in the 1960’s and has remained strong in Portland, Oregon for over half a century. Larry Morrell, the music director of the band, said in an interview with Oregon Live: “They [the players] all started playing music in high school. Maybe they were in a rock group or the school band. At a certain point, they had to get serious about making a living. They knew music wasn’t the way. They were drawn to medicine and went to college and then to medical school. They never lost their love of music.”
Dr. Mark Loveless, a guitarist in the band, is a testament to how the band has brought doctors together to diffuse the stress while enjoying a much-loved hobby. Loveless was part of a team working on HIV research. “Early in your career, you quickly find out you can’t do it all alone,” he stated. “In our HIV research, I was part of a great team. When we did something good for a patient, the team celebrated. I feel the same way when I don’t make mistakes in the bad. I’ve done my part.”
The band has a variety of gigs around the Portland area, including a dance party for disabled adults and a prom for dental students. The Providence Hospital Stage Band will be performing on December 2nd at the Oregon Convention Center in the Providence Festival of Trees.