Public Funding for Abortion

Full Report

Executive Summary
Press Release

 

Draft City Club Report Recommends Oregon Not Ban Public Funding for Abortion Services

Cutting off funding for abortion services and insurance that covers abortion would reduce access for the neediest Oregonians.

(Portland, Ore.) The City Club of Portland today released a draft research report that recommends Oregon not ban public funding for abortion services. Petition backers this year did not turn in signatures to place the amendment on the ballot. Yet given national attention to this and similar laws as well as the fact that such measures have appeared on the Oregon ballot in the past, this issue could easily come up again. City Club therefore released this report to inform discussion about future such efforts.

A committee of eight City Club member-volunteers spent four months studying the issue. Had the proposed constitutional amendment appeared on the ballot, the member-volunteer committee that studied it would have recommended a “No” vote.

The committee interviewed witnesses on both sides of the issue and reviewed relevant documents. The full draft report, which includes a witness list and bibliography, is available online at http://www.pdxcityclub.org/public-funding-abortion.

“Given Oregon’s historic support of equal access to abortion services, and the barriers to access that IP 6 creates, your committee does not support the initiative,” the report states.

The committee unanimously concluded that the amendment would reduce equal access to abortion services for lower-income women and public employees. It contains no explicit exceptions for cases of rape, incest or health. It also would ultimately cost Oregonians millions because more women on the Oregon Health Plan or state-sponsored insurance would carry their pregnancy to term or develop additional health complications because they could not afford an abortion.

The committee was particularly opposed to placing the ban in the State Constitution.

“If this sort of hot-button social controversy lands in the Oregon Constitution, it would be difficult to remove or modify, even if a majority of Oregonians wished to do so,” Committee Chair Maurice Rahming said. “The measure contained a number of undefined terms that would have unforeseen consequences for healthcare in the state, and it would be detrimental to low-income women of color especially.”

Member-volunteers who served on the committee were Maurice Rahming (chair), Brandi Tuck (vice-chair), Ryan Fox-Lee (lead writer), Muriel Lezak, Erica Hiller, Nonda Hanneman, Steve Dotherer and Emmaly Beck. Jennifer Rollins served as the committee’s research adviser.

City Club members will debate and vote on this and nine other election-related recommendations at a “Ballot-Palooza” from 5:30pm to 9:00pm on Wednesday, August 20 at the Village Ballroom at the Oregon Public House (700 NE Dekum St.). The event will be open to the public, but only City Club members may vote on the recommendations. For more information on the event visit: http://bit.ly/BallotPalooza2014. Outcomes of the votes will be published on the City Club of Portland's website and reported in the City Club Bulletin, released August 26.

City Club member-volunteers have researched more than 400 state and local ballot measures since 1916. City Club’s Research Board screened all researcher applicants for conflicts of interest, and participants affirmed that they are unbiased on the ballot measure they sought to study.

City Club of Portland brings together civic-minded people to make Portland and Oregon better places to live, work and play for everyone. For more information about City Club of Portland, visit www.pdxcityclub.org or call 503-228-7231. Follow us on twitter @pdxcityclub and on facebook.

Committee Members

Member-volunteers who served on the committee were Maurice Rahming (chair), Brandi Tuck (vice-chair), Ryan Fox-Lee (lead writer), Muriel Lezak, Erica Hiller, Nonda Hanneman, Steve Dotherer and Emmaly Beck. Jennifer Rollins served as the committee’s research adviser.