- - Monday, July 17, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Oregon’s state motto is “Alis volat propriis,” Latin for “She flies with her own wings.” It’s nice sentiment, full of boast and swagger, but the bird aspires to be a cuckoo, with two left wings making it difficult to fly straight.

This month Oregon became the first state, after the District of Columbia, which is definitely not a state, to make gender-neutral driver’s licenses available to the tiny number of sexually confused Oregonians who want them.

If that isn’t cuckoo enough, Oregon is poised to become the first state to require insurance companies to provide “free” abortions as a guaranteed benefit, without co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles. There’s more. The state would provide publicly funded abortions for income-eligible illegal immigrants and transgendered Oregonians, the latter presumably inspired by a Time magazine essay about “my brother’s pregnancy.” The jokes write themselves, but the jokes are not so funny to Oregonian taxpayers who will pick up the tab for House Bill 3391, which carries a $10.2 million cost.

HB 3391, the imaginatively named Reproductive Health Equity Act, ensures that all Oregonians receive “the full range of preventative reproductive health services at no out-of-pocket cost — regardless of their income, citizenship status, gender identity, or type of insurance.”

This legislation passed both houses of the Oregon legislature without a single Republican vote. One Democrat voted “no.”

The legislation now goes to Gov. Kate Brown, an openly bisexual Democrat, who is eager to sign it into law.

“Attempts to deny access to contraceptives and family planning are an attack on all Oregonians, particularly women of color, low-income and young women,” the governor says. HB 3391 also defies the consciences and deeply held religious beliefs of hundreds of thousands of Oregonians. The governor has not said anything about those.

The Reproductive Health Equity Act might more accurately be called the Planned Parenthood Financial Shot-in-the-Arm Act. Planned Parenthood’s Oregon affiliate helped draft the measure and pushed for its passage.

Oregon has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the United States, but Planned Parenthood’s Oregon affiliate is reeling. Four abortion clinics have been closed and the number of abortions in the state dropped 15 percent between 2011 and 2014, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the onetime research arm of Planned Parenthood. This inevitably damages Planned Parenthood’s thriving business in selling the body parts of aborted babies.

“We are both a sanctuary state for illegal aliens, and we are a sanctuary state for taxpayer-subsidized abortion,” says state Sen. Dennis Linthicum, a Republican. “We should not be showering politically well-connected abortion clinics with political gift cards under the guise of ‘equity.’ That is totally discreditable.”

Oregon voters may get the final word. Oregon, with its very, very liberal abortion laws (and about to become even more so) also has one of the easiest methods of organizing a referendum on the work of a legislature. However, HB 3391 was cleverly written with an “emergency” clause, preventing opponents of HB 3391 from being able to put it to a people’s veto vote.This clause will make the bill law once signed by the governor. Once law, HB 3391 can only be reversed in a future legislative session or through the difficult initiative process.

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