By Liberty Pike
Every other year, Oregon has a short legislative session which was originally intended to handle emergencies and funding issues. Unfortunately, the Democrat supermajority in the Oregon Legislature doesn’t abide by those standards, like when they rammed through House Bill 4135 in 2018. (Read all about HB 4135 by googling “ORTL HB 4135.”)
This short session, we decided to tackle an emergency: Oregon’s horrendous lack of protection for unborn babies. We introduced two bills to begin to rectify this, including the Born Alive Infants Protection bill and the Pain-Capable Infants Protection bill.
Since elected Democrats, who are uniformly pro-choice in Oregon, have a supermajority in both the Oregon House and Senate, our odds were incredibly slim. With the help of pro-life legislators, we hoped to get as many Democrats as possible to vote on record on both bills.
Surveys show that eight out of 10 Americans are opposed to late-term abortion. That is roughly true here in Oregon too, with seven of 10 Oregonians opposed. Even more Oregonians (eight of 10) are opposed to abandoning babies born alive during or following abortion procedures.
With the numbers on our side, our staff went to work. We also asked Oregonians to contact their legislators, a call that was resoundingly answered. The Senate health care committee received more than 30,000 emails altogether.
Armed with the sheer volume of requests he had received, Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) submitted a letter to the chair of the committee, insisting the bill be given a public hearing.
Not surprisingly, the chairs of both committees refused to act. Some Democrat members went to outrageous lengths to obfuscate the issue for concerned Oregonians. The chief of staff for Senator Shemia Fagan (D-Portland)responded to one pro-life advocate asserting that the senator couldn’t do anything to help a bill receive a hearing. That’s categorically false. Committee members can always put pressure on the chairs to hold hearings on bills. It’s common practice in the Capitol.
Our next plan was to have our pro-life legislators call for floor votes of the bill. Unfortunately, the legislators all had to participate in theå walkouts to protect the livelihoods of countless Oregonians.
We may not have accomplished all that we wanted in the short session. However, we are incredibly proud of the thousands of Oregonians who used their voices on behalf of those who cannot. Together we gave a heaping serving of education to many legislators and their aides. Next session, we’ll be back to do it again. And the next. For as many as it takes until Oregon’s laws are in line with human rights.