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The History of Abortion in the Beaver State

The history of abortion in Oregon is sadly consistent. We are the only state in America with zero protective pro-life laws. Oregon also legalized abortion several years before Roe v. Wade was decided.

In 1969, Oregon became one of the first states to legalize abortion. Senate Bill 193 (SB193) legalized abortion during the first 150 days of pregnancy. SB193 allowed a licensed physician to perform an abortion on an Oregon resident in the following circumstances:

  • The baby has a physical or mental handicap
  • The baby was conceived by rape or other criminal intercourse
  • The pregnancy poses a substantial risk to the mother’s physical or mental health

SB193 also required all abortions to be performed by a physician and in a hospital. Before any abortion took place, two physicians had to certify in writing that the woman’s circumstances justified the abortion.

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. These cases legalized abortion on-demand in America from conception to birth. 

In 1983, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 397 to repeal the 1969 law, along with all its restrictions on abortion. Pro-abortion Democrats have held executive and legislative power in Oregon for decades since Roe. For a period of 15 years between 1991 to 2006, pro-life legislators held some power in one or both chambers of the Oregon Legislature and allowed pro-life bills to be passed. This legislation was always vetoed by the governor and there were not enough pro-life votes to override. Since Roe, Oregon has not elected a pro-life governor.

In 2017, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 3391 which forces insurance companies operating in Oregon to fully cover abortion procedures with no co-pay or deductible. The law also expanded taxpayer funding of abortion, effectually making abortion free in Oregon.

That being said, abortion statistics are improving. Birth rates in Oregon have stayed constant but the number of abortions have dropped by almost half since 1980 from nearly 16,000 abortions to just over 8,500. Oregon has also seen the number of abortion clinics drop dramatically. The best data available shows as many as 60 abortion clinics located in Oregon in 1982. The number of abortion clinics in Oregon today stands at 12.We must continue to oppose broadening of our abortion laws. However, the pro-life message is having a greater impact on our culture and is resulting in more mothers feeling supported and choosing life.

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