Oregon starts the 2021 legislative session on January 19. After the general election, the Oregon House pro-life caucus grew by two. Joining them are three other pro-life first-time representatives. Together with the seasoned pro-life legislators in the House and Senate, Oregon Right to Life will be pushing three pieces of life-affirming legislation.Each bill listed below will be introduced in both chambers of the Oregon Legislature.
Born-Alive Infants Protection Bill
Oregon has no legal protections for infants who are born alive during abortion procedures. The 2002 Federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act defines infants who survive abortion as persons, but it does not guarantee them any legal rights. The Centers for Disease Control reports that an estimated 143 infants were born alive nationwide during attempted abortion procedures between 2003 and 2014. None are known to have survived.
This proposed bill requires abortion providers to deliver life-saving care for a baby born alive during an abortion. Healthcare practitioners would also be required to ensure the baby is transported to a hospital.
Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Bill
Oregon has no legal protections for unborn babies, even when able to feel pain. Over the last nine years, there has been substantial evidence that babies are capable of feeling pain by at least 20 weeks’ gestation.
This bill would prohibit abortion providers from performing abortions after 18 weeks, except under very limited circumstances. The abortion providers’ reports are to be reviewed by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). OHA may revoke or suspend the license of any healthcare practitioner who violates the law.
Advance Directive Principal Protection Bill
On February 27, 2018, the governor signed HB 4135 into law. This bill changed how an Oregonian at the end of their lives is protected through their advance directive. Consequently, the law now gives a healthcare representative the authority to make life-ending decisions. Under the current law, the healthcare representative has the power to remove access to food and water, even if this drastic step is not the express wish of the person they represent.This bill would restrain the healthcare representative’s broad decision-making power. It would require a person to specifically grant authority in writing (in a separate section of the advance directive) allowing the representative to make decisions on withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining procedures or artificially-administered nutrition and hydration.