Here’s What Happened in the 2021 Legislative Session

Sharolyn Smith

With the Oregon Capitol closed to the public for the entire 81st Oregon Legislative Assembly, this session was a challenge for all advocacy groups. It was particularly challenging for pro-lifers and other groups that are not welcome with the unified Democrat control of both the House, Senate and governor’s office.

Now that that session is over, here is a summary of this session’s pro-life and pro-choice bills and what happened to them.

Pro-Life Gains

In this session, our pro-life legislators introduced the Born Alive Infant Protection Act with SB 586 and HB 2699. This legislation protects infants who survive an abortion, requiring that they be given life-saving medical care.

After the House and Senate Health Care Committees failed to have a public hearing on this critical legislation, pro-life legislators bravely pulled it to the floors of both chambers. They forced pro-abortion Democrats to put a vote on the record about infanticide. Every Democrat voted against protecting these babies, while every Republican voted to protect them.

Early on, our lobbying team identified HB 2121 as an extremely dangerous bill. It would remove the prohibition on naturopath doctors performing abortions. We made sure our key pro-life legislators were prepared. As a result, this radical legislation was not even considered in committee.

We also introduced legislation to prevent abortions when babies can feel pain and fix Oregon’s pro-death advance directive (more on that later). Our pro-life advocates in the legislature worked hard, but the bills ultimately were ignored by the supermajority.

Pro-Life Challenges

SJR 12 referred to voters a constitutional amendment that creates a right to taxpayer-funded health care. We will ask Oregonians to vote no in November 2022.

Despite opposition from our pro-life legislators, SB 199 passed both chambers of the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. This bill updated Oregon’s advance directive form in positive and negative ways. The good news: the form is now clearer and easier to understand without the aid of an attorney.

Unfortunately, they also added more language that suggests those facing major health challenges have nothing to live for and should not request life-sustaining care. We are preparing to educate and equip citizens with Conclusions Oregon (Oregon Right to Life’s advance directive project; see to protect their lives via a pro-life advance directive.

Another significant challenge was the passage of HB 2362. Planned Parenthood brought this legislation forward to target religiously-affiliated health care providers. It grants the Oregon Health Authority more power to regulate their business decisions if they impact “reproductive health care” — which includes abortion.

We also plan to monitor HB 3035. Originally, this legislation was a direct attempt to provide more abortions to women in Oregon’s prisons. It was substantially amended before it passed. Now it creates a task force to study health care in our state’s prisons.

We are so thankful to have your support during this legislative session. It certainly underscored the importance of voting pro-life in every election.


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