After six eventful months, the 2023 legislative session is over.
During the session, we were deeply engaged with the legislative process. We worked alongside legal counsel and legislators to review and craft legislation, actively tracked over 50 bills, and watched hours of committee work sessions. We consulted legislative staff about communications, drafting and providing talking points and messaging for legislators, and met individually to help legislators advocate for life. And, when the most significant bills were opened up for public comment, we arranged expert testimony, and brought hundreds of pro-life advocates to the Capitol.
Here’s our roundup of some of the most significant bills to the pro-life movement:
- Senate Judicial Resolution 33 failed in committee. SJR 33 would have enshrined abortion up to the moment of birth in the Oregon Constitution—something few actually want. It also would’ve chipped away at conscience protections for health care employees opposed to abortion. It was a grab-bag of abortion industry priorities and clearly intended to placate allies of pro-abortion policies.
- HB 2002 was substantially amended. What would have cast Oregon far outside the mainstream ended up changing very little. House Bill 2002 was originally a radical expansion of abortion targeted at children. It required abortion providers to withhold information from a child’s parents if she has an abortion. It also allowed the provision of abortion to children without parental knowledge regardless of age. But it the amendments made because of the walkout eliminated the most egregious provisions. Oregon is still the most extreme state in the country on abortion, but the amendments to HB 2002 were a big win, thanks to pro-life leaders in both chambers.
- HB 3646 passed, which will extend the time for women to safely surrender an infant. Pregnancy and parenting are challenging, and many new mothers feel a ton of pressure and fear. Every state in the U.S. has safe surrender (AKA “safe haven”) laws allowing mothers to surrender their newborn to the protection of the state, but Oregon’s is rarely used. SB 1099 promotes this life-saving alternative by raising awareness about Oregon’s safe surrender law and extending the period during which it can be used.
- House Bill 2279, repealing the residency requirement for physician-assisted suicide, passed. Sadly, the deadly reach of assisted suicide is now extended to vulnerable people everywhere.
- Senate Bill 891 failed in committee. The senate assisted-suicide bill was far worse than its counterpart in the House. In addition to repealing the residency requirement, it:
- removed the 15-day waiting period,
- allowed just 48 hours to acquire a deadly prescription,
- eliminated the requirement for a medical examination,
- allowed a health care facility employee or even owner to be a legal witness to an assisted suicide,
- and expanded the role of assisting in suicide to non-physicians.
These were hard-won victories in the legislature, but the reality in Oregon is that circumstances haven’t improved for those endangered by abortion and physician-assisted suicide. We will continue to advocate for vulnerable people whose rights are abridged under current laws.