The campaign to force deny poor women and girls access to abortion services through funding restrictions was the first initiative campaign to file a measure for the November 2018 general election. Proponents filed a proposed constitutional amendment on 27 June 2016 that would not only prohibit direct state funding for abortion services but would also prevent public funding of insurance plans that offer abortion coverage.
The proponents submitted the following as their proposed summary explanation of the amendment for the petitions to carry:
DRAFT BALLOT TITLE
The effect of these sorts of restrictions cannot be understated, as they would turn Oregon further into a two-class health care system, where poor women and girls would be even further burdened by restrictions on access to the same services that wealthy women can obtain. The Guttmacher Institute, the nation's premier researchers on reproductive health, have published an excellent summary of the forced-birth movement's campaign to use backdoor methods, such as insurance funding restrictions, to reduce access to abortions nationally. Although Oregon is currently among the states without abortion restrictions, the state level Hyde amendment proposed in this initiative would reverse that completely.
. . . old enough to know if it's unsafe to tell a parent about an abortion
Alaskan Top Court Voids Parental Notice Law for Teens Seeking Abortion
Friday, July 22, 2016 - 1:45pm -- ACLU
NEW YORK - The Alaska Supreme Court today found unconstitutional a law requiring physicians to notify a parent, guardian, or custodian of a minor seeking an abortion. Today’s decision comes less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt — the most significant abortion-related ruling from the Court in more than two decades.
The Alaska Supreme Court struck down the requirement, finding that there was no basis on which to distinguish between minors seeking abortion and minors carrying to term – burdening only minors seeking abortion therefore violates the equal protection guarantees of the Alaska Constitution.
“A young woman seeking an abortion doesn’t need additional hurdles. She needs a doctor,” said Joshua A. Decker, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska. “We have a responsibility to keep our daughters safe, and this law doesn’t do that. Healthy families don’t need government mandates to communicate. Instead, young women from families in crisis and young women in fear need safe, prompt, confidential health care, free of government-imposed restrictions.”
The evidence in Alaska shows that most young women seeking an abortion involve a parent. But some young women live in an abusive home, or a home where it would not be safe to disclose a pregnancy. The law would have required a young woman to go through a complicated legal process to persuade a judge to allow her to have an abortion without parental involvement — forcing abortions later in pregnancy, if the young woman could access the procedure at all.
"Today’s decision provides important protection to the safety and well-being of young women who need to end a pregnancy," said Janet Crepps, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. "The reality is that some young women face desperate circumstances and potentially violent consequences if they are forced to bring their parents into their reproductive health decisions. This law would have deprived these vulnerable women of their constitutional rights and put them at risk of serious harm.”
Mandatory parental involvement laws like Alaska’s are opposed by state and national medical experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics because they do not foster healthy communication, and in fact can be very detrimental to the health and safety of young women. In fact, the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Adolescent Medicine have all advocated for the need to protect minor’s access to confidential reproductive health services.
“We applaud the court for ruling to protect the health and safety of young women in Alaska,” said Christine Charbonneau, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. “We all want teens to be safe — and the sad truth is that some teens live in dangerous homes and can’t go to their parents. This law would prevent some of Alaska’s most vulnerable teens from accessing safe medical care.”
The plaintiffs in this challenge — Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands, Dr. Susan Lemagie and Dr. Jan Whitefield — are represented by a team that includes attorneys from the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood. An Alaska state court judge initially upheld part of the law and eventually allowed the notification requirement to go into effect while striking down other provisions.
Three activists seek 21st-Century reboot of Oregon's system for initiatives and referendums with their "Grassroots Petitioning Initiative"
Three Willamette Valley citizen activists filed an initiative petition for the 2018 election last Monday in hopes of using the pioneering early 20th-Century "Oregon System" -- America's first state system of initiatives and referendums -- to require the state to update the system for the internet era by allowing voters who can already register to vote online to sign petitions for initiatives and referendums the same way.
"This puts the power back into the hands of the people!"
The "Grassroots Petitioning Initiative" is the first Oregon statutory initiative for 2018. (See story below for the first constitutional amendment proposal for 2018.) It is the handiwork of three Willamette Valley citizen activists: David Carlson, Ashley Bardales, and Justin Brice who seem well-suited to recognizing the need to bring the initiative and referendum system into the digital era.
Carlson is a late-20s native Oregonian and now lives in Aloha while attending Portland State to get a bachelors degree in environmental studies. Bardales describes herself as "a single mother, a licensed hair stylist and a social justice activist." She worked in the "15Now" campaign to raise the wage to $15 an hour and that succeeded in getting Oregon to blaze another trail, a sharp increase in the minimum wage in the Willamette Valley with lesser increases in more rural counties. Bardales has also been a canvasser for over a decades and has worked on campaigns to register young voters, as well as fundraising for national and local environmental organizations. Brice, from rural California, appears to be the most tech-savvy of the three; he is a geographic information systems (GIS) Technician with Conservation Biology Institute in Corvallis who holds a BS in Wildlife Conservation from Humboldt State University and minor in Geospatial Sciences.
Currently, all three are registered as Democratic Party members. Brice wanted to be a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention; Bardales recently registered with the Democratic Party as well. Carlson, who describes himself as "currently" working with the Democratic Party is at the first rung of the ladder, having won election this year as a precinct committee person in Washington County, after having served as an intern during the 2015 legislative session for Rep. Joe Gallegos. Carlson also credits the $15 minimum wage effort as instrumental in making him an activist, and he has branched out since then into activism around housing rights and anti-racism campaigns such as Black Lives Matter.
The three describe the grassroots petitioning initiative as a response to the capture of Oregon's pioneering initiative system by monied interests which has left Oregon's democracy "stunted . . . largely due to a lack of accessibility" in Bardales's view.