Here we go again. Five times, Oregon voters have rejected attempts to amend our state constitution to restrict a woman's access to abortion. We need to do it again this year by voting no on Measure 106 by Nov. 6.
Make no mistake, Measure 106 is a backdoor ban on abortion.
In 2017 Western States Center was proud to help lead the effort in Oregon to pass the Reproductive Health Equity Act. This made ours the first state in the country to expand and protect access to abortion, regardless of where a woman gets her insurance, she has the right to complete coverage for the full range of reproductive health services — including abortion.
Measure 106 is an attempt by extremists, emboldened by a regressive federal administration, to test whether exclusionary policies can take hold in Oregon. It would create disparity in health care coverage between private and public health insurance, and it would set a dangerous precedent of letting politics dictate which medical procedures the Oregon Health Plan can and can't cover.
This proposed ban on state funding for abortion would rob the most vulnerable women in our community of their right to decide for themselves whether or when to become a parent. No woman should be denied safe reproductive health care options because of how much money she has or how she is insured.
A right is not a right if you cannot afford to access it. We must vote no on Measure 106.
Measure 106 is an affront to Oregon values of justice and fairness, furthering the economic instability of already marginalized women, and making abortion less safe for these women. Communities of color and low-income families in Oregon already face barriers in accessing affordable housing and making ends meet. Denying access for women insured through the Oregon Health Plan to the full range of reproductive healthcare services can jeopardize their financial stability and push families deeper into poverty.
We must resoundingly defeat attacks on the reproductive freedoms which allow women to attain greater educational and employment opportunities that can help families thrive.
As movement leaders in gender justice, the Western States Center has worked hard to secure essential reproductive healthcare for Oregonians regardless of gender identity, immigration status or income. We know from 30 years of fighting back against hate groups that white supremacy is a system designed to maintain control of people of color, immigrants and the sexuality and reproductive rights of women and the LGBTQ community.
Oregon is in the crosshairs of extremists who aim to make our state a testing ground for their brand of divisiveness and bigotry. Newspaper editorial boards across Oregon have resoundingly urged voters to vote NO on Measure 106. Please join them and the more than 100 trusted civic, health, religious, women's rights, youth and social-justice organizations, businesses, and community leaders throughout Oregon in voting NO on Measure 106.
A woman's health should not depend on who she is, who she loves or how much money she makes. Together, let's keep working toward a more just and equitable future for all Oregonians. Join us in voting no on Measure 106.
Mariotta Gary-Smith is a board leader, and Amy Herzfeld-Copple is deputy director of programs for Portland's Western States Center.
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