Proposed Nationwide Abortion Ban Highlights Importance of Oregon Election

Following the news of South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham introducing a national abortion ban the same day West Virgina joined 11 other states in outlawing abortion with few exceptions, Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon is cautioning that the stakes in this year’s election could not be higher for Oregon and the nation. 

For nearly three months, we’ve seen the devasting impacts of abortion bans across the country, where patients are fleeing to states like Oregon to access critical health care. Now, anti-abortion lawmakers are doubling down, hoping to pass a national abortion ban. 

For this election, abortion is on the ballot in every single state. Voters must know which candidates will defend their reproductive freedom and which hold views that do not align with the values of the vast majority of Oregonians. 

Anti-abortion Republicans are running for seats at all levels of goverment. They are endorsed by and working hand-in-hand with well-funded, extremist organizations whose singular goal is to ban abortion here in Oregon. 

In key Senate races, voters need look no further than these candidates’ legislative records to understand what is at stake. Senate District 10 candidate Raquel Moore-Green, Senate District 11 candidate Kim Thatcher, Senate District 16 candidate Suzanne Weber and Senate District 20 candidate Bill Kennemer all sponsored bills in past legislative sessions that would ban abortion. Kennemer and Thatcher have also voted against legislation for birth control coverage. 

Meanwhile, these competitive House candidates all went on record in the Oregon Family Council voter guide, released during the May primary election, to say they would support banning abortion in most cases: House District 20 candidate Dan Farrington, House District 21 candidate Kevin L. Mannix, House District 37 candidate Aeric Estep, House District 40 candidate Adam Baker and House District 52 candidate Jeff Helfrich.

They are not outliers among Republican House candidates. At a September 8th Salem Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum, House District 19 candidate TJ Sullivan said that he believes abortion protections fundamentally conflict with the Constitution and that he would support legislation to restrict abortion access. At the same forum, House District 22 candidate Tracy Cramer spread lies and misinformation about abortion to justify her support of making abortion illegal.

Maintaining pro-reproductive health majorities in the Legislature is essential, as is electing a Governor who is a bold, unapologetic champion for abortion rights. In this post-Roe vs. Wade world, Governors play a critical role in stopping anti-abortion legislation; appointing pro-reproductive health judges and agency heads; and passing proactive budgets and policies. In this election, Oregon voters will have a chance to elect Tina Kotek, who has a long record of protecting and expanding access to abortion. 

In contrast, Repbulican gubernatorial and Oregon Right to Life-endorsed candidate Christine Drazan is among the out-of-touch politicians frantically revising their websites to hide their positions on abortion. According to Axios, “Christine Drazan scrubbed her website’s issues page, which had previously touted pro-life bonafides.” Especially chilling, the Republican Governors’ Association is targeting purple states like Oregon and pouring money into the gubernatorial race to advance its nationwide agenda to ban abortion. 

“With these state and national bans, anti-abortion politicians are showing us exactly what they plan to do if they get power: They will continue doing everything they can to ban all abortion, throw healthcare providers and pregnant people in jail, and endanger the health and lives of pregnant people across the country. This is not what Oregonians want. The cruelty is the point, and we should take them at their word.” says An Do, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon. 

“The stakes have never been higher. This critical election is about power and control. The Supreme Court and anti-abortion politicians have stripped people of their constitutional right to abortion and the ability to make personal healthcare decisions. This November, voters are going to take control by electing reproductive health champions, up and down the ballot, who trust us to make our own decisions about our bodies, our lives and our futures.”

Voters are energized and motivated to turn out to protect abortion rights. In the first election since the Supreme Court ended Roe, abortion was on the ballot in Kansas, and the state residents came out in droves to protect their reproductive freedom. 

According to new USA Today poll, abortion rights is the second-highest issue on voters’ minds when asked to name the most important issue affecting their vote for Congress in November. A Gallup poll cites abortion as a top-five issue for voters this cycle — the highest ranking since Gallup began tracking mentions of abortion in 1984. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that 74% of U.S. adults report abortion access as important to their midterm vote, with 55% saying it’s “very important.” Four in 10 voters (43%) say the Supreme Court decision will make them more motivated to vote, up six points since May.