Abortion politics

Two recent newsworthy items on the choice issue.

First, last week Grayson Dempsey executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon  wrote in the Oregonian that Republican candidate for Governor Representative Knute Buehler wasn’t “pro choice” because he didn’t adhere to a specific set of NARAL policies and he voted against a Democratic bill that expanded taxpayer funding of abortion services.

Buehler identifies himself as pro choice because he believes women have a right to choose an abortion. That has always been the standard definition of whether someone was pro choice or anti abortion. But that is no longer enough for NARAL. They are attempting to redefine pro choice. Possibly so pro choice Republicans will be seen as unacceptable to moderate social liberals.

Second, a new Oregon law will assure that anyone seeking an abortion will pay no cost. This is the bill that Buehler voted against.

Under the Affordable Care Act abortion services must be covered by all health insurance policies though insurers can charge a co-pay. Under the new Oregon law, the state will require health plans to cover 100% of abortion services with no co-pay and will pay for the entire procedure if the patient has no coverage.

The Affordable Care Act does require free, no co-pay medical services in some cases. But the list is limited to preventive care and wellness. Oregon is now treating abortion similarly to no co-pay care wellness and prevention services.

Taking these two developments together

Pew Research polling finds that

  • 25% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all cases.
  • 33% believe it should be legal  only in “most” cases.
  • 40% believe it should be illegal in all or most cases.
  • 2% are undetermined

The traditional definition of pro-choice  includes those who believed abortion should be legal in all and most cases – 65% – and it’s why we can say that the US is a pro-choice country. But if you only support abortion in “most cases” that fails the Oregon NARAL new pro choice definition test.  Add to that the number of Oregon voters who may believe it should be available in all cases, but oppose 100% taxpayer funding then using NARAL’s definition, it’s likely a lot less than 25% of Oregonians meet Oregon NARALs definition of “pro choice”

In an obvious attempt to drive a wedge between Knute Buehler and moderate and independent voters, Oregon NARAL has just defined many Oregon voters as anti choice and Oregon as an anti choice state. What the GOP, the Oregon Family Council and Oregon Right to Life has been trying to do for decades has been accomplished by NARAL almost overnight.

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