Meet The Man Who’s Trying To Stop Oregon From Funding Abortions

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Grace Carr Reporter
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Oregon is the only U.S. state that does not restrict abortion, but one Oregon man is trying to change things with a pro-life initiative.

Graphic designer Jeff Jimerson, the spearhead of an initiative that will bar the state from providing Medicaid funding for abortions to low-income women, has been fighting for six years to get his proposal onto the state’s ballot and has nearly done it. Jimerson has captured 117,000 signatures, and looks to secure at least 118,000 — the number required to place the proposal on November 2018’s ballot — in the coming months.

With little money or political repute, Jimerson’s initiative is a long shot, but he remains undeterred.

“I think it has more support than you might expect in a state like Oregon,” Jimerson said, according to OPB. “There’s a lot of libertarians here, there’s a lot of people here who are sort of like, ‘Hands off, I don’t care what you do, just don’t make me pay for it.'”

Planned Parenthood is pushing back hard against Jimerson’s initiative. “Abortion is health care, and as we know here in Oregon, we believe everyone deserves access to the health care they need,” said Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon interim leader Laurel Swerdlow. She explained that the advocacy group will assemble a coalition to fight Jimerson’s initiative, which the organization views as harmful to women.

Oregon law requires insurance companies to cover all abortions, no matter the cost or reason for the abortion. While federal law prevents the state from funding abortion outright, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown signed a law in August 2017 mandating that insurance companies provide free abortions. The state has no abortion restrictions that are common in many other states, such as mandatory waiting periods, parental consent and funding limitations. Oregon also provides abortion coverage for illegal immigrants. (RELATED: SIGNED: Abortion Is Free For All In Oregon)

Oregon Right to Life, the largest pro-life group in the state, refused to fund Jimerson’s measure largely because similar measures have been defeated in the past, OPB reported.

If Jimerson can rally enough pro-lifers to sign his petition, Oregon could vote to defund abortion for low-income persons.

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