by Alex Yun
November 5, 2018
Midterm elections have typically been regarded as a referendum on the incumbent president and congressional majorities. The nation usually looks to key Senate and House races to see who will attain the majority. However, state elections, especially ballot measures to amend Constitutions, are often overlooked. For me, growing up in the state of Oregon, midterms typically meant a fair amount of disappointment, as conservatives and pro-lifers normally have a tough time winning in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, I can’t remember the last time that a conservative or a Republican won a major election in my home state. Both Senators from Oregon, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, are some of the most left-leaning Democrats in the Senate today—both have a 0 percent rating with FRC Action in Congress’ last session.
Similarly, my Republican congressional candidate has consistently been outvoted by the liberal cities in my district. While there may not be many choices for elected office for pro-lifers in the Pacific Northwest to get excited about, you might be surprised to hear that Oregon voters will have an opportunity to vote for a pro-life ballot initiative this election: Measure 106.
Oregon Measure 106 would amend the Oregon Constitution to prevent taxpayer funds from paying for abortions, with a few exceptions. The ballot language states: “The state shall not spend public funds for any abortion, except when medically necessary or as may be required by federal law.” If the measure attains a majority of votes, Oregon will become the 27th state to make state health care funded abortions illegal. This would be a massive victory for pro-life voters. Oregon is one of the most lenient states in the country when it comes to abortion. Unlike the majority of other states, Oregon allows partial birth abortions, has no waiting period, has no limit on how old the baby is at the time of the abortion, and allows minors to receive abortions without a parent’s consent. Oregon doesn’t even require that the person performing the abortion be a licensed physician. Thus, Measure 106 would be a potent tool in stemming the tide of one of the United State’s most radically pro-abortion states.
Oregon isn’t the only state with a pro-life ballot measure before the voters. Two other states, Alabama and West Virginia, have measures of their own on the 2018 ballot. Alabama’s Amendment 2 makes it state policy to “recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life,” it “ensures the protection of the rights of the unborn child,” and states that “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion.” Similarly, West Virginia’s Amendment 1 adds language to their Constitution stating that “nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” If either or both of these measures pass, it will send a strong signal to the rest of the nation that outlawing abortion is something that is possible—if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
In the event that Roe is overturned, Alabama and West Virginia’s proposed amendments would make it that much easier to make abortion illegal in those states. Similarly, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota all have laws which would make abortion illegal the second that Roe is overturned, and nine more states have bans on abortion that even predate Roe. Seven more states intend to ban abortion should the case be overturned. Even if these amendments have no affect for years to come on their own, they would become the highest laws in each state if or when Roe is overturned.
Liberals are, understandably, appalled at this idea. Vox reports that they are “quite confident that Kavanaugh is a vote to overturn Roe” and that “[a]fter that point, all bets are off.” Similarly, Hillary Clinton tweeted the following:
If Brett Kavanaugh becomes a Supreme Court justice, will he help gut or overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in America? Yes, of course he will.
The Left is scared to death that Roe v. Wade could be overturned. That’s because they know that keeping the Supreme Court is the only way they can ensure abortion remains legal. Should Roe be overturned, the question will then become a state issue. Imagine the message it would send to the nation if voters in Alabama, Oregon, and West Virginia were able to pass pro-life amendments to their state constitutions. How many states would then be emboldened to pass similar measures themselves? How many lives would be saved? In the end, every vote for pro-life legislation is a step toward an America in which all life is cherished and loved as it was intended to be.
Alex Yun is an intern at FRC Action.