Oregon Republicans Crush Radical Abortion Measure, Risk Political Careers in 6-Week Walkout

PORTLAND, OR - JUNE 24: A girl holds a sign reading "My body my choice" as people gather t
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Oregon Senate Republicans successfully pushed state Democrats into eliminating a portion of a proposed bill that would have allowed minors to obtain abortions without parental consent.

Democrats threw out the radical provision of HB 2002 after Republican state senators launched “the longest walkout in state history” — a six-week peaceful protest that could put the political careers of at least ten GOP lawmakers at risk under a ballot measure passed by voters last year, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reported.

Republicans ended their walkout on Thursday, after reaching a deal to “water down” the Democrat-led bills on abortion, guns, and several other issues.

“As a result of the deal, hammered out over hours of negotiation since last Friday, many priorities both parties put forward for this session remain achievable. And the Legislature will be able to pass a new two-year budget that contains record funding for schools, new money for mental health services and funding to help address a crisis in public defense, among many other things,” according to the report.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp (R) told reporters that he thinks “the Democrat majority yielded a lot” and that “essentially…everybody got some of what they wanted, and everybody got some of what they didn’t want.”

“Senate Republicans and Independents stood firm as the last line of defense for parental rights and the rule of law. I am incredibly proud of their steadfast determination to give their constituents a long over-due seat at the table,” Knopp said in a statement. 

“We have said from the very beginning that we cannot allow the Senate to operate in an unlawful, uncompromising, and unconstitutional manner. We repeatedly urged Democrat leaders to put the critical needs of all Oregonians first instead of prioritizing an extreme agenda that does nothing but divide us,” he continued. “I am pleased to say that we were able to hold the Democrat Majority accountable and accomplish all these things. We achieved constitutional, lawful bipartisanship. And parental right were restored.”

Democrat Senate President Rob Wagner has refused to excuse Republicans’ absences from the walkout, which began on May 3.

“Though Democrats hold a slim majority, it is critically important that the voices of all Oregonians are heard in this process. We knew the risk we were taking, but we feel our challenge to Measure 113’s constitutionality is strong,” State Sen. Lynn Findley (R) said in a statement. “Some of our colleagues may disagree, but that is a battle for another day. Today, we are happy to deliver this win for Oregonians.”

Lawmakers ultimately agreed to keep in place a law that parental permission is required for minors under 15 to have an abortion. The requirement can be overridden if two health providers in separate medical practices find that informing parents would be harmful to the minor, according to the report.

Democrats also agreed to remove portions of the bill which would have expanded abortion services on university campuses and in rural areas.

“Other pieces of HB 2002 remain intact, including expanding what gender-affirming care must be covered by insurance plans and securing legal protections for providers who perform abortions for patients who come from states in which similar procedures would be illegal,” according to the report.

The agreement reached between the parties “marked a notably change in Democrats’ stance toward the walkout,” the report states. When the boycott first began, Democrats stated that they would not bargain over several pieces of extreme legislation, including HB 2002. However, Democrats eventually caved to Republicans at “the possibility of losing hundreds of other pieces of legislation,” the report states.


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