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Abortion-rights opponents focus their Oregon strategy on ‘late-term abortions’

Oregon State Capitol building, May 18, 2021.
Kristyna Wentz-Graff
Oregon State Capitol building, May 18, 2021.

Abortion rights opponents have begun to strategize about how they will move forward now that the Supreme Court has struck down Roe v. Wade.

Lois Anderson, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, told “Think Out Loud” Monday that her reaction to this ruling was one of joy. She said it was a “full-throated rejection of a decision that was wrongly decided in 1973.”

“There is no right to abortion in the Constitution,” Anderson said.

Anderson said Oregon Right to Life plans to bring a bill to state lawmakers to ban abortions later in pregnancy.

“What we intend to do here in Oregon, which we have been working on, which is to seek consensus with the majority of Oregonians who are very uncomfortable and do not want late-term abortions to be easily accessible in Oregon.”

She did not clarify how many weeks into a pregnancy it would focus on.

“Late-term abortion” is not clearly or consistently defined in the U.S., but is often used to describe abortions performed beyond 20 weeks, or around viability.

Data by the Guttmacher Institute and the CDC shows that abortions beyond 21 weeks comprise just more than 1% of all abortions, with nearly 90% of all abortions taking place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.

Anderson said she is “outraged” by state lawmakers creating the Reproductive Health Equity Fund. That program will help Oregonians and some who live out of state access abortion in Oregon.

“I think that utilizing tax dollars that hardworking Oregonians have paid to the government to provide services within our state need to stay within our state.”

Anderson says Oregon Right to Life’s focus will be in the state Legislature and the group has no plans to file a ballot measure or a lawsuit about any other abortion-related policy in the state.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Allison Frost