Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Oregon’s money woes include illegal abortion funding

Abortion | State report finds officials approved nearly $2 million in federal tax funds to kill unborn babies
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 11/27/17, 03:10 pm

Oregon officials have misspent about $152 million in taxpayer money, including $1.8 million in federal funds allocated for abortions, according to a new report.

Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen recently notified Gov. Kate Brown of the state’s overpayments to contractors or other entities, according to The Oregonian. The initial report, made at Brown’s behest, showed $74 million in overpayments from 2014 to 2016. The state may have overspent an additional $78 million.

The bulk of the funds went to unauthorized Medicaid payments, including $25.7 million for healthcare costs for illegal immigrants. Accounting and budgeting errors amounted to an additional $34 million owed to the state or never used. The state likely will have to repay tens of millions of dollars to the federal government, including the $1.8 million spent on abortion.

Oregon Right to Life director Lois Anderson told me that while it’s not clear how long the state has had a spending problem, she suspects it’s been years. The money spent on abortion, she said, is “very indicative of what has become a very cozy political relationship between Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry and the political leadership that we have in Oregon.” Anderson added, “It’s a pattern that I hope for the sake of all of us in Oregon will stop soon. They should be taking better care of our tax dollars.”

Oregon recently passed a law that forces health insurance plans to cover all costs of contraception and abortion and allocates $500,000 to cover contraception and abortions for illegal immigrants. 

Implementation of that law helped uncover some of the hefty Medicaid overpayments for illegal immigrants, Allen stated in his letter to Brown. As state employees examined the numbers, they realized women in the country illegally may have received healthcare after they had their babies. Immigrants are only eligible for Medicaid payments for emergency room visits and prenatal and delivery care.

Until the state’s leadership changes, Anderson doesn’t expect Oregon’s financial woes to disappear. But she remains optimistic the recent publicity will spark some governmental accountability: “There’s a balance of understanding the political reality of Oregon, but also being hopeful that now that it’s been exposed that there would at least be some motivation to change it and to stop illegally spending federal dollars.”

Creative Commons/American Life League Creative Commons/American Life League Pro-life advocates participate in the 2015 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

CDC numbers show abortion rates drop

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its 2014 abortion surveillance report last week, showing another drop in abortions nationwide. 

Abortionists reported performing 652,639 abortions in 2014, down from 664,434 in 2013. Abortion numbers have been dropping for decades, both in total figures and in the ratio to live births.

For every 1,000 mothers who carried their babies to term, 186 chose abortion in 2014, a 7 percent decrease from 2013. Most mothers who abort are in their 20s, and more than half of women who have abortions already have children. 

Women ages 30-34 account for 17 percent of abortions, and girls ages 15-19 follow at 10 percent. Women older than 40 had more abortions than in previous years, but all other age groups saw a decline in the number of abortions. 

Chemical abortions account for almost one-quarter of the reported procedures, 22.6 percent. The CDC did not report how many women died due to abortion complications in 2014. —S.G.

Creative Commons/Michael Coghlan Creative Commons/Michael Coghlan The Parliament building in Victoria, Australia

Australian state likely to legalize euthanasia

After a lengthy debate, the Upper House in Australia’s Victoria state narrowly passed a bill to legalize euthanasia, sending it back to the Lower House with amendments.

The bill, approved 22-18 by the Senate, would allow Victoria residents to die by lethal injection if they have just six months to live, are over 18, and have suffering that “cannot be relieved in a manner the person deems tolerable.” The bill has an exception for people with certain conditions, like multiple sclerosis, who could end their lives within a 12-month time frame.

The Lower House, which passed the bill by a wide margin last month, will consider the amended version this week. 

Euthanasia has remained illegal in Australia for 20 years, but with the backdrop of Victoria’s likely success legalizing it, Green Party leader Richard Di Natale is expected to push for a national bill to legalize the practice next year. Meanwhile, lawmakers in New South Wales defeated a euthanasia bill earlier this month by a narrow margin. —S.G.

Activists walk free

Six pro-life activists walked free last week after their arrest during a September “Red Rose Rescue” at an abortion center in Alexandria, Va. 

The activists, who include two Catholic priests, talked to women inside the center and handed them red roses attached to a card with information on local pregnancy resource centers. When they ignored requests to leave the facility, police arrested them and charged them with trespassing and obstructing justice. 

A judge last week dismissed the obstruction charges, declined to order jail time, and gave the activists suspended fines of $500 if they stay away from the abortion center and avoid other criminal activity. 

“Babies are dying, and that is why we did what we did,” Priests for Life associate Stephen Imbarrato said after the trial, adding he was “very happy” with the ruling. —S.G.

Conflicting buffer zone rulings

A federal judge ruled earlier this month in favor of a Pittsburgh ordinance keeping pro-life protesters at least 15 feet away from abortion centers. The challenge to the 2005 ordinance began in 2014 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 35-foot buffer zone law in Massachusetts. 

Pro-life advocates outside the Pittsburgh center reported being able to speak with women and sometimes convince them to carry their babies to term. But they argued they could do more if allowed to walk all the way to the door with the women. Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the plaintiffs, said it may appeal the decision. 

Meanwhile, a federal court in New Jersey nixed an 8-foot buffer zone in Englewood that barred pro-life speech near abortion centers. District Judge Susan Wigenton ruled the City of Englewood ordinance violates the First Amendment, citing the Massachusetts case. —S.G.

Euthanasia coffin

Sadly, anyone interested in committing suicide by suffocation in a sleek, 3-D printed pod soon may be able to do just that with Australian euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke’s newly invented Sarco capsule. The death pod uses liquid nitrogen to lower the oxygen level and kill the person inside—and doubles as a coffin. Nitschke plans to make the capsule’s design specifications available for free online, so that anyone can have one printed and assembled. —S.G.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

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