What The West Coast Battle Against Abortion Might Really Be About

Over on the West Coast, abortion access can be taken for granted. Far more counties are likely to have a provider located within them, and for many abortion – yes, even elective abortion – is covered under insurance plans, through coverage bought on the state exchanges, and via Medicaid coverage. California has even made an effort to add providers by allowing trained nurses to do early first trimester vacuum aspiration procedures, and legislatures haven’t made the five year long commitment to curbing all access to pregnancy terminations that have happened in so many other states since 2011.

Still, access isn’t a guarantee, and for those who oppose abortion, there are still concerted efforts to chip away at that right. Two out of three West Coast states have launched statewide ballot initiatives in the hope that abortion could be popular vote issue in the 2016 election. In California, abortion opponents in the state would like to institute a mandatory 48 hour waiting period and parental notification requirement for any pregnant person under the age of 18. While such an effort has been made before, this time it has a backer with a higher profile–presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

“Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina is lending her support to the latest in a string of perennially unsuccessful California ballot measures to mandate parental notification for minors seeking abortion care in the Golden State,” reports Nicole Knight Shrine of RH RealityCheck. According to Knight Shrine, Fiorina launched robocalls across the state supporting the cause, which would “apply to unemancipated minors younger than 18. It would require a physician to notify a parent or legal guardian in writing and impose a 48-hour waiting period, among other mandates. Exceptions would be offered in documented and notarized cases of parental abuse, medical emergency, or through a court petition.” As Knight Shrine notes, similar measures have failed repeatedly in the state.

Oregon, too, is working again at launching a ballot initiative that has failed multiple times in the past. “An initiative to ban state funding of abortions has passed the first hurdle toward a place on the 2016 ballot,” reports the Portland Tribune. “Chief sponsor Jeff Jimerson of Corvallis was scheduled to announce Friday that his group, Oregon Life United, has gathered the 1,000 signatures needed to obtain a ballot title for the initiative. The group had garnered about 1,500 signatures as of early Friday. This marks the third time Jimerson has sought to send the initiative to voters. He failed to secure enough signatures in 2012 and 2014.” While Jimerson and supporters may have cleared an initial hurdle, the 1500 signatures represent just over 1 percent of the 117,578 valid signatures needed just to get the funding ban onto the ballot for a vote, and then must still get the approval of half of those who cast a ballot in 2016.

If activists from either state do manage to get these initiatives onto the ballot, though, it has the potential to be a huge political boon to those who oppose abortion, and not necessarily because those restrictionswould pass. In both cases the majority of the general population tends to be supportive of abortion access, so the likelihood of success in passing restrictions this way is fairly minimal. What this could do, instead, is draw more conservative voters out to cast ballots in 2016, especially in areas so predominately progressive that GOP-leaning voters tend to be unenthusiastic, believing their votes don’t count.

At least, that could be the rationale behind the initiatives. In real life, however, this seldom seems to work. Just as anti-abortion ballot initiatives do in fact bring out conservatives, they also seem to be just as likely to energize the progressive base, who become adamant about defeating them. A look at the multiple failures to pass “Personhood” – the legal definition that life begins at the moment sperm and egg meet – during state-wide votes shows that when it comes to passing abortion restrictions, it’s very difficult for anti-abortion activists to find success.

Would they have any more luck in Oregon and California? Chances are the answer is no. Then again, if the past is any indication, neither measure is likely to get far enough to find out.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Scott haakon
Scott haakon3 years ago

This should have been put to rest decades ago. There is a lot more to the issue than meets the media. That is one reason why it is still here. Economics has a lot to do with it. The social programs are funded by a pyramid scheme which requires more at the bottom paying in to fund those receiving. The military worries where they will find recruits when the economy becomes good again. Time for the whole thing to come out.

Winn Adams
Winn A3 years ago

The GOP is a blight on America.

Marie W.
Marie W3 years ago

These people want a this kind of world
-Infanticide on the rise. More than 1,000 infants — most of them girls — were killed or abandoned to die in Pakistan per year. In South Asia, killing children is nothing new, and girls are particularly vulnerable. Parents do it to help feed their sons, who are more highly valued in Pakistani society. But the number of children killed has risen steadily over the last five years, welfare organizations in Karachi say. In all of Asia this is being reported.

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

sandy Gardner
sandy Gardner3 years ago

Besides, Earth is dangerously over-populated!

sandy Gardner
sandy Gardner3 years ago

If you don't want a baby you shouldn't have to have one. Abortion is a form of birth control. I can't understand why a woman would want to restrict Birth Control. Carly Fiorina is just jumping on this issue to try to get new life into her failing presidential campaign.

pam w.
pam w3 years ago

Karen, I'm always disgusted by those who offer ''support'' to women so they'll continue an unwanted pregnancy. Really? Does that mean they'll pay for the entire childhood, education, college, etc? No? Well, then....diapers don't cost much and neither does baby lotion. Children cost HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.