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It’s about fairness

Ballot Measure 106 is the third attempt in Oregon to forbid the use of public money to pay for abortions. The first two failed; this one should suffer a similar fate.

Oregon is one of 17 states that use state money to cover abortions for low-income women. But it’s not just low-income women who would be affected if Measure 106 passed. More than 77,000 women of childbearing age are state employees or teachers covered under state health plans that cover abortion. They, too, would lose that coverage.

This is not about whether abortion is right or wrong. Abortion is legal, and will remain legal even if Measure 106 passes. Women will continue to obtain abortions if they choose to. This measure will decide who can make that choice and who cannot.

About 3,600 abortions were performed under the Oregon Health Plan last year at a cost of about $2 million. But the secretary of state’s official fiscal impact statement estimates Oregon would spend $19.3 million more annually if the measure passes because of increased births resulting in higher costs for health care, food and nutrition services.

The chief petitioner, Jeff Jimerson of Corvallis, says he believes public funding means more abortions. “When you offer something free to somebody, people will take something even when it’s not the best option for them,” he said.

The idea that women will choose to have abortions they otherwise wouldn’t have simply because it’s free is insulting. It’s not the state’s business to make that decision for anyone.