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County commissioners proclaim sanctity of life day

Jackson County commissioners proclaimed Jan. 22 as Sanctity of Human Life and Respect for Life Day.
Observance marks anniversary of legalized abortion

Jackson County commissioners have proclaimed Jan. 22 as Sanctity of Human Life and Respect for Life Day.

Around the country, anti-abortion elected leaders and churches have a history of proclaiming a sanctity of life day on or around the anniversary of the Jan. 22, 1973, Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

In its Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas abortion ban as unconstitutional, holding that women in the United States have a fundamental right to choose whether to have abortions without excessive government restriction.

The local proclamation doesn’t have an impact on access to abortion locally or in Oregon.

Jackson County Commissioner Colleen Roberts read the commissioners’ proclamation out loud Wednesday during an online meeting.

She said life is to be protected by the government and “one cannot have liberty or pursuit of happiness” without that protection. She said “respect of life shapes the future of our world, our nation and our legacy.”

Roberts said that “to maintain the respect for life, one can and should hold it in high regard from conception to natural death.”

Commissioners Rick Dyer and Dave Dotterrer voiced their support for the proclamation.

“There’s no question that we know all life is sacred,” Dyer said. “It’s our most basic and fundamental right and the voiceless deserve to be given a voice. So I’m proud to do this.”

At the national level, the conservative-majority Supreme Court is reviewing an abortion case and could potentially weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade.

In individual states, state legislatures with anti-abortion majorities repeatedly pass laws that restrict access to abortion.

Oregon doesn’t have any of the major types of abortion restrictions — such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement for girls or limitations on publicly funded abortions — often found in other states, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights and tracks abortion data.

Both the abortion rate and the birth rate have been falling across the U.S., the institute said.

Many people are choosing to have fewer children, and more people are deciding not to be parents at all, according to demographic researchers.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the drop in abortions doesn’t appear to be related to state restrictions on abortion. Many states with few restrictions are also seeing falling abortion rates, according to the institute.

Increased contraceptive access and use appear to be the driving factors in lowering the abortion and birth rates, the institute said.

More women gained insurance coverage of contraception because of requirements imposed on insurers by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The rates of people with health insurance coverage have also increased through the expansion of government-subsidized insurance like the Oregon Health Plan, the institute said.

Fewer women are getting pregnant before they want to have children or after they already have as many children as they want, according to demographic researchers.

The number of abortions performed in medical clinics may also be dropping because of access to abortion pills, which can be used to end early pregnancies, the Guttmacher Institute said.

The medication combination of two pills taken a few days apart triggers a heavy period that empties the uterus, similar to an early miscarriage, according to Planned Parenthood.

Some states have increased access to the medication, while some have imposed restrictions. South Dakota, for example, adopted waiting periods, banned telehealth visits with doctors to get a prescription and required girls and women to make four in-person visits to a provider.

Under the Biden administration, the federal Food and Drug Administration allows the pills to be mailed to patients with a prescription.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.