GOP lawmakers big Op-Ed: Government isn’t our co-parent

Republican Leaders Pen Op-Ed in The Oregonian:
Oregon Parents Should Not Have to Co-Parent with The Government
Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp
& House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson

SALEM, OR – House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) and Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) penned an op-ed in The Oregonian on House Bill 2002 B which knowingly and forcefully strips away parental rights.

Field trip permission slips. Tattoos and piercings. Contact lenses. These are just some of the examples in which parents are required to provide consent for their children in the state of Oregon.

However, a bill in the Oregon Legislature would knowingly and forcefully strip away parental rights. House Bill 2002 B expands the use of taxpayer dollars for irreversible sex-changing treatments and procedures – including sterilization for those as young as 15 – without parental consent. Private insurers under this measure must cover these procedures, allowing minors to undergo treatment on their parents’ insurance without their knowing. Yes, you are reading that correctly.

In addition, this legislation will allow a minor at any age to have an abortion without parental knowledge or consent. A doctor may not disclose this information to a child’s parent unless the child provides explicit written permission – stripping away a parent’s right to know.

Make no mistake, Oregon law already permits a minor at age 15 to have an abortion without parental consent up until the moment of birth. Our fear with removing the age limit for parental consent is that it leaves children on their own to deal with the consequences of what might have been a crime, or at the very least a significant event deserving of parental guidance. Lawmakers may very well be aiding and abetting pedophiles and sex-traffickers who can pressure kids into telling doctors that a boyfriend got them pregnant to avoid criminal repercussions.

In less than an hour of debate in a recent Joint Ways and Means committee meeting and with minimal time for questions, Democratic leadership forced a vote on this bill knowing there would be no further opportunity for public comment than the one hearing held in March.

During the committee meeting, the Ways and Means Democratic co-chairs audibly gasped when Legislative Counsel confirmed that 10-year-olds would be able to get abortions without parental knowledge – despite one co-chair boasting they were “intimately involved with the development of this bill.”

Republicans had a multitude of questions that were left unanswered. We asked about the estimated fiscal impact on the health care insurance premiums for Oregonians. The answer? We will have to pass it to find out.

However, as budget committee staff confirmed, we do know that House Bill 2002 B vastly expands the types of irreversible sex-changing treatments and procedures funded by Oregon taxpayers. These services will be offered through the Healthier Oregon program, which provides health coverage to low-income individuals who would qualify for Medicaid except for immigration status and who “live in Oregon.” According to the Oregon Health Authority, there’s no time requirement to establish residency.

We believe it should be standard practice to know how much something costs before approving it. Nothing about this bill or the approach taken by Democratic leadership is fiscally responsible. This is a long and complicated bill. It needs more input, not less.

Don’t be fooled, this is not an abortion or equality issue – this is a parental rights issue. This is the state of Oregon effectively telling you that the government understands the needs of your child better than you do. This is an extreme attack on the sacred relationship between a parent and a child.

House Bill 2002 B is scheduled for a vote on the House floor on Monday, May 1. Please call your state representative and state senator and make your voice heard.

Parents – the time to take a stand is now.