Opinion: Measure 106 Is A Bad Bill
Measure 106 is bad for Oregon. It does more than make abortion unaffordable for hundreds of thousands of women in Oregon. It is unaffordable for the taxpayers who vote for it. More than a mere expression of taxpayer rights today, Measure 106 has long-term and expensive consequences beyond what its supporters suggest.
By making abortion inaccessible for hundreds of thousands of women, Measure 106 increases the number of unwanted children in Oregon. Because the measure affects only women dependent upon the State for healthcare or too poor to afford private insurance, most of these unwanted children will be raised by mothers in poverty. Measure 106 compels these women raising unwanted children to suffer for their unwanted parenthood: they are unlikely to attend (let alone finish) school; they are unlikely to obtain full-time jobs; they will have trouble simply feeding their families. Their unwanted children are, in turn, likely to stay illiterate, to become unemployable, and to depend upon public assistance to survive. Too many will find themselves in taxpayer-funded prisons.
Measure 106 does not just perpetuate intergenerational poverty – it amplifies it.
With severe consequences for women in poverty and their next generation of children, Measure 106 goes well beyond an expression of taxpayer rights.
“Should taxpayers decide how their taxes are spent?” Phrased like this, the answer is “Of course – yes.” But this provokes deeper questions that are uncomfortably complex. “Should Oregon spend my tax dollars to pave roads I don’t use? To educate children I don’t have? To police neighborhoods I don’t live in? To feed people I don’t know?”
Even more profound are the religious implications of Measure 106. “Should my tax dollars buy bullets and guns for police if my religion requires pacifism? Should my tax dollars fund the Oregon Liquor Control Commission if my religion advocates abstinence? And, of immediate import, should my tax dollars fund medical procedures (i.e. abortion) that my religion considers immoral?”
These questions are not simple and neither are the answers. That’s the point. Measure 106 is not a file-and-forget statement of taxpayer rights. Measure 106 imprisons thousands of Oregon women in an unbreakable cycle of poverty; creates a generation of unwanted children unable to escape their mother’s prison; and vastly extends the taxes needed to support Oregonians dependent upon taxpayer-funded public assistance – be that food stamps or prison cells.
Even as a taxpayer issue, Measure 106 could backfire on its supporters. Future ballot measures could leave Measure 106 supporters with unpaved streets, uneducated children, unsafe neighborhoods, and hungry families. And all this provoked by a not-as-simple-as-it-seems question of taxpayer rights with complex and horrifically disastrous answers.
Measure 106 is unfair to women, unaffordable for taxpayers, and bad for Oregon.
Samuel Metz is a retired physician. You can him at [email protected] metz.com.