I've now lived in Oregon for over twenty years, having moved here in
the summer of 1991 from Montana. I lived in Portland for a few years,
during the craziness of the Measure 9 controversy,
then in Eugene (my wife's hometown) since 1995. In 1997, the year that
we entered the Catholic Church, Oregon became the first to state to
legalize assisted suicide, via the "Death with Dignity Act". As I've
sometimes dryly noted, when giving talks in other parts of the country,
Oregon is that surreal place where you aren't trusted to pump your own
gas, but if you'd like to kill yourself, the State is there to assist
Oregon is indeed a curious place, politically and culturally: generally
speaking, it likes to present itself as a liberty-loving, eccentric haven
for free-thinkers who thumb their nose at convention, tradition,
religion, and the mores of middle America. In reality, it is more like a
State-operated insane asylum in which the inmates are reassured of how
openminded, cutting-edge, and truly liberal they are, while their
political masters continuously and confidently promote a culture of
death, secular homogenization, and narrowminded bullying that is equally
breathtaking and bizarre.
As odd as it might sound, I suspect that one reason Oregon's political
leaders are able to pull many of the deadly, anti-life stunts they do is
because of how jaw-dropping beautiful this state is. People are willing
to put up with a lot of craziness in order to live in one of the most
gorgeous places in the United States, where they have access to the ocean, beaches, streams,
rivers, forests, mountains, and farmlands without the worries of
tornadoes, (large) earthquakes, hurricanes, and humidity. (We do take our chances with volcanoes.) Of course,
it's not as if all Oregonians are ultra-progressive crusaders for
euthanasia, abortion, same-sex marriage, and all the other faddish ills
of enlightened secularism; there are, in fact, many good, sane people
here (even if few of them go to church or practice "organized religion"Oregon leads the nation "with 25% of its residents claiming no particular religious identity").
But, in the end, Oregon seems deadset on being California, Jr.or even outdoing California in some ways, as this recent bit of news indicates:
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -
Forget the milestones of obtaining a driver's license at 16 and being
able to legally drink at 21 - getting sterilized at 15 is now the first
step in the social maturity process of an American youth.
The "Required Health Plan Coverage Guidelines" set forth by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services states: "Non-grandfathered plans
and issuers are required to provide coverage without cost-sharing
consistent with these guidelines in the first plan year.that begins on
or after August 1, 2012.All [FDA] approved contraceptive methods,
sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all
women with reproductive capacity."
Under Oregon State Law, the state's revised statutes (ORS) defines
"informed consent" for 15-year-olds independently pursuing reproductive
sterilization as being "(a) Based upon a full understanding of the
nature and consequences of sterilization pursuant to information
requirements set forth in ORS 436.225(1); (b) Given by an individual
competent to make such a decision; and (c) Wholly voluntary and free
from coercion, express or implied."
Stephanie Zawada, the author
of the Catholic Online piece, asks: "So you need parental consent to
contract a state-sanctioned marriage under the age of 18 in the U.S.,
but you, all by yourself, can give full consent to the irreversibility
of sterilization at 15? Chances are, you do not even know your future
spouse, yet you're already determining his or her fate as well?"
to be fair, thinking ahead and measuring consequences isn't a big part
of the dominant Oregon culture; it really is a "live for the moment!"
mindset here. So none of this, sadly, is surprisingespecially not when
you consider the state's political leadership. Oregon's governor, John
Kitzhaber, has impeccable pro-abortion credentials;
he was re-elected for a record third time despite having a dubious
record of accomplishment in any field other than growing the power and
influence of the public sector and promoting "choice". While senator, he
authored the Oregon healthcare plan (he is an M.D.). “NARAL Pro-Choice
Oregon, their members and their volunteers", he says, "can trust that I will always be a pro-choice advocate.”
where I live, has one of the worst economies in a state that has one of
the weakest economies in the nation. Yet the city recently re-elected
Kitty Piercya former Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthoodas
mayor, even though she thinks higher taxes are the solution to nearly every economic crisis. Piercy touts her "human rights" record even while being staunchly
pro-abortion. She also seems to be irony-challenged; last year she said
that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance prior to city council meetings
was "divisive", infamously remarking, "If there’s one thing the flag
stands for, it’s that people don’t have to be compelled to say the
Pledge of Allegiance or anything else.” That sort of inanity is deemed
intellectually superior by the hippie and yuppie sets who think "Question
Authority" bumper stickers are the epitome of daring wit.
All of which to say that Oregon, with this latest news about
teenage sterilizations, continues a not-so-grand, radical tradition of
anti-life policies and anti-family attitudes. Again, this is hardly
surprisingnot for a state that "does not have any of the major types of
abortion restrictionssuch as waiting periods, mandated parental
involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortionsoften found in
other states" (Guttmacher Institute, "State Facts About Abortion: Oregon").