Is legislator really pro-choice?

Thank you for drawing attention to the elected leaders who helped strengthen women's health in this legislative session, including Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland), a longtime member of our board of directors, and Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Portland) ["The Good, Bad and the Awful," WW, June 24, 2015].

But you're wrong to describe Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn) as someone who is "pro-choice." She has never sought or earned the endorsement of Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon or any other pro-choice group. Worse yet, she is one of only two members of the Oregon Legislature who voted against both of the bills that Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon introduced this year.

One of the bills, which passed with wide bipartisan support, will make Oregon the first state in the nation to require health insurance companies to cover a full year's supply of birth control at the same time. The other bill will protect patient privacy in insurance communications.

When politicians like Parrish repeatedly vote to impose their own views on what should be a private decision between a woman and her doctor, they certainly shouldn't be identified as "pro-choice" by any definition of the term.

Mary Nolan, interim executive director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon

Do I consider myself pro-choice? Yes. When a pregnancy is terminated, I hope it is safe, rare and legal. Rape, incest, life of the mother? Yes, I support those reasons to terminate. Sex selection or disability selection as the sole reason? I would lean toward "no."

In Oregon, the law allows for no other medication to be dispensed for 12 months at a time. Not statins, heart meds, or other life-saving, chronic-care meds. 

The second bill deals with allowing a child who is subscribed to her parents' insurance to get the statement of insurance benefits sent somewhere besides the address of the primary insured.

So, a 15-year old accesses health care through her family's insurance plan. She incurs a $1,000 cost. The co-pay is $200. Under this bill, the statement of benefits could go to an address other than her parents'. The $800 now shows up on the statement her parents receive as part of the aggregated total usage of insurance. Did we protect the child from her parents knowing she had a medical procedure done? No. Do we keep her out of a potentially violent or heated situation when her parents find out? No. 

Until elected officials are willing to take a stand, not sign campaign pledges, and commit to considering each bill on its individual merits, as long as they fear political retribution from single-issue PACs, we will never be able to deal with important legislation in a fair or balanced manner.

Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn)

Clarifications & Corrections

Last week's End Roll column ("Green and Goal") incorrectly reported the amount of marijuana given away at the Weed the People event July 3. It was up to 7 grams per attendee. Also, Portland Mercury columnist Josh Taylor disclosed that he owns Oregon's Cannabis Concierge, which sponsored the event, for the first time in a June 10 posting, though he did not disclose it in subsequent posts. Mercury publisher Rob Thompson says some tickets to the event were still available until June 26.

In last week's "The Boot Bus" article, the price of a day pass on the C-Tran No. 164 bus was incorrect. It costs $7.50. WW regrets the errors.

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