Recent maternity unit closure in Baker City prompts rally |

Births fell from more than 2 per week in 2020 to 1.5/week (average) and have been in steady decline. This is a problem facing small communities and has been going on for more than a decade as the nation’s fertility rate continues falling (last reported as 1.6).

Oregon’s statewide fertility rate is 1.39, the 2nd lowest in the United States.

Note – there is a meme on social media that maternity centers closed due to the SCOTUS ruling on abortion. However, the closings began over a decade ago, and most cite the costs of keeping birth centers staffed and open amid plummeting births. Oregon has the most liberal of abortion laws, permitting abortions up to the due date, and thus, the SCOTUS ruling has no effect in Oregon. Nor is it only rural areas – the Legacy Mount Hood Family Birth Center in Gresham, Oregon – a major suburb of Portland – announced it would close on March 17, 2023. It remains open as ordered by the state health care regulator. The Birth Center said it has been losing money and is unable to provide required staffing.

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