Voting for life at the lower levels

With the 2010 elections just a few weeks away, it is important for us as prolife voters to inform ourselves about the various candidates’ positions on life issues, and the ways they can influence public policy when it comes to defending the right to life in those offices.

When it comes to candidates for governor, U. S. representatives and senators, usually their positions on at least some life issues are stated on their websites, or they have been interviewed by a number of organizations that have published their responses to such issues.

Oftentimes, elected officials at lower levels are seen as less important when it comes to prolife issues, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! They may not “vote” on legislation that will affect the unborn, but that does not mean that they are not in a position to play a critical role in defending life. It is important to be informed about what these job descriptions actually entail, to vote to fill them carefully, and, as their constituents, to hold those elected accountable. Here are just a few things to consider about some of these offices, and how they may influence public policy on issues that are important to you as a prolife voter.

It is the state attorney general that investigates and disciplines when state laws are being broken at the corporate level. For example, after Live Action produced the video revealing that Planned Parenthood in Birmingham was covering up statutory rape, it was the attorney general of Alabama that put the clinic under probation and began a more thorough investigation of the clinic’s defiance of state law. Are the candidates for attorney general in your state going to hold abortion clinics accountable for similar violations?

The state controller manages public funds and serves as the state’s accountant and bookkeeper and should be making sure that state funds distributed through them are properly accounted for. Planned Parenthood receives a very large amount of funding from many state programs, and they JUST published their 2008 annual report. It’s almost the end of 2010. Does your state controller know what happened to that money? And if in fact those funds have been grossly abused, what are they doing about it?

The insurance commissioner is responsible for examining, licensing and regulating state insurance companies. Abortions are a lot less expensive for insurance companies than live births… which means it is in their best interest to encourage abortions and discourage carrying a child to term by making it difficult to get proper prenatal care. But that is NOT in the best interest of anyone else, and it is the insurance commissioner that should be keeping behavior like that in check. Are they?

In states where there are no laws regarding parental involvement when a minor seeks an abortion, the school board trustees play a critical role in drafting the policy for a school district about parental consent and notification in regards to students leaving the school for abortions. If you live in one of those states, do you know what your school district’s policy is, and how the board members would vote on changing or keeping it?  Will they support students’ rights to wear prolife T-shirts or speak out against abortion at school, if students happen to be unjustly penalized for doing so?

Will the candidates for mayor and the city council be supportive of local crisis pregnancy centers or maternity homes? Oftentimes these centers receive no funding from the local government because of their tax status, but that does not mean the mayor cannot use his position to make known and express appreciation for the work that they do, which is publicity that, in the first place, lets people know that those resources are there, and also garners financial support for their work.

If you choose to write to these candidates about their positions, express that you know what their role in life issues is. Keep letters to candidates short and to the point. Most likely, the response that you get will be a form letter, and if your letter is long and addresses too many different issues, it’s possible that the form letter you will be sent will not really answer your primary question.

By being specific, you are also showing that individual that you will be holding them accountable during their term—you will be paying attention to what they do and the decisions they make, and you will vote accordingly in the next election. If your letter gives the impression that you don’t understand what powers and responsibilities their position entails, it will probably not be taken as seriously as one that demonstrates that kind of awareness.

If you ask a general question about whether or not they are prolife, there is a good chance that you will get a general answer. They may express that they are prolife to try to appease you, but not really give a clear idea of how that is going to affect their public policy. Our representatives are there to represent us, to act in our place, in their respective positions to ensure justice and if they aren’t going to do that as elected officials, then they are not doing their jobs, and we shouldn’t be allowing them to represent us.

Never forget that when you step into that poll booth on November 2nd, there are hundreds of thousands of unborn children that cannot vote for anyone to represent them, to defend their basic right to life. They are counting on you to be their voice, to vote for them. Vote for life!

  • http://generationsforlife.org/ John Jansen

    If you ask a general question about whether or not they are prolife, there is a good chance that you will get a general answer.

    I've found that when a politician comes knocking on your door to ask for your vote, the best question to ask is, “Do you support a woman’s right to choose?” Then, if the person is pro-choice, he’s likely to give you an honest answer, because he’ll probably assume you are too. (But if, on the other hand, he is sincerely pro-life, he won’t be afraid to tell you.)

  • Paula

    Very good point John. This never occurred to me, but is true isn't it. I will keep it in mind. Thanks for posting it and sharing it.

    It is also good to remember that even at the most basic levels, a vote for someone with the 'pro-choice' ideology even for offices that have absolutely nothing to do with abortion legislation, is a vote for that person's political career. Most on the State and Federal levels got their start on the City or County levels.

    I'm not saying to just automatically dismiss a good candidate for school or library board. But on such levels one can get a sense if the candidate has bigger fish on mind for the future. So this should also be taken into consideration when voting with one's conscience.

  • Jennifer Rego

    John, that sounds like it would be an excellent test of sincerity! Although before they left I would definitely want to make it clear that I am in fact pro-life.

    And Paula, that's definitely true, which is why I think it's so important to find out, on a practical level, how pro-life a candidate actually is, to know what opportunities each positions have to defend life, and whether or not they are actually doing so, or at least trying to, and that they are not only vaguely professing to be pro-life to get more votes.

  • Melody Warbington

    John, that is exactly what I asked Al Gore when he was a congressman in TN around 1981 or 1982. He was speaking at an event for government employees in my hometown at the time. I was a social worker at the time working with foster children and adoptive parents. He had already pretended to be pro life, so I phrased my question much like you suggested. He began to talk about a woman's body and difficult decisions, etc., I interrupted him and told him I was pro life. Of course, he began to backtrack and I really don't remember the rest of the conversation except that I knew from that moment on he was dishonest and he's proven me right.

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