It’s what all of the cool people are doing this season.
Hard to believe it’s election time again.
But it is. I know because I’m assaulted by those obnoxious campaign commercials every time I turn on the TV. Based on what I see in those ads, corporate scandal seems to be the issue de jour. Every candidate seems to be trying to find some way – however twisted – to connect his opponent to some disgraced corporation. (“Candidate Joe Smith claims to support corporate reform, but in reality, he gives money to Qwest every month. He claims it’s for his ‘phone service’.”)
So I was surprised to see an ad for a local congressional race take a different approach. The Democratic candidate, Mike Feeley, was vilifying the Republican, Bob Beauprez, for opposing abortion. The ad ended by giving Bob Beauprez’s number, and instructing us to call him to let him know what we think of his anti-choice bigotry.
So I called him and said, “Way to go, Bob!”
I attended a meeting with Mr. Beauprez yesterday. The meeting, and my subsequent research, brought up a couple of interesting points I wanted to pass on to all of you.
First of all, despite what you might hear, the pro-life movement is in a better position than we have been in years. Abortion numbers are down. According to a Guttmacher Institute study I saw just this morning, abortions have decreased since 1994, from 24 per 1000 women of childbearing age to 21. Of course, that’s still 21 too many. But at least the number is moving in the right direction.
I believe that drop is directly due to the work of the pro-life movement. Thanks to educational efforts and advancements in ultrasound technology, more people are aware of the humanity of the unborn child. And pro-life legislation in many states requiring parental consent and notification has led to precipitous drops in teen abortion rates in those states.
Public opinion is moving in our direction. A recent study of Gallup polls on abortion shows that, since 1995, the number of Americans who consider themselves “pro-choice” has dropped significantly, while the number identifying themselves as “pro-life” has increased. More interesting still, of those who consider themselves “pro-choice” only about half believe that abortion should be legal in all cases. Fully 30% of them believe that abortion should be legal in few or no cases.
All in all, 15% of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in all cases, and another 40% believe it should be legal in just a few cases. That’s 55% of Americans who believe in, at the very least, severely limited the availability of abortion.
You’d never know that by reading the papers, would you?
Finally, we have a firmly committed pro-life president. With Supreme Court justices nearing retirement age, and partial-birth abortion legislating sitting (stalled) in the Senate, George W. Bush is a very important man. But he can’t do much alone. He needs a pro-life Senate to ratify Supreme Count nominees. He needs a pro-life Congress to send him pro-life legislation to sign.
The other side is scared. Here in Denver, NARAL sponsored a rally for Democratic candidates last week. Tom Strickland, Colorado’s Democratic senate candidate, said at that rally that “this is the moment in time when [the right to abortion] is most at risk. Never in the last 29 years has that decision hung by a more slender thread.”
His point? He’s stressing the urgency, from the perspective of the pro-abortion movement, to vote for pro-abortion candidates. They’re rallying the troops. There are massive “get the vote out” drives dedicated to bringing the pro-abortion faithful to the polls.
My point? We need to be doing the same. This is a historic moment. If we could gain pro-life majorities in Congress, we could deal some pretty serious blows to Roe. Pro-life majorities in our state legislatures will lead to more restrictive state laws, continuing to chip away at the numbers of abortions as we have since 1994.
Some of these races are very, very close. Here in Colorado, our new 7th district is literally split down the middle. This race has been called one of the most important races in the country. Nobody doubts that it will come down to a couple hundred votes one way or another. A couple hundred votes will decide whether the Colorado 7th District representative is pro-life or pro-choice.
I’ll bet there are similar races in your community. Your vote is very, very important. Take it seriously. Research the candidates. Your local pro-life organization probably has comparison literature giving each candidates position on the pro-life issues. Study that literature. Volunteer to help the pro-life candidates. Send them contributions.
And vote. Vote early and vote often. Okay, you can’t vote often. But you can encourage other pro-lifers to vote, which is almost the same thing. Remind them on election day. Drive them to the polls if you have to.
Take your vote very, very seriously. Because you can bet the other side is doing the same.