Abortion on the Ballot

Posted on October 25, 2022 By

by Lisa Stiller

 

In the state I live in – Oregon – over 50% of the people are underinsured according to a 2017 report by the state. A 2020 report puts our estimated homeless population at 14,655 on any given day. The state poverty rate is currently about 9 percent.

We have three very contentious Congressional races right now. And a very tight governor’s race.

What are most of our candidates campaigning on? At least the Democrat and Independent candidates? Abortion. No, not about those reasons – such as poverty – why people might seek abortion. Just about abortion.

And the Guttmacher Institute reports that 73% of women seeking abortion do so at least partly because they’re afraid they can’t afford a baby.

Just recently, President Biden also put abortion on the ballot by promising to “codify Roe” first thing if Congress remains in Democrats’ hands.

Candidate X will make sure that all people who want an abortion in this state will have one, or will ensure that Congress protects the right to abortion. That is the lead in most of the ads. Some go on to mention other issues, such as homelessness and housing, and gun safety.

The Republican candidates’ ads mostly address crime and homelessness and the fear that people will lose their guns. They don’t mention abortion.

I’m sure other states are experiencing the same types of ads.

When the license to kill becomes the number one issue candidates put forth in their ads, it’s time to examine how our culture of death has permeated the mainstream – and how we can fix it.

Most of all, it puts pro-life progressives in a very troubling position. Our Republican candidates want to cut funding to those programs that reduce poverty and homelessness, statewide and nationally. They want to make cuts that would affect access to health care and reduce spending on education. They don’t want to fund programs that could actually reduce abortion rates.

A Republican governor won’t be able to do much about abortion here, as we’ll continue to have a Democratic majority in our legislature. The “right” to abortion was codified in the state constitution in 2017. A Republican governor isn’t going to get that reversed. And too many Republicans are against a national law opposing abortion for that possibility to become a reality any time soon.

So why are our candidates so focused on this? They know it will get out the vote.

Abortion is on the ballot, claim the ads of all our Democratic and Independent governor candidates, and all our Democratic Congressional candidates. Life-giving, life-affirming issues take a back seat.

Why don’t our candidates feel that the fact that we have close to 15,000 homeless individuals in the state, almost one out of ten people living in poverty, inspire people to vote?

Maybe, sadly, the question should be why don’t these facts inspire people to vote as much as “protecting access to abortion” – which isn’t even at risk here?

Abortion is so much “on the ballot” that it has now become a part of other issues we should be supporting. Phrases like “protect our democracy” and “protect our freedoms” are code for protecting the “right to choose.”

We should be supporting voter protection and fighting voter suppression. We should be supporting legislation that will help prevent another January 6, 2021. But when abortion becomes part of that campaign, how can we support the campaign?

Abortion Elections

Lisa Stiller

The same thing has been happening with the single payer health care movement, which is now demanding that the right to “abortion care” be protected. Universal health care should not be a partisan issue. Inserting abortion “rights” into other issues adds to the toxic, divisive environment we are living in post Roe. How can I support those issues so important to me when they have taken on advocacy for the right to kill?

An emphasis on individual freedom (“my body, my choice”) and the fear of losing this freedom seems to be a huge motivating factor, despite the fact that the fear is largely unfounded. When did Democrats lose their emphasis on helping the most vulnerable, on addressing poverty? On helping people lead a more productive life, on raising the minimum wage?

And how do we vote? Voting for candidates who make abortion access their central issue poses some moral questions. But so does voting for candidates who want to cut funding to the programs that help reduce poverty, access to health care and affordable housing, and who oppose reasonable gun safety legislation. And not voting doesn’t feel like a good option, as we fear our democracy depends on our voting to help it thrive.

I hope I find an answer before Election Day. But meanwhile the right to kill is still on the ballot.

We need to speak up about this. I have emailed our Democratic and Independent candidates, asking them to put those issues that affect so many of us up front: inflation, housing, more people slipping into poverty, higher medical costs preventing people from accessing care. I hope they listen.

We need to find a way to make a culture of life, not a culture of death, take priority in our elections.

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Since referendums give a much cleaner way to vote directly on issues, we have several that we’re tracking:

Peace and Life Referendums

 

For more of our posts on voting, see:

Pro-life Voting Strategy: A Problem without an Answer

Elections 2020: Three Consistent-Life Approaches

My Difficulty in Voting: Identifying the Problem

What History Shows: The Consistent Life Ethic Works for Pro-life Referendums

How Consistent-life Advocacy Would Benefit from Ranked-Choice Voting

A reminder: The Consistent Life Network doesn’t necessarily endorse everything said in its blog, since we encourage individual writers to express a variety of views. This is especially so when analyzing elections.

 

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  1. Carol Crossed says:

    Lisa speaks to my frustration as well. I am a Democrat. It was one thing when Dems refused to address restricting abortion. But now, they are actually promoting abortion, like in New York where I live, my Party is actually providing money to create more access to abortion. We have gone from passive acceptance to now active promotion. What to do?

  2. Ms. Booomer-ang says:

    And how are we going to react to the results?

    There are two scenarios:

    1. Democrats make advances in US House and Senate, and abortion wins big on referendums. This can launch a reign of terror. It can include a federal mandate that will allow and encourage forced abortions, late term abortions, and abortion celebrations more than Roe did. A law is more changeable than a court order. But what if the reign includes a series of constitutional amendments, one of which is sure to allow abortions up to when the baby is being born and allow forced abortions. The reign will also include the imposition of euthanasia, based on Canada.

    There might be less social service service cuts, but people who least need the social services are often those whose identity groups call for submission to abortion and death hastening.

    2. Republicans take over the US House and Senate, and abortion wins big in referendums. What will happen? On pro-life issues, status quo, but we’ll still have to deal with the psychological impact. And there will be aggressive cutting of social services and exploitation of the environment.

    3. Democrats gain a little in the US House and Senate, and abortion wins big in referendums. What will happen? A less aggressive form of scenario (1).

    So what are we going to do? How can we feel not-alone?

  3. Ms. Boomer-ang says:

    For voting, could one write in names of a people who seem closer to the consistent life ethic? Lone wolves? Members of some minor or new little parties? Of course, it would be best if the write ins were eligible for the pertinent positions in the pertinent districts/states and willing to go public.

    Sometimes no candidate for political office was acceptable to me, but my town had a position for library trustee, which had to be “elected” every couple of years. The “candidate” had no opponents ran on only the Open Book Party, which ran nobody for any other position. I would vote for that and only that candidate; in effect, going to the polls but not voting.

    This year, more important than voting is preparing to fight AFTER the election. One example is publicity: showing that abortion and death hastening VIOLATE freedom, by uncovering stories of forced medical killings and of people going into hiding and crossing borders to avoid them. Another example is practicality: providing hiding places for people who want to avoid medical killings.

  4. Ms. Boomer-ang says:

    And another thing we should do is psychologically support ourselves. We’ll need it. So we don’t feel alone.

    Abortion is likely to win big in all referendums. In the likely event that Democrats increase their seats, there is likely to be a reign of terror. And if Republicans get control, there will be a full-scale war on the environment and social service cuts, with little talk about life issues.

    More important than voting is to prepare for after the election.

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