Referendums to Reduce Poverty and Their Impact on Abortion & Euthanasia
See our Peace & Life Referendums website.
Raising the Minimum Wage
On ballot in 2022: Nebraska, Nevada
Raising the minimum wage will help Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) to have an easier time working with pregnant women for prenatal care and new mothers for women’s and children’s health care. The more women are earning, the more PRCs can help. Also, the more the father and other family members are earning, the more PRCs can help.
Even for those who never cross paths with the PRCs, a minimum wage increase means they feel more supported in choosing life. They have more practical resources available.
On ballot in 2022: South Dakota
In 2020, Medicaid Expansion was on the ballot in Oklahoma and Missouri. In both cases, it passed by narrow margins. Previously, Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, and Utah had also passed the expansion at the ballot box when state legislatures refused to do so.
What is Medicaid Expansion?
It simply means allowing more people to the receive Medicaid. People qualify for Medicaid based on their income, and this would raise the amount of income needed to qualify. So more low-income people could enroll, because they can make a little more income and still qualify.
- Helping Pregnant Women Choose Life
Pregnancy Resource Centers need to be able to refer pregnant women for prenatal care and new mothers for women’s and children’s health care. The more people who have access to the Medicaid program, the more PRCs can help.
Even for those who never cross paths with the PRCs, the fact that healthcare is more available to them, both prenatally and postnatally, means they feel more supported in choosing life. They have more practical resources available.
- Discouraging Euthanasia
Paying for medical care and hospice are nonviolent alternatives to “hastened death,” and people should feel comfortable using those options without a sense of being a financial burden on their families.
But here’s another crucial point: some people won’t call the ambulance or visit the doctor when they really need to, because they don’t feel they can afford it. When their own scarce money is at stake, they may have too high a standard for when they need to have something looked at or when they must rush to the hospital.
When the disease or injury festers, it gets worse. It’ s not merely that people suffer needlessly, but that they can then get into a medical condition so bad that “pulling the plug” starts to be discussed. Catching problems early is more likely to happen when those on Medicaid feel they can afford to catch them early.
- People with Disabilities
Since specific disabilities often require specific medical care, having more people with those disabilities be able to afford the care will of course be crucial for them.
One of the common reasons offered for abortion of unborn children with disabilities, or “assisted suicide” for those later in life, is that it saves money over providing the care needed to let them live. This is an astonishingly callous attitude toward money; when used the right way, money’s intended to be a way of facilitating help, not an excuse for avoiding help. Having more people eligible to get that needed help is a life-affirming alternative to such cold-heartedness.
- Giving Children Needed Medical Care
In addition to helping pregnant women choose life directly by not having deliberate abortions, being sure they get good prenatal care can also prevent “spontaneous” abortions – the medical term for what’s more commonly called miscarriages.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
Not on ballot in 2022 (Colorado passed it in 2020). Current legislation in the U.S. Congress (such as this by Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney) is considering methods of doing this.
What is paid Family and Medical Leave?
Family Leave means a period of time off work, usually a set number of weeks, to care for family. It includes parental leave – for one or both parents – to take time off to attend to a newborn or newly adopted child. It includes taking time off to care for family members with sudden medical needs; this especially helps people with elderly parents or any ill relatives.
The United States passed a requirement for employers of over 50 people to at least offer unpaid leave to employees (see the speech below in support of the bill). However, while this guaranteed people the right to return to their jobs when the leave period was over, they still had to go without income in the meantime.
States may offer referendums about Family and Medical Leave insurance, which would allow people who desperately need it to be paid during the period when they’re working hard, but for their families rather than their employers.
- Reducing Poverty
For those of low enough income that having a good amount of savings isn’t workable, not having pay can be a severe hardship. If anyone simply can’t afford to go without the pay, then the newborn or adopted baby or ill relative will need to go without family help. Since such a low-income person obviously can’t afford to pay for professional help either, then the family member suffers one form of poverty by having less care from a family member, or the worker suffers another form of poverty by prioritizing their family but having insufficient money.
- Helping Pregnant Women Choose Life
Having the ability to take a few weeks off for a newborn child eases the burden some. It also communicates clearly that society is supportive of the choice for life. Having the father be able to help with the newborn is both good for the mother and a great benefit to the father. Having a set-up to encourage both parents to bond with a child is a sure way of valuing that child’s life, from conception on.
- Discouraging Euthanasia
When elderly parents or other relatives feel lonely, or suffer more because a family member that could be there to help isn’t, or have worse medical outcomes because that family member can’t afford to be there, or feel guilty about a family member having to lose income to care for them, then the message given about the value of their lives is not one we want to be conveying.
From a speech by Rep. Henry Hyde
in the U.S. House of Representatives
November 13, 1991
Madam Chairman, as one who shares a conservative vision for our society, I don’t think my support for family leave is aberrational, but rather that it’s consistent with traditional family values. The family supplies the moral glue that holds society together; it is the central institution that stands between us and social disintegration. . .
And so, what to do? Well, here is legislation that in a small way helps reinforce the family by humanizing the relationship between the employer and employee. Capitalism with a human face is an imperative, not an imposition. Oh, yes, it is an intrusion –and that government truly does govern best that governs least – but the law is also a teacher, and the lesson that family leave teaches is that children and parents aren’t always the last consideration as we try to fashion a caring and humane society in which to live and work. Capital formation and entrepreneurship are important to our economy, but so are the people who do the work.
We conservatives know that the struggle for freedom is the struggle against big government, but I don’t trust human nature enough to be a libertarian, and I believe that, at minimum, government exists to protect the weak from the strong, and that’s why, whether it’s a defenseless preborn baby whose mother is using crack cocaine or a pregnant woman who needs her job, there are human values at stake that government ought to protect.
Blind adherence to an abstract principle of nonintervention has spawned isolationism in the world and isolation in the workplace. The people who need this law are the least likely to abuse it, because they need their paycheck.
This legislation ameliorates the “Sophie’s Choice” a working pregnant woman must face – her job or her child . . .
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