The case of the missing pro-life legislators

BY David Kilada

Editor’s note. Mr. Kilada is the Deputy Political Director of Oregon Right to Life’s Political Action Committee. Although Mr. Kilada writes specifically about his state, the lessons he draws are applicable everywhere. This appeared at ortlpac.org.

538dividedby2plus1This summer I went on a search: I needed to find out where our missing pro-life legislators went. No, I’m not talking about those who have been standing up for the unborn in the legislature already. I’m talking about those who haven’t been walking the halls of the state capitol building at all.

To do the search, I combed through data from previous elections and determined the following: if every pro-lifer who receives this voter guide had voted two years ago, we would have two more pro-life legislators today.

Let that sink in: the reason we have less pro-life legislators is not just because Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups have lots of money to spend supporting pro-abortion candidates. The main reason is because not everyone who is pro-life actually votes, and often many don’t vote for every pro-life candidate on their ballot.

One of the main explanations people give me as to why they don’t vote is because they don’t think it will make a difference. Other people only know about the biggest race on their ballot: the presidential contest. What both groups of people don’t realize is that it’s the candidates who are running for Congress or the State Legislature or even for local positions like County Commission who we can have the most influence in electing.

The United States Congress determines what is in the biggest budget the world has ever known. This budget currently includes hundreds of millions for Planned Parenthood. Congress also can (and has) passed pro-life legislation. Does who controls Congress matter to the protection of life? Absolutely.

The Oregon Legislature has the power to fund or not fund abortions (the state currently pays for almost half of them), it could regulate abortion clinics to protect both women and babies (though it doesn’t) and it could shut down pregnancy resource centers for not offering abortions (it almost has). The Legislature could force religious organizations to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions (it almost did), and it holds the power to determine who pulls the plug when you’re on your death bed (it almost gave that power to an unelected board of bureaucrats this year).

Let me ask you, then: does who controls the Oregon Legislature matter to the protection of life? There is no doubt.

After November I’ll go on another search. My hope this election cycle is that all pro-life legislators will be accounted for this time. Let’s all make sure to vote for every pro-life candidate on our ballot this year. And if you don’t like one, please don’t let that keep you from voting for the rest. We need as many advocates for protecting life as possible—especially in Salem and Washington D.C.

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