By Karen Cross, National Right to Life Political Director
Do you want to elect a pro-life president?
On November 8, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be elected President. One of them will decide abortion policies for many years to come.
Nearly eight years of Obama’s presidency has already been devastating. The Obama presidency brought us two new pro-abortion Supreme Court justices, a healthcare law that expands abortion and threatens the vulnerable, and vows to veto pro-life legislation, including a bill that would protect unborn babies 20 weeks and older from painful late abortions, and a bill that would defund abortion providers.
We cannot afford four – let alone eight – more years of a president that does not value the right to life.
Hillary Clinton supports unlimited abortion, and she wants to force Americans to pay for it. In contrast, Donald Trump opposes abortion, and he opposes using your tax dollars to pay for abortion.
As pro-lifers, our goal must be to elect a president who will protect lives.
To achieve our goal, we have to be strategic. There are a number of ways we can actually defeat a pro-life candidate. For the sake of the babies, we cannot afford to make these mistakes in 2016.
Here’s what NOT to do:
Fall in love with your candidate.
Pro-life advocates should get involved in political campaigns. Their active participation and volunteer activities can help a pro-life candidate build a strong campaign.
With so many candidates in the race, your preferred candidate may not have won the presidential nomination. Too often pro-life advocates get so excited about their preferred primary candidate that if he or she loses to another pro-life candidate in the primary the grassroots person doesn’t support the pro-life candidate who won – and won’t volunteer in the campaign or work to get others to vote for that candidate.
Pro-life candidates need the active support of all pro-lifers and, all too often, without that full support, a pro-abortion candidate wins.
Support a really nice candidate who is pro-life but has no chance of winning.
Millions of unborn children’s lives are at stake. That’s why the viability of a candidate must be considered when we go to the polls. There may be a wonderful pro-life candidate who decides to run for office as a third-party or independent candidate, claiming to be the “real” pro-lifer in the race.
This is a sure strategy to elect the pro-abortion candidate.
Sometimes they attack the pro-life candidate who has a real chance of winning and get other pro-lifers to do the same. Even though they can’t gain enough support to be a viable candidate, and will not appear on most ballots across the country, they can pull votes from the pro-life candidate who could win, and help the pro-abortion candidate to win instead.
Expect the candidate to sound like a Right to Life chapter chairman.
People who are not directly involved in the pro-life movement are not going to be as articulate or well-versed on all the pro-life issues. They may not know every detail of unborn development or understand the ins and outs of the Mexico City Policy. Unless there has been some prior discussion with active pro-life advocates, some candidates may not realize that there are certain words that will be interpreted differently by the pro-life community than he intended.
Just because the wrong word comes out of his mouth doesn’t necessarily make the candidate a phony. Sometimes a truly pro-life candidate can be tripped up by the media, be confused, ill-informed, misquoted, or quoted out of context. Give them a chance to explain what they really believe, or educate them on the issue. They will do what’s right when they’re elected.
Words are nice, action is better.
Expect the candidate to always make abortion the major issue in the campaign.
A 2014 post-election poll by The Polling Company/Woman Trend found that 23% of voters said abortion affected their vote and chose the pro-life candidate. Just 16% said abortion affected their vote and picked the pro-abortion candidate. While it is a distinct advantage for candidates to be pro-life and does make a difference in the outcome of an election, it also means that a large majority of the voters had other issues that were more important to them.
In order to win, a candidate has to focus on many issues that will appeal to a broad variety of voters. It is the job of the right-to-life movement to inform the pro-life community about the candidate’s position on abortion. It is the candidate’s job to reach a cross-section of voters on a broad range of issues. When abortion is discussed in the campaign, the candidate must clearly and directly articulate his pro-life position. However, to expect the candidate to always make abortion the major issue in the campaign can be a sure way to lose an election.
Vote for a third-party or independent candidate who has no chance of winning.
Some pro-lifers talk about voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson or even Green Party candidate Jill Stein for President, not knowing that both have pro-abortion positions. In fact, Gary Johnson supports abortion until viability, and he wants to keep abortion legal.
Pro-lifers who support the third-party or independent candidate, to the detriment of the pro-life candidate who could win, may feel like they have not compromised their principles. But if they succeed in indirectly helping to elect a candidate who will allow the killing of unborn babies to continue, they have compromised away something far more important – children’s lives.
Again, on November 8, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be elected President.
Hillary Clinton voted in favor of partial-birth abortion, supports dismemberment abortions, and has pledged to only appoint pro-abortion justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Even as long as 15 years ago, Donald Trump wrote that he supports a ban on partial-birth abortion. When he learned about the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, he said he would sign it into law. Most importantly, Donald Trump has pledged to only appoint pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 2016 presidential election is an important moment for our movement. Let’s not squander this opportunity. The lives of unborn babies and their mothers hang in the balance.
Editor’s note. This appeared in the September digital edition of NRL News. (http://www.nrlc.org/uploads/NRLNews/NRLNewsSept2016.pdf) Please share as many stories as you can, using your social media contacts.