Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Weighing issues, choosing a candidate

The following is from the 2010 MCCL General Election Voter's Guide.

Some well-meaning people who oppose abortion—you may be one of them—are uncertain about which candidates to vote for in the gubernatorial and other elections this fall. Perhaps you are are tempted by a pro-choice candidate who wants to "reduce the need for abortion," or who advocates other positions with which you agree (on jobs, economics, education, etc.). Some may wonder whether pro-life politicians can actually do anything to stem abortion.

How does one decide? I believe that if you hold to the pro-life view, then it is almost inconceivable that you can reasonably vote for a pro-choice candidate over a pro-life one, regardless of the candidates' positions on other issues. Let me explain why.

If the pro-life position is true, then thousands of innocent human beings are unjustly killed each year in Minnesota, with the blessing of the government, and often using taxpayer dollars. In no other current political issue or debate is such a foundational principle at stake: the equal dignity and right to life of every member of the human family.

Candidates may disagree about how best to grow the economy or balance the budget, but they agree that we should grow the economy and should balance the budget. They only differ on the means to achieving a common goal. That is not the case when it comes to abortion and other right-to-life issues.

A "pro-choice" candidate (i.e., one who supports legalized abortion) by definition thinks a certain class of innocent human beings (the unborn) should be excluded from protection and so may be killed at the discretion of others. It is the very principle (human equality), not a mere policy difference, that is at issue. Just as it would be wrong to vote for a candidate who is "pro-choice" about slavery, it is unjust to vote for a candidate who thinks it ought to be legal to dismember unborn children, when there is a viable alternative candidate.

Apart from principle, a voter can assess the likely consequences if each candidate is elected. I think it is safe to say that the difference between candidates' probable influence on right-to-life issues is usually of greater moral significance than their differences on other issues. In short, a difference over tax policy (while important) cannot outweigh the thousands of human lives at stake with abortion and embryo-destructive research.

Many doubt (or simply don't know) that elected officials, limited by a Supreme Court-mandated regime of abortion on demand, can have a such an impact. But studies show that even modest pro-life legislation saves lives. Governors, state legislatures and Congress really do make a difference for unborn children.

The 14 percent drop in abortions under pro-life Gov. Tim Pawlenty is largely a result of Woman's Right to Know, Positive Alternatives and other pro-life bills passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor. These lifesaving measures could be undone with an abortion advocate in the governor's office, and anti-life measures—such as a 2008 embryo-killing bill vetoed by Pawlenty—could be enacted.

Lives are on the line, and every pro-life Minnesotan must vote accordingly. Use this Voter's Guide to learn where all the candidates stand, and tell others. Then vote for life on Nov. 2!