In using this year’s elections “to participate in building the culture of life” (US Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, n. 34), we need to pay attention not only to the candidates, but to the ballot initiatives and referenda in particular states. Whether we live in those states or not, we can and should help to support the measures that should be supported and reject those that should be rejected, because in each case the outcome will have an effect on the entire country.
Measures that are brought directly to the citizens for a vote enable the citizens to participate more directly in self-government. Much of the ambiguity and unpredictability of candidates is gone. No longer is it a matter of whether we can trust the individual to support a particular piece of legislation. Here, the citizens get to vote on the policy directly. And often a ballot measure will motivate voters to come out more than a candidate will.
There are four states in particular that have ballot measures especially important to the abortion issue.
First, in California, voters should support the Parents’ Right to Know and Child Protection Initiative (Proposition 85). This would require an abortionist to notify the parent of a minor before performing an abortion on her. Over half the states have this kind of law, and these laws reduce the numbers of abortions. California performs about a quarter of the nation’s abortions. For Proposition 85 to pass would mean the protection of parental rights as well as a major dent in the abortion industry. For information, visit www.yeson85.net.
Second, a similar measure is on the ballot in Oregon. Voters should support the Parental Involvement and Support Act (Measure 43), which would expand parental rights by mandating that written or in person notice be provided to one parent of an unemancipated minor 15 years of age or older at least 48 hours prior to performing an abortion on that teenager. For information, visit www.protectourteendaughters.com.
Third, voters in South Dakota should support the Women's Health and Human Life Protection Act (Referred Law 6), which would simply ban abortions throughout the state. For information, visit www.voteyesforlife.com.
Finally, voters in Missouri should reject the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative (Amendment 2), which deceptively claims to ban “human cloning,” but only bans a human clone from being implanted in a woman, not from being created and then killed for research purposes. For info, visit www.nocloning.org.
No matter where we live, we should help voters in these states to be informed about these measures. While Churches and other tax exempt organizations can never tell people to vote for or against a clearly identified candidate, they are allowed to tell people to vote for or against a particular ballot initiative or referendum. Organizations should put this information on the front page of their website between now and Election Day, because people in the states that have these measures can access those websites.
Let’s work together on these measures, for pro-life victory!