Tag Archive for: ballot initiative

The Left Wants Pro-Lifers to Despair after Tuesday’s Election. Don’t.

Unlike a lot of things in life, losing doesn’t get any easier the more you do it. If anything, the sting turns to despair, as pro-lifers, who’ve slogged through seven bitter defeats since June of 2022, know well. Over the last several months, the jubilation of seeing Roe fall has been replaced by a sinking feeling that the cause of the unborn is doomed in the very place the justices have entrusted it: the states. But is that true — or are we just experiencing the pains of a battle we only just started fighting?

There had been real hope that Ohio, the first conservative state to weigh in on a radical abortion measure, would reverse the string of losses since Dobbs. When that didn’t happen, and Buckeyes voted 56-43% to let parents take their child’s life right up to the moment of birth, the media’s taunts that life is a political loser felt truer. Maybe, as notorious squishes like Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) are already saying, the movement should just give up. Stop talking about abortion.

But, as the editors of National Review so powerfully write, “In the mind of anyone who knows the truth that abortion deliberately kills an innocent human being, giving up on the most important human-rights cause of our time is unthinkable. After five decades of Roe and less than two years from Dobbs, the fight for life in the democratic arena has barely begun.”

Remember, they told discouraged readers, “Advocates of same-sex marriage suffered a string of 32 losses at the ballot box before succeeding for the first time, in the bluest of states, in 2012. … Their success serves as a reminder that a string of defeats at the ballot box is no reason to believe a cause is lost.”

For a half-century, pro-lifers have marched, prayed, volunteered, voted, suffered blows, and stepped right back into the ring — not because the cause was politically advantageous, but because it was morally right. That cause didn’t end when the Supreme Court righted one wrong. It ends when every square inch of this nation is a safe place for children in the womb. Anyone who thought that would be easy has quickly forgotten the lessons of the last 50 years.

We have to do what we’ve done since the beginning — stand up, dust ourselves off, and, as the NRO editors urge, “Take the long view on the fight on life.” “Do not despair,” pro-life scholar Michael New insists. “We were never promised a smooth glide path to victory. This is an important lesson. Because history tells us, when we persist, we win!”

Does that mean we don’t have things to learn? Absolutely not. We’re in a new and volatile political environment that Dobbs created, and if we’re going to turn the tide, it’ll take time. And while we don’t need to rethink our principles, we do need to rethink how we talk about them — if, in some cases, we even are.

In one of the more astonishing statistics from Tuesday night, a whopping 24% of self-described “white evangelical or born-again Christians” supported Ohio’s Issue 1, which not only puts the Buckeyes on par with California’s abortion extremism but gives the green light to minor transgender surgery — without parental consent. We’re expecting voters to act with moral clarity when the church won’t even speak to it. Until that changes, pro-lifers will have a much steeper hill to climb. If Christians have been complacent after the Dobbs victory, we need to ensure they’re no longer complicit after defeat.

Why would Christians be voting for abortion anyway? Family Research Council’s Joseph Backholm thinks the answer “could be the silence on these issues in many parts of the church. Many churches don’t want to be divisive, so they choose to say nothing, but when you say nothing you say something. Many Christians have been left with the impression that it doesn’t really matter what Christians think about abortion because the people they look to for guidance on these issues live and act like it doesn’t matter.”

Elsewhere, in Virginia, where abortion was the only messaging point Democrats had to run on, the media rushed to gloat that conservative agendas like Governor Glenn Youngkin’s had been rebuked. Among the more creative post-election name-calling was Fox Business’s Dagen McDowell, who labeled Youngkin a “damp Dorito” for putting so much emphasis on life.

But the reality is, NRO’s Jim Geraghty points out, “Virginia is shifting from narrow GOP control of the state House and narrow Democratic control of the state Senate, to narrow Democratic control of both chambers. Control of the state legislature is probably going to come down to a couple thousand votes in a handful of districts. It’s a frustrating result for the GOP, but not a sweeping rebuke.”

That step-away-from-the-ledge rationale was echoed by politicos like John McCormick, who noted that what happened Tuesday night isn’t all that different from what happened the year Youngkin won. “The House of Delegates went 52R-48D [to] 51D-49R house now.” And let’s not forget, he posted, Virginia is “a Biden +10 state,” and voters were still “evenly divided [46-47%] on a 15-week [abortion] limit.” Oh, and by the way, the damp Dorito has a 54-38% approval rating. Biden hasn’t sniffed a percentage like that since inauguration.

So losing the legislature by 1%, especially after Democrats banked their whole campaign on the outrageous lie that Republicans want to ban “all abortions without any exceptions” isn’t exactly a death knell for conservatism in the Commonwealth. And yet, McCormack shakes his head, “Twitter is treating it like a political earthquake.”

Even more encouraging, at least in the winning hearts and minds category, is that Americans believe the Democrats’ position on abortion is more extreme — by a two-to-one margin. Pro-lifers just have to figure out a way to continue driving that point home on the road to reasonable compromise.

In other words, Geraghty emphasizes, “The results last night are no reason to panic.” “The elections in the year before the presidential election are a little odd — much lower turnout, governors’ races in a trio of Southern states with their own quirky histories and dynamics, and intense waves of advertising in state legislative races that usually fly under the radar.”

But, he continues, “If you look back eight years to 2015, you see Republicans won two governors’ races (Kentucky, Mississippi) and lost one (Louisiana). This year, Republicans won two governors’ races (Louisiana, Mississippi) and lost one (Kentucky). (Jeff Landry won the Louisiana governor’s race in the first round in October, and everyone seems to have forgotten about that.)”

Tuesday night’s results were disappointing, to be sure, but they don’t negate all of 2023’s other victories. In a year that’s seen the beat-back of Pridea surge of anti-woke boycottsan education revolutionthe repudiation of ESG19 signed SAFE Actsa nationwide parents’ revolt, and the election of House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), America is a long ways from writing social conservatives’ obituary. The cultural undercurrents continue to be strong on the Right, even if the electoral fruit doesn’t always bear that out.

The outcome in Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, and other states may not have been what we hoped for, worked for, or anticipated, but even in the midst of it, we shouldn’t once question what we did or what we stood for. In days like these, we have to keep an eternal perspective, remembering that, as Christians, we go from victory to victory. That doesn’t mean every election ends with a parade, because our battle is not temporal; it’s spiritual. Voters may reject the values that have sustained this nation for more than 240 years — but an election is not going to change the sovereignty of God.

Our charge is to not lose heart, to stay faithfully engaged in the struggle, and to pray. “In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus warned. “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

“It took us 50 years to get here,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told TWS. “But the way forward is the same way we arrived at this point — continuing each and every day to win the hearts and minds of people by telling truth. Now, the volume has been ratcheted up where the lies are being fueled by millions of dollars, but that just means we need to speak the truth with more passion and more consistency to break through Left’s deception.” Even so, he insisted, “We’re not going to retreat. We’re not going anywhere.”


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Ohio’s Issue 1 Erases Parenthood

If Issue 1 passes in Ohio, it will effectively deny parents the ability to protect their minor daughters from predatory neighbors, family members, or industries favored by the Democratic Party. But perhaps its greatest offense comes in its attempt to legally dismantle parents’ rights to direct, guide, or even be aware of the most consequential decisions in their children’s lives.

Issue 1 would establish the right of an “individual” of any age to make “reproductive decisions,” including “but not limited to” abortion. Its sponsors tacitly acknowledge the real battleground in Ohio is the way the amendment affects parental consent. Their latest ad turns the concept on its head, irrationally claiming the amendment somehow protects young girls from child molesters.

In reality, Issue 1 empowers predators to victimize young girls twice, sexually exploiting them and then using abortion to dispose of the evidence. Sadly, Ohio has already proven this.

In 2003, John Haller, a 21-year-old soccer coach, began abusing a 13-year-old eighth grader, getting her pregnant shortly after she turned 14. He took her to a southwest Ohio Planned Parenthood for an abortion, posing as her father to authorize the abortion. Issue 1 would save him the trouble; Planned Parenthood, which has a history of covering up sexual abuse and human trafficking, would not have to go through the motions of asking about parental consent. Issue 1 transforms the child’s rapist into a crusading hero helping the girl exercise her “reproductive freedom” (which her parents might seek to deny). If Issue 1 passes, the Ohio-based pro-life group Created Equal accurately notes, “A sexual abuser could drive your daughter to an abortion, and you’d be left in the dark.”

But a cynic would be tempted to believe the abortion industry (which constitutes the heart of the coalition sponsoring the amendment) specifically designed Issue 1’s sloppily-worded amendment to stave off future legal issues. How did the abortionist react when they learned of their role in covering up the sexual molestation of a young teenage girl? Planned Parenthood sued all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court to deny her parents the right to see full medical records that could establish whether the facility engaged in a pattern of concealing minors’ sexual assaults. Issue 1 would allow the abuse-facilitating abortion industry to say parents have no standing to interfere in their children’s “reproductive decisions” and wash their hands clean of it.

Indeed, one of the sponsors’ ads says the quiet part out loud: Voting yes on Issue 1 “gets government out of the way” and gives the abortion industry free rein when it comes to your daughter.

Even when an underage pregnancy does not result from rape, Issue 1 renders loving parents incapable of shielding their daughters from the harmful mental and emotional impacts of abortion. A 2011 meta-analysis from Bowling Green State University’s Priscilla Coleman found “a moderate to highly increased risk of mental health problems after abortion.” (The evidence of abortion’s harms is far from restricted to Coleman’s work.)

“There are physiological, psychological, emotional consequences of abortion, and the pro-abortion side doesn’t ever want to talk about that,” said Ryan Bomberger, founder of the Radiance Foundation, on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” Thursday. “That’s why when they say things like, ‘It’s no different than having a tooth pulled,’ well, there aren’t support groups for people who have their teeth pulled, but there are many hundreds, if not thousands of support groups across the United States for those who are post-abortive.”

That is why the abortion industry refers to its product only in “euphemistic” phrases “about ‘reproductive health and freedom’” — or, in the case of Issue 1, “reproductive decisions,” he said. “When they minimize this and they trivialize the impact of the violence of abortion, it shows which side actually cares about women, which side actually cares about the dignity of human life,” Bomberger insists.

One final point worth pondering: Each state legislates the age of statutory rape. Honest question: If Issue 1 establishes a constitutional right for “individuals” of all ages to make “reproductive decisions,” how would that affect Ohio’s age of consent laws? Isn’t having sex the ultimate “reproductive decision”? Even when statutory rape is illegal, left-leaning legal authorities often forbid parents from protecting their minor daughters on a mass scale. A human trafficking ring victimized more than 1,400 young girls under the nose of British authorities; records show police and social workers often told parents to accept that their 12-year-old daughters were “growing up.” The London Telegraph reported about “two separate cases where fathers who had tracked their daughters down and were trying to remove them from houses where they were being abused, were themselves arrested.” They watched helplessly as their daughters were abused, threatened, and trafficked around the United Kingdom, unable to defend them.

Issue 1 creates the legal environment in which all of this could occur. Every parent has a duty to vote no.


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Florida AG Pam Bondi Says “No” To Marijuana Measure

Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi, continues to say no to pot, as she continues to press the left-leaning Florida Supreme court to scrap the legalization of medical marijuana measure that will be on the November ballot.

The initiative would allow marijuana to be used in several specified conditions. But it also includes a part that says it could be used for “any other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

Bondi, a Republican elected in 2010, said that language is too broad and will allow greater use of marijuana than the public has been told by supporters. She cited a scenario of a 15-year-old boy being able to get a marijuana prescription for a minor pain through a chiropractor as a possibility. She said voters are not getting a clear explanation of what they are being asked to approve.

“They need to know what they are voting for,” Bondi said during a joint meeting with the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters of Sarasota.

The Republican-led Florida legislature is open to the idea of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, and are trying to find a balance with the controversial issue.

Word to the legalizing marijuana lobby, quit smoking your own issue, and work with the legislature to find a solution that will benefit everyone.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Shark Tank.

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