After I endorsed Nick Begich, I received a panicked call from a relative.
“Nick is not pro-life! People are saying YOU aren’t pro-life!”
Let’s discuss the special election to replace the late Congressman Don Young by answering these questions: Are you pro-life? Am I? Is Sarah Palin? Is Nick Begich?
When I endorsed Nick over Sarah, it was a close decision. I didn’t denigrate Sarah in my endorsement, and I don’t do that now.
Using ranked choice voting, we will all need to consider the best character traits from each acceptable candidate, and rank one of them first, and the other second.
“Are you pro-life?”
I have found many who say the only candidate who is truly pro-life is the one who favors government intervention to prevent 100% of abortions. They say, if your candidate is only for government intervening on behalf of the child 99.5% of the time (excluding rape and incest), they aren’t pro-life. Is this reasonable?
God does not require perfect people to accomplish good.
“Am I pro-life?”
I have nine children. I sat on the board of Alaska Right to life for 13½ years. While on the board, I ran for office against someone we had endorsed, who backtracked on their pledge and voted to publicly fund abortion. For me, abortion is a sifting issue when it comes to political candidates. You can be right on every other issue, but if you vote to fund abortion, or vote against parental or informed consent or are pro-choice, then you will not get my vote. Let’s agree that I MAY be pro-life, and see if we can cover any remaining ground together.
Sarah is pro-life. Her last child was diagnosed with Down Syndrome in the womb. She knew it, and gave that baby life.
Is Nick pro-life? Put it this way, is any imperfect person capable of advancing the fight against abortion? I offer three experiences to support my “Yes” answer.
First, when I was on the board of Alaska Right to Life, did we actually save any babies? If so, how did we do it? Second, how do those in DC stop some abortions? Third, does God use imperfect people to accomplish good works, and therefore should we?
When you understand how some abortions are prevented, you might discover that an absolute position on abortion assists the abortion industry.
Did Alaska Right to Life save babies? In the late 1990s, with massive Republican majorities, we elected enough “pro-life” Republicans that they were able to block public funding of abortion (elective abortions performed with Medicaid dollars). Only 20% of these Republicans were against abortion 100% of the time. Still, with these imperfect people’s votes, over 1,000 babies were saved in those two years and are still among the living. They didn’t ban all abortions, but we still saved 1,000 children.
How does this principle apply to federal candidates?
Interesting fact, Alaska Right to Life organized its 70,000 members to vote for a weak Democrat in the Democrat’s open primary in 1980 (thereby removing Senator Mike Gravel from office). This allowed Frank Murkowski to win in the general election. In order to secure our support, Frank promised to vote pro-life, and he had a 100% pro-life voting record while in D.C.
While he never had the opportunity to vote on an outright abortion ban, he did save thousands of babies by voting on the Hyde Amendment which restricted public funding of abortion, and prevented the U.S. from funding pro-abortion groups or providing abortions overseas. This is the primary D.C. “pro-life” legislation. He also supported originalist nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court, which now may finally be ready to overturn Roe, and return the abortion issue to states to decide.
When you say, “I will only support a candidate if they are 100% pro-life,” you are acting in pride, and not prudence.
What about God?
God does not require perfect people to accomplish good. The Bible is full of imperfect people doing God’s will. As no one is perfect except Jesus, there is no biblical foundation for only working with 100% perfect people to accomplish good. Since our world is fallen, we must accept imperfect solutions to the world’s problems, especially when that’s the best we can do.
Saving babies is a complicated process. If you’re involved in the pro-life movement for any length of time, you know this. We pray, counsel, picket, instruct and try to find candidates who will help save at least some children while in the womb, and then care for them afterwards. When you understand how some abortions are prevented, you might find out that an absolute position on abortion actually aids the abortion industry. Allow me to explain.
Abortion in the U.S. is like a powerful machine. Picture this machine having a large, tilted plane with 3,000 unborn children placed into it. Each day, the machine’s plane plunges into water, drowning and thereby ending the lives of those children. Some of the children are very close to the surface, and if the tilted plane didn’t go down quite as far, that child would be saved from drowning. Some are on the deep end of the plane, and die well below the water’s surface. We elect politicians to adjust the machine’s depth.
I believe we will all be judged on prudent votes to save at least some of these children.
Today, the Democrats are in charge, and 3,000 more babies are loaded into the machine. There is no prevention of the plane plunging into the water, and so 3,000 die.
What if we had an election with a candidate who says, “I am the critical vote to end public funding of abortion, but I am not going to force giving birth on a woman who was raped.” If this candidate was elected, then the next day, the killing machine would only plunge 50% of the way into the water, and 1,500 would be saved.
When you say, “I will only support a candidate if they are 100% pro-life,” you are acting in pride, and not prudence. The abortion machine does not have an off button. We have never voted to ban all abortions in the U.S. at the federal level. By any measure of public will, we never will.
When it comes to voting, we cannot take the position: “If we can’t save them all, we shall save none of them.”
What does it mean to vote pro-life?
There are regular votes to prevent abortion funding, provide support for judges who will end the travesty of Roe, ensure conscience clauses for healthcare workers, protect religious liberty, etc. Voting pro-life starts with the understanding that EACH individual baby is infinitely precious. If Christ would leave his flock for the sake of the one sheep, how can we deny our duty to save at least one? Our vote requires prudence and acceptance that God did not give us a perfect on/off world. He gave us this messy world that requires us to work with less than perfect people to accomplish at least some good.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
Practically speaking, for Washington D.C., Nick and Sarah are both pro-life. Nick has promised me that he does not support public funding, he publicly opposes abortion in all cases, except rape or incest. Nick or Sarah will have many opportunities to vote on life issues, like the Hyde Amendment, thereby helping stop the abortion machine from plunging so deep each day. If enough pro-life Republicans are elected, they will save lives.
In conclusion, if you don’t vote for BOTH Nick and Sarah, and a Democrat gets elected, the abortion machine will continue to plunge 3,000 more children to their deaths each and every day. I believe we will all be judged on prudent votes to save at least some of these children. Please accept that these two candidates are sufficiently pro-life, and keep in mind the babies we can save when discerning how to vote. Life is complicated, as is voting to save lives.
A final thought: Would you only accept a candidate who pledged to vote to end 100% of crime, or 100% of hunger, or 100% of homelessness, but never actually had the opportunity to cast such a vote in real life? Or do you support tough-on-crime legislators who accept a reduction of 50% of crimes vs. pro-crime, anti-police candidates on the other side? The idea that the world has an off switch for sorrow, pain and evil is one of the great errors of many conservatives, and many whom I call friends.
The views expressed here are those of the author.