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.

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.

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Glen Biegel: Are you pro-life? Am I? Is Palin? Is Begich? – let’s untangle this

Glen Biegel
Glen Biegel is a long-time Anchorage resident, former host of a popular radio talk-show, a community activist and a political strategist.


  • Brandon says:

    Mur’rhino’ski sold out years ago.

    • Glen Biegel says:

      Murkowski voted for Clarence Thomas and therefore helped to overturn Roe. We can all thank him for that. He sold us all out with appointing his Daughter to the Senate after that. As I make the point above, an imperfect person who has done good.

  • Marlin Savage says:

    Sarah Palin will raise murkowski’s, schumer’s, pelosi’s and brandon’s ire and blood pressure. I look forward to Sarah and aoc getting into a Catfight. Sarah will fight for Alaska, the born and The Unborn.

  • Neil DeWitt says:

    I’m probably incorrect but how did Nick become a republican? His whole family including his father were democrats. Is he another Lisa Murkowski in RINO shoes? Im not trying to bad mouth him but just asking the questions. Now I’m not a Sarah fan either. She was a terrible mayor, quit tge governor job to become V.P. and failed because she knows nothing about government. Has she learned anything since McCain and his failed run? If we are going to temporarily install some one I guess either of these two will do but only temporarily. Now on to the real election. In a couple years will we see either of these two shine? If so we as Alaskans will vote to keep that person in office for our representative or we will throw you out faster than it takes to get you in their! We need representation now. This liberal take-your-guns-away bill is garbage. Taking guns away because your on Medicare or Medicaid is no reason. The Red Flag stinks to high heaven. Bottom line liberals want abortions. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want people to die, but by this mass shooting the liberals get the same thing. Dead/Murder. They’re both the same just a different way to accomplish the liberal’s agenda. Think about death not the method used. Murder is Murder.

    • Glen Biegel says:

      You owe it to yourself to cast an informed vote. Nick’s story is a critical element in this race. Without knowing how Nick grew up and why he is conservative, you can’t help but be confused. Please read his story so you know who is actually running.

      • DoneWithIt says:

        Give me a break.
        Begich, at best, is a classic RINO.
        Palin is the most Pro-Life candidate running – not even up for debate.

  • Matthew D Johnson says:

    As a former Executive Director of Alaska Right to Life, I have to say that my friend Glenn’s strategy has NOT been even remotely successful in many decades. I would also remind him, that the Frank Murkowski strategy gave us Lisa Murkowski. If ROE is overturned in SCOTUS’s imminent decision, there is no legal predicate for any Federal involvement in the abortion industry. Therefore, a vote for an exceptions candidate if we have a viable candidate who opposes those exceptions IS a vote to continue the genocide on a limited basis. Obviously, in cases where we have an exceptions candidate versus a pro-abortion candidate, then we may prudently choose between the lesser of evils. But I fail to see how prudence comes into the picture when one is choosing the lesser of goods. Now is not the time for timidity. We can end abortion mandates and funding on the Federal level. We shouldn’t settle for anything less.

    • Glen Biegel says:

      Matt, are you saying we don’t have ranked choice voting? Are you saying that Frank Murkowski didn’t give hundreds of pro-life votes before he sold out his soul and gave us Lisa? The only way to “end abortion mandates and funding at the Federal level” is to do exactly what I said and select BOTH Sarah and Nick. One first and the other second and to leave the other candidates off your ballot.

      • DoneWithIt says:

        Glenn, your RINO is showing.

      • Matthew D Johnson says:

        Glen, It seems you are twisting yourself in pretzels trying to justify voting for a candidate that nobody really knows about, but who has said openly that he believes in exceptions for rape and incest. I mean exactly what I said above: vote for the best (most pro-life) candidate you can, and only for the lesser of evils if that’s your only choice. I am well aware of RCV, and I’m not saying a marginally pro-life candidate should not be ranked when there’s a pro-abortion opponent on the ballot.
        Also – the only thing worse than purity tests . . . is impurity tests.

    • Glen Biegel says:

      To continue and clarify how wrong I believe Matt’s post is:
      Of the Senator’s who have voted for the Supreme Court Justices who overturned Roe, far less than half are seen as 100% pro-life by Purists.
      Actually, overturning Roe is not even a pro-life act for the purists, as it does not outlaw all abortion in the US. It just turns the abortion issue back to the States. It is simply incorrect to say that we have ‘failed’ by supporting candidates who are less than 100% pro-life. Decades of ‘failure’ has turned into the greatest success in our lifetimes. As I make the point in my piece, imperfect people can do good. With the overturning of Roe, Matt and all purist’s position is fully discredited.

      • Matthew D Johnson says:

        Have we had a conversation about this, Glen? I’m not sure you even know what my position is. I view the overturning of Roe as the greatest pro-life victory of my lifetime. And I don’t deny that good things have been done through imperfect people. Donald Trump did this!
        My point is simple, which I probably wasn’t very clear on above. Only vote for the lesser pro-life person when necessary. Always vote for the most pro-life person, and in this ranked choice scenario, rank the pro-life and marginally pro-life accordingly. Do not rank the pro-abort. I hope that clarifies.
        But I am really mystified by your apparent hostility to people who are “too pro-life.” Now that Roe is gone, purity becomes not less, but more important. Having said that, I want to save babies. Period. Whatever saves lives is acceptable to me. I am not an all-or-nothing pro-lifer, but I do think we should vote for the greater of goods when we can, and only for the lesser of evils when we must.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Neil, interesting comment food for thought
    Yes stop the killings

  • DoneWithIt says:

    Glenn – the choice is CLEAR if you are voting based on the candidates abortion position – Sarah!
    Why are you performing mental gymnastics to try and justify a vote for Begich.
    Again – Begich supported Berkowitz over Dembowski for Anchorage mayor – let that sink in – that says ALOT!
    The Begich family is a leftist, liberal political family.
    Please name 1 conservative bona fides for Begich – waiting…
    All the great Alaska “conservatives” that are supporting Begich are the same people who supported Lisa for the last 18 years – all establishment RINO’s.
    Begich has been “molly-coddled” his whole life – we need someone that understands what working Alaskans want and need to be successful – Sarah is the one!

    • MMD says:

      Bernadette Wilson is campaigning for Begich.

    • Glen Biegel says:

      Hundreds of pro-life conservatives are supporting Nick first, Sarah second. As I said, I am happy to support both of them. As someone who had to defend Sarah on the Radio for dozens of hours, it became clear that she was not as conservative as she let on. I still believe she would make a good representative.
      On the subject of Berkowitz, I agree. I am willing to give folks the benefit of the doubt once, but that is a tough one. Had I not heard Nick speak and spoken to him myself, I would be more concerned. I just took it as a personal issue with Amy. Nick is a conservative, as his positions, public discussion and supporters show. You can’t define a candidate by his worst position. At least not for me.

      • Matthew D Johnson says:

        (1) “Everybody’s doing it,” isn’t an argument.
        (2) Having a problem with Amy isn’t a reason to vote for Berkowitz. Voting is not compulsory. That has exactly zero explanatory power with respect to why Nick would vote for someone with values so opposite of what he claims to have.

  • Greta J Rofkar says:

    Everyone wants to use the rape thing to say it’s ok to kill a baby. I could ALMOST say MAYBE for incest because of the possibility of a severely handicapped child but in truth it is still killing a life. But rape?! I personally was raped at 16 yrs old and had a child as a result. I wanted nothing more than to keep my baby. Unfortunately my parents had their own opinion on that. If you keep the baby you are out of our home. Mom even took me down to have an abortion but thankfully back then I was too far along..Giving up my baby to adoption still hurts to this day 50 yrs later. So that rape reasoning is NOT a reason to kill an unborn living being! Someone will still love to have a child they were unable to have themselves.

    • Glen Biegel says:

      Greta, bless you for keeping the child. What a wonderful testimony. The point of the piece is that we have never had have a vote on Rape and Incest at the Federal level, and there is not any indication we will. Therefore that difference, while regrettable and something to work on, is not something that should disqualify Nick from receiving your second vote, thereby putting a 100% pro-abortion Democrat in DC to represent you.

    • DoneWithIt says:

      These RINOs – like Glenn and Begich – want kill babies if their father is a bad man (rape and incest)Incest.
      Palin! We know!

    • Glen Biegel says:

      Greta, it is wrong to say people are saying it is OK to kill the baby. Perhaps a closer reading of the piece will help, as I was clear. People who have the rape and incest exception are saying that they are not willing to force the woman to keep the baby since it was conceived during a crime. That doesn’t make taking the baby’s life OK. It does show their belief that government power should be granted with a great deal of reservation. Thank you for keeping your baby and giving him/her life. God bless you for that.

  • Laura says:

    Equating someone who is 100% pro-life to someone who is 100% perfect and therefore on a level with Christ is nonsense, and you know it. You are trying to muddy the waters with your verbal machinations. People who are 100% pro-life are not the enemy. Now that Roe has been overturned, does that change your argument in any way?

    • Glen Biegel says:

      Laura, Christ isn’t running for office. We don’t vote on all abortions/no abortions at the federal level. People do learn and grow and you shouldn’t limit your interactions to people who are perfect. What you should do is ask what pro-life votes a candidate WILL take, and select the one that will vote for life on all those votes.
      Now that the abortion issue has been sent back to the States, that changes nothing on the federal candidate issue. Due to our left-wing courts in Alaska, if you want to vote pro-life here in Alaska, you will vote for a constitutional convention, or elect folks who will amend the Constitution to prevent Judges from legislating the issue for us.

    • Glen Biegel says:

      Purists do not consider Roe’s overturning as a pro-life act. It doesn’t end all abortion, therefore is not pro-life in their eyes. If you are a purist and won’t vote for anyone not 100% pro-life, then you should take no pleasure in this historic win for the pro-life movement. You, with your all or nothing argument, are engaging in a fight against the majority of Senators who voted to put these judges in place and still have a rape and incest exception. Let me repeat and provide perfect clarity:
      Overturning Roe Vs Wade was not accomplished by only electing 100% pro-life legislators. It was accomplished in the way I laid out in my piece.
      Secondly, the issues that the Fed’s will vote on will continue to mirror what I said. The will never vote on banning all abortions in all States. That is for us to do here in Alaska by Constitutional convention or Amendment. Even removing public funding would require a Constitutional Convention or an Amendment.
      So my piece is still exactly how folks need to view this election. Both Nick or Sarah will have the identical voting record on life if their public positions are true. Either of the candidates will reflect the pro-life views of Alaskans. Now we have work to do on our Judiciary and Constitution here in Alaska.

  • Marlin Savage says:

    Glen Biegel’s contortionist’s moves don’t give the Unborn Babies a choice. Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, Life Begins and Continues!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tamra Nygaard says:

    A new life is created at the point of conception. Any machinations or logical twists after that are just weasel words. 100% pro-life is the only kind of pro-life. Any other stance is, as I said, weasel words. No preborn baby has ever done anything to deserve to be murdered, no matter the sins of the baby’s parents. This is not an “extreme” position, it is the only logical position in this discussion. The “choice” was when sex was engaged; after that there is the choice of raising the kid or giving it up for adoption, both of which respect the life of the child. Nothing else does.

  • JD says:

    I agree with DoneWithit and Laura. Seems like you’re trying to convince yourself as much as conservatives that Nick is the best choice.
    Nick’s “personal” issues vs Amy D regarding his mayoral support proves he’s unfit for the office. One’s personal differences with a candidate should have NOTHING to do with support for a candidate who puts the people above the office. See McCain vs Trump.
    McCain was bitter that Trump insulted him so he spent his final years and months badmouthing and opposing Trump out of spite. He accomplished very little for the people whom he was elected to put FIRST. Above his own petty, childish, egotistical vendetta.
    I see zero difference between Begich and the last years of McCain other than one was a real conservative. Begich just wants his daddy’s old seat. Figuring once in, he will get re-elected for years by playing both sides. Just like our current liberal, two faced senior senator.
    Our founding fathers NEVER meant political office to be a career! It was a way to sacrifice (family time, business profits, time off etc.) and serve the country and its people. Similar to the military, but you weren’t getting shot at as a rule.
    I recommend people vote Sarah first, then the least likely candidate and maybe Begich third or last.
    One RINO is one too many! Alaskans don’t need or deserve another as our one and only representative.

  • Scott Sikkenga says:

    I cannot support Nick. I sure he is a nice confused “republican”, but I’ve seen that clown show too many times. How many times are we going to compromise just to get along???? Palin is the morally correct option if you allow logic and a Christian worldview to mesh together.

  • Rebecca L Hinsberger says:

    Here are a few points I don’t think have been raised so far…, when I went to the Peninsula Republican District Convention in Homer this spring, we had a one hour training on Rank Cloice Voting, and instruction cards were all over the tables to take with us and for friends, saying ” vote red”. What they meant was, make all your votes Republican conservatives. Yes, you must vote for more than ONE. or your ballot will be thrown out! Pick your favorite conservative for first place, but by all means, fill in those other spots with those “imperfect conservatives”. Otherwise, your vote will be basically wasted by either being tossed out because you refused to vote for any 100% prolife candidates, or you will leave room for a blue liberal to gain ground by not filling in all your second choice spots with “compromised conservatives”. I hope we can rid of Rank Choice Voting'” eventually!
    Point #2…..I went to a couple of Nick Begich meetings and talked with Nick. The first time did not alarm me, in fact he was at Charlie Pierce’s home, asserting his prolife stance, defending his conservative position from his family name, and supporting Charlie Pierce for governor. At that time, Kurka wasnt in the governor’s race. ( Now I fully support Kurka, although I like Pierce as Borough mayor because he and a Kenai Peninsula Assemblyman and others- myself included, are working on a Resolution to make the Kenai Peninsula an abortion free borough, to be presented next month at a borough assembly meeting for a vote!) I went to a second meeting that was specifically for Begich, at a coffeehouse locally. About 80 people were there. I sat at a table with 8 or so people and Nick sat down to talk to us. We had all previously agreed that if he came to our table we wanted to hear his prolife position. He told us about his exceptions right away. I tried to inform him about how it is not compassionate to women to allow abortion in those circumstances. It compounds the voilence done to her body, kills her baby which she will come to grieve some day, and denies life to an innocent person. The others at the table agreed and affirmed the innocence of the child undeserving of death for the father’s crime. Nick stated loudly and emphatically that there would be no changing of his mind on this issue. Next I explained that his position coud not be seen as truly prolife. At that he jumped up out of his chair, stared hard at me and said in a loud, angry voice, ” You’re hostile!!!”, and shoved his chair into the table with a bang. We all looked at eachother with shock. After Nick gave his speech his walked over and offered his hand in apology and commented discreetly that he “shouldn’t have spoken that way to me”. That was nice, but it doesn’t change that fact that he was not able to hear or accept input from a possible future constituent, and it also signals a personal professional and political deficit. Will he be able to converse in the hostile DC environment? Will he be a “my way or the highway” type of guy? Will he be like Biden ( I know that’s that worst sort of comparison), promising unity and respect for all, but then attempting to implement his own agenda? I saw a side of Nick that alarmed me, and I was not alone. I have since emailed him and sent him a manila envelope of literature from Students for Life explaining this issue in more depth, and I hope he has read it, but i am suspicious that the answer is probably not. I heard from Bob Bird, radio show host of the Bird’s Eye View on KSRM radio, that Nick talked extensively with my former partner and teacher of a post abortion support group about this issue. Her abortion at 14 yrs old left her sterile, and she has since adopted. There could be hope for Nick. If he is reachable. But this anger and refusal to talk to a fellow conservative that boiled out without restraint was concerning.
    As a side note, I see online that his business board is full of Begiches ( the liberal kind). Another red flag. But, as was pointed out, he is basically prolife, and needs to be counted in your rank choice voting picks to avoid letting in a prodeath liberal. Rank Choice voting is a tricky mess.
    My last point is that, while I agree with Glen that legislation can get accomplished with less than purist elected officials, we need to aim for 100%. Like a runner in a race, you don’t aim for 2nd or 3rd, you aim for 1st place. Due to all kinds of circumstances that undoubtedly will interfere, you aim for the optimum, and maybe get something slightly or largely less. This happens everywhere, including the political arena. When you sell a house, you ask a higher selling price than you expect to eventually negotitate. Shoot for the most prolife candidate, because if they get elected, they will need that passion to withstand the liberal pressure insisting on compromise, that will undoubtedly occur and shoot their stand down from 100%. Start high, get something less. Start already less ( compromised, like Nick is), and get something MUCH less.

  • Rebecca L Hinsberger says:

    I see lots of typos and lack of paragraphs in my reply. I apologize. I need to clarify in the 6th line down where I say ” you refused to vote for any 100% prolife candidates”, should read” you refused to vote for any less than 100% prolife candidates”.

  • R says:

    This is one whopper of a Pretzel Article. Get back to the drawing board, please!

  • John J Otness says:

    The most horrible this whole tragedy is how quickly all have adjusted to this DOMINION installed rank choice nonsense. I believe
    most in their hearts know that along with the retention of the bad judges that RCV was a product of DOMINION.
    We have become pathetic sheep bowing to the machine hoping for the best… Not our Founders intent. Thank GOD Clarence Thomas bucked
    the tide.