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According to the latest polls, support for legal abortion is slipping. Those who want to see a comprehensive review of the latest research can go to the internet and type in “Pew Research,” then search their webpage for “support for abortion slips.” Years of pro-life activism is slowly reaping benefits as more people are uncomfortable with abortion on demand and those who oppose abortion are more convinced than ever that they are on the side of the angels; but there is still much to do.
Every abortion takes the life of a unique, irreplaceable human being and leaves scars on the heart of that person’s mother, as well as the father and other relatives. There is always another answer. We who understand this should have already made a solemn vow never to vote for a pro-abortion candidate for public office, no matter how much we may agree with that candidate on other issues, so long as there is a pro-life candidate on the ballot.
This can be a real sacrifice, because sometimes we find ourselves agreeing with the pro-abortion candidate on other issues and disagreeing with the pro-life candidate. Sometimes we are forced to choose between bad and worse, between two pro-abortion candidates. These are tough decisions, but unless every opponent of abortion takes a stand, the political parties will continue to offer us unacceptable candidates. It is well known that politicians don’t see the light until they feel the heat.
Part of the problem is that many, who should know better, wait until the first Tuesday in November of the even years to consider their decision; by then the candidates have already been chosen. Now, November of 2009, is the time to become involved if you want to have a real choice in November of 2010. If you want to be able to vote for pro-life candidates, you have to get involved. Join the party of your choice, volunteer, recruit good candidates to run in the primary, put up lawn signs and bumper stickers, host coffees.
Voter turnout in the primary is usually less than the general election, which means a small number of committed people can make a difference. If both parties put up pro-abortion candidates, consider running a third-party candidate. While having a pro-life major party candidate is preferable, a third-party candidate who gains even 4 percent of the vote sends a message. If the election is decided by less than 4 percent, then the losing party is going to have to tell itself, if we had that 4 percent of the vote, we might have won.
You can take other actions. For example, if you belong to an organization or professional association that publicly supports abortion and donates to pro-abortion candidates, you can organize with others and fight to change that policy. If the organization blocks dissent (and sadly this is all too common), you can publicly resign and/or start a competing organization.
You can speak up when discussing politics with friends. You don’t have to be argumentative, just say, “I may agree with so-and-so on that issue, but I couldn’t vote for him because he supported partial birth abortion and I simply couldn’t trust someone who thought that procedure should be legal.”
Of course, this means, you have to know who the candidates in your district are and their position on the issue. According to the Pew poll, 40 percent of those questioned did not know the president’s position on this issue. Sadly, as you move down the ticket, knowledge of where the candidates stand decreases. You have to know if the organizations or associations you belong to have publicly supported abortion and/or pro-abortion candidates.
All this requires sacrifice, but we are not being asked to die for the unborn, just take a stand. My parish has made the magazine Magnificat available to daily Mass goers. This worship aid includes biographies of lesser-know saints, many of whom gave their lives for the faith. Each day, as I read of a man or woman who faced with a cruel death, refused to compromise, I am reminded of how easy my life is. Many of these men and women lived in countries where simply being a Christian was a capital offense, yet they gladly died for Christ.
Today, we are confronted with a terrible evil. We can thank God that we live in a free country where we have the right to take a stand and make our voices heard. Surely the unborn are the least of our brethren and, if we keep faith with them, on the last day when the Son of Man comes in his glory, we can hope to be counted with the sheep rather than the goats.
Dale O’Leary is an internationally recognized lecturer and author of “The Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality.”