Pro-lifers report mixed results in U.S. mid-term election

Despite some setbacks for individual pro-life politicians, there were a number of victories in state-level ballot initiatives in the U.S. mid-term elections Nov. 3.

The most notable was the stunning victory against doctor-assisted suicide in Michigan, where two out of three of voters rejected Proposal B, which would have allowed doctors “to prescribe medication intended to cause the death of a patient.” If passed, the resolution would have overturned a new law banning doctor-assisted suicide. The bill passed both houses of the Michigan legislature with large majorities, and was signed into law by the state’s pro-life governor, John Engler, Sept. 1.

In March, pollster Ed Sarpolous told The Detroit News that public support for doctor-assisted suicide has declined as the public has learned that Jack Kevorkian “has aided in suicides of people who aren’t terminally ill, suffering from chronic pain, or near death.”

Proposal B

More than 35 organizations, including Michigan Right to Life, the Michigan State Medical Society, and Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim groups, as well as advocates for the disabled, gathered under the banner of Citizens for Compassionate Care to defeat Proposal B.

In other election news, Washington and Colorado defeated ballot measures that would have banned partial-birth abortion. In Washington, pro-abortion forces outspent pro-lifers 6-1 in defeating Proposal 694, which called the grisly procedure “partial-birth infanticide,” and made it a felony to kill an child “in the process of birth.”

In Colorado, a state constitutional amendment banning partial-birth abortion was narrowly defeated 51.4 to 48.6 per cent, a difference of 36,514 votes. Colorado voters did, however, pass an initiative that would require both parents of a minor seeking an abortion to be notified 48 hours beforehand. That measure passed 55 to 45 per cent.

Carol Tobias of the National Right to Life Committee told The Interim that it is difficult to pass pro-life initiatives on state-wide ballots. Apart from the fact that pro-lifers were “vastly outspent,” she said, the biggest problem is that “the other side is not afraid to lie. They used scare tactics in Colorado and Washington, saying banning partial-birth abortion would lead to a ban on all abortions.”

Marriage affirmed

In Hawaii and Alaska, voters resoundingly endorsed the traditional definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In Alaska, a constitutional amendment passed by more than two to one. In Hawaii, 69 per cent of voters authorized the legislature to overturn a court ruling permitting same-sex marriages, and gave legislators “the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.”

Colorado voters turned down civil rights protection based on sexual orientation. Likewise, three municipalities defeated measures to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, including Fort Collins, Colo., the town where homosexual student Matthew Shepard died in hospital after being brutally beaten in nearby Laramie, Wyoming.

In Newport, Me., voters rejected an initiative that would have punished women who bear their breasts in public.

Voters in five states – Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington – approved the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes.