Legislate for Life

 

         Ohio Right to Life and National Right to Life have political action committees and  government affairs chairpersons who keeps us up to date on any possible changes to the laws which might affect how we do certain programming.  When you register as a member of Right to Life of Northeast Ohio it is extremely important that you also provide us with your e-mail address.  Very often, you may receive an e-mail action alert which may ask you to send a letter or e-mail to legislators to either promote or reject certain laws, proposals or campaigns.  By responding to these action alerts or other e-mails, we are multiplying our voices and showing our legislators and lawmakers that we are a significant force to be recognized.  These e-mails can usually be very simple to use, and often have direct links and sample letters to forward directly to your own representatives.register.gif

       As a pro-life organization, group or church, it is important that these messages get passed along to more than just those who receive the e-mail, whether by forwarding the e-mail to others or by making bulletin or pulpit announcements depending on the urgency of the message.  Many people mistakenly believe that tax exempt groups or organizations cannot advocate for changes to public policy.  This is not the case.   What we CANNOT do is advocate for the election or defeat of specific candidates.  This would endanger anyone with a tax exempt status.   Many groups do have affiliated political action committees (PAC).  For instance, pursuant to campaign finance laws, the Ohio Right to Life PAC it is the only entity through which Ohio Right to Life may solicit, accept or expend funds for the purpose of expressly advocating that the public vote for or against particular candidates for office.  

        Ohio Right to Life PAC uses candidate surveys, interviews, and the candidates’ voting records and public statements to determine candidates’ positions on pro-life issues. The PAC then issues endorsements and supports endorsed pro-life candidates by distributing information urging their election. Ohio Right to Life PAC is thus the “action” arm through which Ohio Right to Life seeks electoral outcomes that foster a pro-life public policy.*

        It is our moral duty to help spread the word about  issues and policies which directly affect the right to life.  When we receive messages from our government affairs chairperson, depending on the urgency and length of time necessary to get the message across, it is perfectly acceptable to plan a program around the message.  The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United Methodist Taskforce on Abortion and Sexuality, the National Clergy Council and other faith related organizations recommend that a comprehensive public policy program should include the following long and short term goals (Possible program ideas are in italicized bullet points):

1. Passage of a constitutional amendment that will protect unborn children’s right to life to the highest possible degree.

Start or help with a petition campaign advocating for the  Human Rights amendment

  • and legislation that the 14th amendment applies to unborn children, and that there is legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions.
  • For a simpler activity, invite a pro-life speaker or lawyer familiar with this type of legislation to speak to your group or organization.

2. Federal and state laws and administrative policies that restrict the practice of abortion and that prohibit government support of abortion, human cloning, and research that destroys human embryos

  • Besides the theological and spiritual implications of cloning, the destruction of human embryos is part of the process.  In 1997, Congressman Ehlers from Michigan said that we should allow science to move forward. But let's also recognize that science is not God and ought to be kept within bounds. It should not be treated as humanity's savior. Human beings are not simply genes and molecules. The sanctity of human life should be protected in law.  Humans should not be turned into an experimental playground.   Human cloning has not been in the forefront of news as of late, however, many people don’t realize the full scope of what is involved should cloning be brought forward once more.  The best program to develop around this is to obtain a speaker who can address the issue.  Contact our Right to Life office regarding the speaker’s bureau, or research another good source such as the Center for Public Justice in Washington, DC to obtain more information.

3. Continual challenging and ultimate reversing of the decision of the U.S. Supreme Courts and other courts denying the right to life

  • Most of the programs already in place by Right to Life center around this issue.  The best way to keep this challenge going is to encourage greater participation in more of the Right to Life programs by a greater number of people.  The greater the participation, the more pressure is brought upon our lawmakers and courts.

4. Support for legislation that helps to provide morally acceptable alternatives to abortion, including increased funding for education, health, nutrition and other services for those in need

  • One of the biggest arguments that proponents of abortion use for keeping abortion legal other than a woman’s choice is that there are no alternatives.  They would rather have federal funding for abortion than for the morally and ethically superior alternatives.  Abortion should not be considered health care or birth control.  With increasing federal budget cuts, a good project would be to research pregnancy and crisis centers in your area to find out about their shrinking funding, and then to conduct a letter writing or advertising campaign to show the affects of these losses on human lives.  Directors of these centers want to get this information out, and would most probably love to be a speaker about this cause to get your group involved.

5. Support for federal and state legislation that promotes effective palliative care for those who are chronically ill or dying

Palliative care is a sore spot especially with insurance providers.  It treats the pain and debilitating symptoms of chronic and/or terminal illness.  Since about 70% of the Medicare budget is spent on about 10% of our country’s sickest people, it is important that they have access to palliative care even though they will not be cured.   Politicians need to be encouraged to promote and pass legislation requiring that all hospitals

  • provide palliative care as a condition for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.  As a group, you can contact your federal and state representatives to talk about health care reform and how palliative care fits into the big picture.  While one of the primary focuses in health care reform has been about federal funding of abortions, we cannot forget about the opposite end of the spectrum.  Again, education about the issue is the best program.  Contact Right to Life about a speaker on the issue, or contact a local hospice to provide a speaker about palliative care.

6. Support for efforts to prevent legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide by legislation or referendum

  • It is considerably less expensive to allow euthanasia or assisted suicide for a chronic terminal illness than it would be to provide palliative care over a long term.  Proponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide state that it should be a person’s choice to decide that he wants to die rather than live with the symptoms of their illness, and that this should not be a matter for legislation.  However, how can it be determined if a terminally ill person is mentally capable of making that kind of choice, and what the motivations are of the people supporting that decision?  Better yet, how can it be determined unequivocally if an illness is indeed terminal or what the life expectancy is?  Some people diagnosed as terminally ill don't die for years!  Euthanasia and assisted suicide cannot be voluntary decisions at the very least because of the physical and emotional stress that the person is under.  Legislation is required to outlaw these for just these reasons.  Right to Life of Northeast Ohio has plenty of brochures and information about this controversy, and again, can make recommendations for a speaker. 

 

      VOTE_PRO_LIFE.jpg  When dealing with public policy and legislative concerns, often the most effective thing to do is become educated on the issue so as to make an informed decision in conjunction with your faith and moral principles.   The “Legislate for Life” program is a little more vague about actual activities, however, the hot issues vary at any given time and the responses vary depending on the issue at hand.  Take the opportunities offered by our speaker’s bureau to have your group become educated so that when these topics come to the forefront you will be better equipped to advocate for life.  Most importantly, exercise your right to vote!  Conduct a voter registration drive at your church or organization, and encourage everyone to vote during every election.  We have the power to effect change and overturn laws on abortion and more, but only if we go to the polls to vote with knowledge about candidates and issues so that we can make an informed decision.  

 

 

 

 

 

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