Get Out the Vote

National pro-life leader stresses importance of Election Day.

(photo: 2008 CNS photo/Jim Westa)

In just a few days, the pro-life people of our country will have their first concrete opportunity to begin to take back the ground lost in the 2008 election.

Consider the setbacks to life that have taken place since President Obama moved into the Oval Office. The Mexico City Policy was reversed, again allowing for U.S. financing of international programs that fund abortion; the Food and Drug Administration, over the strenuous objection of many in the medical field, approved Ella, an emergency contraceptive that Catholic bishops and others recognize as an abortifacient; federal funding has been restored to embryonic stem-cell research, which kills human life; a health-care law was passed that, if it is not repealed or significantly revised, will have taxpayer dollars funding abortion; and the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI, with their friends from Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation and other pro-abortion groups, have put together a “resource guide” for dealing with pro-life groups considered to be violent. Priests for Life is included on the watch list.

“It’s been a dark few years for America,” said David Bereit, national director for 40 Days for Life, during a “Get Out the Vote” webcast this week. (The webcast, the third in a series conducted by Priests for Life and the Vote Pro-life Coalition, is available for replay at

Even with more Americans identifying themselves as pro-life than ever before, abortion is not uppermost on voters’ minds.

“We’ve got to remind them … the moral issues are the base,” said David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders, a Christian pro-family organization, during the Oct. 27 webcast. The nation’s Catholic bishops, and one of our newest cardinals, Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke, have stressed the same issue.

“You can never vote for someone who favors absolutely the right to choice of a woman to destroy a human life in her womb or the right to a procured abortion,” the cardinal-elect said in an interview with Catholic Action for Faith and Family.

While the secular media has gone out of its way to portray many pro-life candidates as anywhere from quirky to downright crazy, Barton says we need to keep our focus on the platform of the party the candidate represents.

“People elected to office don’t have as much clout as we think they do,” he said. Policy is determined by the leadership of the party caucuses and not by any individual candidate. If a candidate’s party platform is pro-life, and bona fide pro-lifers have endorsed that candidate, voters can be assured they are casting a vote for life.

On Nov. 2, we have an opportunity to change things. But there is still work to do and not much time to do it. Here are a few suggestions for things you can do right now.

Print out voter guides for your state: Find them at or Show them to your pastor and ask if he would distribute them in church. (It is perfectly legal for a church to do this for a neutral voter guide.) Find other ways to distribute the guides yourself or in conjunction with local groups.

Use your e-mail lists or your social media contacts to spread the message that a vote for life is the only way to reverse the culture of death.

Attach yourself to a political campaign and volunteer to be a poll watcher. Voter fraud in many early voting states has become a concern, so election monitoring is vitally important.

Erect signs for pro-life candidates on your property. Signs make a difference by giving courage to people who may be sitting on the fence.

Volunteer to pick up and drive to the polls anyone who might otherwise have to sit out the election.

Last, but not least, pray. Pray that American voters have the courage to vote with their consciences and not their pocketbooks. Pray that pro-life leaders who are elected work hard to keep their promises. Pray that God will look favorably on our efforts to safeguard his creation.

Father Frank Pavone is national director of Priests for Life.