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U.S. mid-term elections a pro-life setback.

Washington -- Social conservative causes suffered a setback in the U.S. mid-term elections on November 7, 2006, as voters expressed their displeasure with President Bush's conduct of the Iraq war by electing Democratic majorities of both House and Senate. Important social issues were part of ballot measures including a comprehensive abortion ban in South Dakota, approval for stem cell research in Missouri, bans on same-sex 'marriage' in a number of states and requirements that parents be notified before an abortion is committed on a minor in California and Oregon.

A comprehensive ban on abortion, which was passed by the South Dakota legislature in 2005, was rejected by voters in that state 55-45 per cent. Supporters of the ban reflected that it could have been upheld had the influential National Right to Life Committee not opposed it on the basis of it not being a "timely" move.

A measure to permit embryonic stem cell research and human cloning passed by the narrowest of margins, 51-49 percent in Missouri. Pro-life activists charged that supporters of the amendment ran a deceptive campaign funded with tens of millions dollars given by a company that stands to profit from such research. The controversial support of Hollywood star Michael J. Fox may also have played a part.

Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin all approved bans on same-sex 'marriage,' but Arizona became the first state to reject such a measure--with the narrowest of margins (51-49 percent)--because it was seen to also affect heterosexuals. Twenty-seven U.S. states in all have now banned same-sex 'marriage.'

California and Oregon voters narrowly rejected, by a 54-46 margin in both cases, measures to require that abortionists notify parents before committing an abortion on a minor. The result means children as young as 12 can be taken from school to an abortuary without their parents' knowledge (, Nov. 8, 2006).

Perhaps most worrisome was the fact that the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual Democratic party wrested control from the Republicans in both houses of Congress. California Representative Nancy Pelosi, who has a "0" pro-life rating from the National Right to Life Committee, was named speaker of the House. Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer, who also has a "0" pro-life rating from the NRLC, will become House majority leader (, Nov. 16, 2006).

American Catholic journalist and author Russell Shaw said the pro-life cause is "in for a rough ride." Paul Weyrich, a U.S. conservative political activist and commentator, characterized the election as "the most disappointing race in my political lifetime" (, Nov. 8, 9 and 13, 2006).

However, Paul Tuns, editor of the Canadian monthly newspaper The Interim, noted in the September issue that the election presents an "opportunity" for the pro-life cause. Many of the 300-odd Republicans who lost were from the "moderate" (read: pro-abortion) wing of the party, he noted, while winning Democrats attempted to sound pro-life, or at least, less ardently pro-abortion. "All this augurs well for the U.S. pro-life movement, as the partisan realignment that may be taking place does not indicate a turning away from pro-life initiatives."

A related development was that the 'Catholic' vote shifted back to the Democrats after veering toward the Republicans in 2004, when President George W. Bush won 52 per cent support versus John Kerry's 47 per cent. This time, 55 per cent of Catholics voted for Democrats versus 45 per cent who voted for Republicans. If Democrats alienate this vote with anti-life, anti-family measures, this vote may well swing around again.
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Title Annotation:United States
Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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