What a year. A year dominated by a crazy, unpredictable presidential race that sent experienced operatives back to the drawing board and the establishment scurrying. No one predicted that, when the dust settled, we would have a president, Senate, and Congress poised to pass pro-life legislation. Even Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, said, “I think that Roe v. Wade was on the ballot in this election…” Well, Cecile, clearly Roe v. Wade lost.
There was also a surprise in the continuing Republican dominance among governors and state legislatures. This is significant for us because the Republican Party remains the pro-life party by way of the platform and the majority of candidates and officeholders. What remains to be seen is whether the political dominance will continue to translate into more pro-life legislation at the state level.
While the dominance of pro-life Republicans in the country is encouraging, in Oregon we still have a governor and legislature that are firmly planted in Planned Parenthood’s pocket. There was a bright spot in the election of Dennis Richardson as Secretary of State, the first statewide win by a pro-life candidate since Senator Gordon Smith’s re-election in 2002.
Oregonians may not have seen the kind of big changes there were in Washington, D.C., but we still have plenty to do.
First, we can take solace that the rest of the country is moving in the right direction and the national narrative does impact local decisions. The removal of most federal money from Planned Parenthood would have an impact on the organization here as well. Planned Parenthood’s political activities, as well as its position as the largest provider of abortions in the country, could be significantly diminished and babies will be safer for it.
Second, we can remember that “politics is downstream from culture.” We may not have liked everything we saw this election, but the good news is that we can influence and continue to change the culture around us by engaging with our neighbors and continuing to talk about the value of human life in all its stages.
Third, activate when asked. It will be important to call, email, and show up. We will have battles in Oregon and we will need your help. You have more influence than you think. And, just like your vote, you never know ahead of time whether or not your vote “counts” until we see the result. You don’t know whether your call, email, or hand-written note will be the final tally mark or word that sparks change.
We can all enjoy this moment for awhile. I hope that you find encouragement in these results. Now, it’s time to, in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s words, “go big” and get some stuff done.