Tulsa's pro-life candidates

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Earlier tonight I spoke to Tony Lauinger, head of Oklahomans for Life. The organization regularly asks candidates for office to respond to a survey on issues relating to the sanctity of human life. The results are published in their newsletter.

Oklahomans for Life asked candidates for city office to respond to a questionnaire, and today was the deadline. I had hoped to have a copy of the results to post here, but there appears to have been an e-mail glitch. Tony told me that of the four mayoral candidates, only Bill LaFortune bothered to return the survey. LaFortune gave a pro-life response to each of the questions. Taylor, Faulk, and Tay did not respond at all.

City Auditor candidate Michael Willis also gave 100% pro-life responses to the questionnaire. Incumbent auditor Phil Wood did not respond. In Council District 9, Cason Carter gave a 100% pro-life response, while Phil Kates gave pro-life answers to about half of the questions. Kates deserves credit for sending in a response; candidates often don't bother if they know they aren't in full agreement with Oklahomans for Life. I don't know about responses from any of the other candidates. I will post the full responses as soon as I get a copy of them.

Why should a pro-life voter care about the views of candidates for local office? I'll give you three reasons that aren't directly about the official responsibilities of a councilor or a mayor, followed by one that is.

  1. A candidate's views on the sanctity of human life tell you something fundamental about his worldview and values.
  2. A local office can be a stepping stone to higher office where life issues arise more often. By electing a pro-abortion-rights candidate to local office, you are giving her a line on her resumé that may help her defeat a pro-life candidate in a race for state or federal office.
  3. In particular, a pro-abortion-rights mayor can use that position to raise money for pro-abortion-rights candidates for state and federal office. If you do business with city government, and the Mayor sends you an invitation to a fundraiser for her friend the candidate for State Senate, you'll send a check in order to stay on her good side, even if the candidate's ideology is antithetical to your own.

That last item is sometimes called "pay to play," but here's how Kathy Taylor described it to La Semana del Sur back around February 21: "’There are times, both in business and in politics, when you need a seat at the table,’ describing her contributions to members of the opposing party as a method of facilitating dialogue rather than an indication of ideological support." A pro-abortion-rights mayor could raise enough money to do serious damage to the current pro-life majority in the State Legislature.

There is an area of concern to pro-life voters that is directly the responsibility of local governments. Nationwide, Planned Parenthood chapters received $265 million in government funding according to its 2003-2004 annual report (PDF), the most recent annual report I could find on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America's website. Some of this comes directly from the federal government, but much of it comes through state, county, and municipal governments.

In 1996 and 1997, Tulsa Mayor Susan Savage and the Tulsa City Council gave part of the City's annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to the local chapter of Planned Parenthood. CDBG money comes from the Federal Government but is allocated by city officials.

In 1996, Councilor Sam Roop was the lone voice objecting to the grant for Planned Parenthood's "It's Your Future" program, which includes "sexuality education." As a result of the 1998 elections, he was joined by two more pro-life councilors, Anna Falling and Brady Pringle, who successfully persuaded their colleagues to block the funding. Planned Parenthood has not received funding from Tulsa's CDBG allocation since then.

In 2004, a Planned Parenthood chapter in Broward County, Florida, sent teens in their summer program for training at an activist camp, then sent them to campaign and register voters door-to-door and to protest a visit by President Bush. The funding source for the program? A half-million dollar grant from Broward County's children's services administration.

As I wrote at the time, Planned Parenthood is usually more subtle than to ask for funding for direct activism. Money is fungible. Planned Parenthood chapters often apply for government grants to support innocuous programs, which helps pay operating overhead for the organization, and also enables them to shift donated funds toward controversial activities like abortion referrals and lobbying against pro-life legislation at the State Capitol. Government funding can even free up private donations to fund cartoons about blowing up pro-life protesters.

On the Urban Tulsa Weekly questionnaire, we asked candidates whether they would support CDBG money for controversial groups like Planned Parenthood. Mayor Bill LaFortune, Councilors-elect Rick Westcott (2) and John Eagleton (7), Councilor Jim Mautino (6), and non-incumbent general election candidates Cason Carter (9), Phil Kates (9), and Gerald Rapson (3) all said no, as did a number of defeated primary candidates. The other general election candidates didn't answer the question. (Roscoe Turner (3) replied but didn't directly address the question in his reply. We didn't ask the candidates for auditor to answer a questionnaire. The link above is to the council questionnaire reponses; the mayoral questionnaire responses will be online on Thursday.)

If you're a pro-life voter, don't lose sight of this facet of the character and principles of those who seek to serve you at City Hall.


W. Author Profile Page said:

I'll ignore it, thank you very much. Whether a candidate is pro-life is irrelevant to how he/she will perform his/her duties as a city official. This is nothing more than a wedge issue that has nothing to do with the city issues at hand. Maybe that's the reason your survey was largely ignored.

I'd much rather have a pro-choicer who's going to be a good city official than a pro-lifer who's going to be a lousy one.

Besides, many pro-lifers also are anti-birth control, even for drugs that can help treat women's diseases like endomitriosis. I also find it incongruous for pro-life candidates to also be supportive of an ill-conceived war that appears to have been started for made-up reasons (if not made-up, then certainly fluid reasons) that is turning into a slaughter.

I'd rather have a candidate who stays out of our private lives, thank you very much. Whatever happened to those who wanted a *less* intrusive government?

susan said:

This pro-life issue does matter to many voters of Tulsa
(democrats and republicans)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 28, 2006 11:09 PM.

Missing comments, bouncing e-mails was the previous entry in this blog.

Jim Mautino District 6 Town Hall, 6:30 tonight is the next entry in this blog.

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