Risky Business? Pac Decisionmaking in Congressional Elections

By Robert Biersack; Paul S. Herrnson et al. | Go to book overview

were close to those of JustLife Action on economic and military policy but who favored abortion rights and, therefore, did not merit endorsement.


Conclusion

Despite its limited success in the 1992 elections, JustLife Action remained firmly committed to its consistent pro-life position. Initially, Justlife and JustLife Action intended to focus their educational and legislative activities on the application of the consistent life ethic to children. Among other things, they planned to emphasize what they view as the inconsistencies between defending the rights of children and the proposed Freedom of Choice Act. Both organizations hired Jill Mann as their new director after the 1992 election. Mann emphasized that if JustLife Action was to remain viable as a PAC, it must have sufficient funds and other forms of support to give to candidates. In a post-election interview, Mann suggested that in the 1992 elections, JustLife Action could have focused on fundraising earlier in the election cycle. She also suggested that JustLife might have identified potentially credible candidates earlier and given more support to these candidates in the primaries. For future elections, Mann hoped to inform JustLife supporters about ways to become more active as well as to provide opportunities for greater participation.

After careful consideration of their financial situation, however, JustLife and JustLife Action terminated their national organizations in 1993. Although membership in JustLife had grown steadily, contributions to JustLife Action had sharply declined. Both organizations were in debt, and fundraising efforts in 1993 had been largely unsuccessful. It appears that in the polarized world of abortion politics, there was not a sufficiently sizable constituency for a PAC that endorsed a consistent ethic of life.


Notes
1.
Unless otherwise noted, all information on JustLife and JustLife Action was obtained through publications provided by the organizations or through telephone interviews with David Medema, the executive director of JustLife and JustLife Action during the 1992 election cycle, or Jill Mann, the most recent executive director of the organizations. The author would like to thank Mr. Medena and Ms. Mann for their assistance in providing information on JustLife and JustLife Action and for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this chapter.
2.
The principal proponent of the consistent ethic of life has been Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Chicago. For a collection of addresses and commentaries on the consistent ethic of life by Bernardin and others, see Thomas G. Fuechtmann , ed., Consistent Ethic of Life ( Kansas City, MO: Sheed and Ward, 1988).
3.
The survey of JustLife members is part of the Religious Interest Group Survey Project directed by Lyman A. Kellstedt of Wheaton College. A summary of the findings on JustLife respondents can be found in Chris Fastnow, "Seismic Activity--The Faultlines Within JustLife," Paper presented at the 1991 Meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Religion.

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