Life Issues / Family Ethics Political Action Committee of Southwest Washington

Don Benton (R)*
2012 Candidate for
State Senate, 17th District

  Campaign Website  

Survey Response:  

2012 State Questionnaire 

1. Direct threats to human life include first of all abortion, which takes the lives of well over a million US children annually; embryonic stem cell harvesting; euthanasia; and cloning.  Additional threats to human life include poverty, capital punishment, racism, war, nuclear arms proliferation and exploitation.  Since each and every human being is unique and important, one's personhood or worth should not be arbitrarily determined by another's choice.  No one exists solely as a means to someone else's happiness.  The choices we make, as individuals and as a society, must be weighed in light of their impact on human life and dignity. 
Do you acknowledge both the breadth of pro life issues, and the primacy of some of those issues, namely abortion, embryonic stem cell harvesting, euthanasia, and cloning?   


2. Do you believe that a unique human life begins at conception?      Yes

     If not, when?  ___  3 mths  ___  6 mths  ___ 9 mths  ___  1 yr  ___ 18 yrs?


. The 14th Amendment states "nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, 1973, stated that "if this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment." The Court regrettably concluded though that "we need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer." Do you believe that  the State has a compelling interest in protecting human life beginning at conception?


4. Is taking the life of a pre-born child through abortion ever
morally permissible?  Check all that apply:

__X___ No, it's never permissible

_Maybe_ Yes, to save mother's life

_____ Yes, in cases of rape or incest

____ Yes, for physical deformity

_____  Yes, for gender

_____  Yes, for race

_____  Yes, to punish spouse

_____ Yes, it's always permissible

5. Do you oppose embryonic stem cell research or human cloning, whether publically or privately funded?


6. Peer reviewed studies have shown that parental involvement laws reduce the occurrence of risky sex in teens, and more than 30 states currently have some form of them.  Either the teen refrains from engaging in sex or is more careful before having sex.  These laws help teen mothers and fathers get the support and guidance they need from parents in this important decision.  Not having them risks parental estrangement or alienation from the child when in the greatest need and denies the dignity of the family.  Minors already must have parental approval for even the most minor types of medical procedures or medications and should also for the complex procedure of abortion.   Without parental involvement, a minor impregnated by an adult often times is pressured into having an abortion so as to conceal the fact that the adult is guilty of statutory rape. 
Will you promote/support parental involvement laws (with judicial override) for minors when seeking an abortion?

To my knowledge, I am the only Senator to ever sponsor and successfully pass parental notification law in the state senate. It was killed in the House.


7. "The trend toward accepting the termination of some human lives as a normal part of medicine is accelerating ... Courts, policymakers, media leaders - even the elites of organized medicine - increasingly assert that patient rights and respect for patients’ choices should trump the consciences of medical professionals.  Indeed, the time may soon arrive when doctors, nurses, and pharmacists will be compelled to take, or be complicit in the taking of, human life, regardless of their strong religious or moral objections thereto." (Westlie J. Smith, 2009) Should doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals be granted the right to refuse participation in the provision of medical services that violate the person's moral, ethical or religious beliefs?


8. Washington State Initiative 1000 which was passed in 2008, legalized Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) by allowing doctors to prescribe lethal doses of barbiturates to certain patients.  One objection to this sanctioning of suicide is that some vulnerable persons, such as those who are feeble, depressed, mentally ill, or handicapped, will likely experience coercion to end their lives.  For them a right to die, already protected in the Natural Death Act, (RCW 70.122), may become a duty to die.  The American Medical Association (policy H-140.952) as well as the Washington State Medical Association (2007 Resolution A-7) oppose PAS.  The AMA states that "physician assisted suicide is fundamentally inconsistent with the physician's professional role."  The initiative uses vague language that enable doctors "acting in good faith" to assist mentally ill or depressed patients to commit suicide, while protecting doctors from civil and criminal lawsuits.  Health care insurers can cut costs by providing prescriptions for suicide.  Will society's sanction of suicide have unintended consequences?  Sponsor and former governor Booth Gardner says that this is only a “first step” in legalizing assisted suicide for anyone who wants it.  When society fails to protect vulnerable people in their troubles, but instead offers them the violence of suicide, has not society abandoned them?  Do you oppose the availability of physician assisted suicide in Washington State?
 I have publicly come out against it.


9 Children develop best within the context of a biologically related family.  This is a scientifically proven fact which the Washington State Supreme Court referenced when in 2006, it ruled on the state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  The court determined that the state's limitation of marriage to heterosexual couples "is constitutional because the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers ... the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children’s biological parents."  In concurrence, Justice James Johnson wrote "The unique and binary biological nature of marriage and its exclusive link with procreation and responsible child rearing has defined the institution [of marriage in law]." 
In order to affirm and protect children’s rights and the primacy of those rights over adults’ aspirations for novel family forms, do you oppose laws that change the definition of marriage to include homosexual and polygamous relationships?  I have been a consistent vocal opponent of Gay marriage and civil union laws.


10. The Washington State Legislature in 2007 passed ESSB 5297 requiring school districts to teach "scientifically accurate" (aka comprehensive) sex education, if they teach sex ed at all. The typical comprehensive sex education program spends as little as 5% of the time teaching abstinence principles (Zogby 3/27/07), instead spending significantly more time teaching students how to put condoms on models of male genitalia and promoting alternative forms of sexual activity called outercourse, which may include showering together and mutual masturbation as effective ways to avoid pregnancy and disease. In contrast, an emphasis on abstinence means teaching students about building healthy relationships and bolstering self worth and self-control. 
Given that ESSB 5297 allows school districts a wide range in how the law is applied, will you work to maximize sex education that is wholesome, not dehumanizing and truly safe?  I vehemently opposed this bill on the Senate Floor and was ACTIVE in the debate against this bill and voted no.

   I support abstinence education programs.

11. The death penalty in the United States should:

be used more

. A proposed casino off I-5 near Ridgefield is projected to be one of the largest in the nation.  What is your position on the building of this casino?

Fully Oppose

13. Please state your qualifications for office such as professional, educational, family and community accomplishments.  You may also add any any further comments regarding the relationship of your candidacy to respect life issues.

Boy Scouts of America - Boy Scout Leader

Crisis Pregnancy Center Donor


14. Do you have a campaign website?  What is the address?

15. May LIFE PAC post your survey response on its website?