GOP Ticket Firm on Abstinence-Only, Reproductive Rights

The Daily Women’s Health Policy Report cites an LA Times article on McCain and Palin’s positions on abstinence-only programs today.

While the LA Times and others are reporting on what some may see as differences between Palin’s, McCain’s and the larger Republican party’s stances on various health and family issues, others are crystal clear on what a McCain/Palin adminstration would support or oppose.

John McCain has always voted against funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs, health care access for low income children, publicly funded contraception (despite the unmatched success, among public health programs, of the Title X program that funds contraception for those who cannot afford it). McCain also opposed health insurance coverage for contraception while simultaneously supporting health insurance coverage for Viagra.

Sarah Palin opposes comprehensive sexual health education for our young people, favoring abstinence-only programs, and cut funding for WIC (Women, Infant, Children – an assistance program that allows low-income families to purchase food for their babies and children, access to breastfeeding support services and more). There is no reason to believe, as of right now, that a McCain/Palin administration would not continue to throw millions of dollars at failed abstinence only programs, as the Bush administration has continued to do.

When Palin ran for Mayor of Wasilla, she made a point of bringing up her opponent’s belief system about access to abortion services – her opponent supported women’s and families’ right to decide these personal matters on their own – despite the fact that in Alaska municipal elections are run as non-partisan elections. Apparently, this is when the GOP leaders in Alaska took notice of Palin.

Unless John McCain and Sarah Palin make a point of discussing condom use as an HIV/AIDS prevention tool, support access to emergency contraception whether in pharmacies, physician’s offices or emergency rooms for rape victimes, include a pro-comprehensive sexual health education talking point in a speech, or talk about how they have – or plan to – ensure the funding of social service programs for low-income families, there should be no question what a John McCain/Sarah Palin ticket supports.

John McCain and Sarah Palin enjoy the full support (and I use the word “enjoy” loosely) of the old-school religious right – Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, Leslee Unruh (National Abstinence Clearinghouse), and others – for a reason.

As U.S. Representative Barney Frank writes in The Boston Globe:

According to that right-wing social viewpoint, divorce, teen pregnancy, and other lapses in family values are the fault of liberals. According to this political movement…supporting age appropriate sex education; and refusing to allow religion to be inculcated by official government means, are the causes of social dysfunction in America. And every indication we have is that Palin believes this viewpoint.

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    Looks like you will have to add another group to the growing list of Mc-Pal supporters (and they are significant in that they have shown to historically vote left): “The striking thing here in this poll is that McCain has pulled ahead among Catholics by double-digits.”

    Palin Winning Over Twenty-Something Catholics
    The Huffington Post
    Posted September 8, 2008 | 04:41 PM (EST)

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Catholics are the ultimate swing voters. No other large group has switched sides so often — or been so consistently aligned with election winners. Catholics have backed the winner of the national popular vote for the last nine presidential elections: they’ve helped elect five Republican presidents, three Democratic presidents, and the popular-vote-winning but presidency-losing Democrat Al Gore.
    Not only because of their winning track record, but also because they make up nearly a quarter of all registered voters in the United States, Catholics could determine who wins the White House in 2008.
    That’s why I’m curious to hear what young, traditional Catholics — Generations X and Y — think of Sarah Barracuda. Is Palin winning their support?
    Thomas N. Peters posted that question online at, winner of “Best Political/Social Commentary Site” in the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards. Peters, 23, who runs the site, has appeared on CNN, BBC World News, and The Today Show. attracts visitors who are disproportionally in their 20s, and disproportionally traditional in their religious beliefs.
    “My poll saw a 19% net increase in support for Sen. John McCain because of his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin,” Peters told OffTheBus. “Plenty of my Catholic friends got swept up in palinmania. Many had pro-Palin Facebook statuses the day of the announcement, and even more had pro-Palin Facebook statuses after her convention speech. It’s nice to have an attractive figurehead for our ideals, as opposed to someone from our grandparents’ generation.”
    With 605 votes tallied after Palin was chosen to be McCain’s running mate, here is the breakdown among mostly 20-something Catholics who adhere to the moral teachings of the pope:

    Here is a sampling of responses from that poll:
    The hand that rocks the cradle can also rock the boat.
    –elm | 08.29.08 – 11:10 am
    I’m not worried about her lack of experience. Biden only emphasizes Obama’s lack of experience.
    –JennE inCA | 08.29.08 – 12:03 pm
    Obama’s big theme in the primaries was that he was going to “clean up Washington” and he’s not “an insider” and it won’t be “politics as usual” if he’s elected. With this pick of Palin, I don’t think Obama will be able to successfully run on that theme. This will be fun!
    –Mark | Homepage | 08.29.08 – 1:29 pm
    If Sen. McCain’s selection of Gov. Palin inspires just one woman to choose life over abortion … then the nomination of Gov. Palin will have been a thundering success.
    –brassband | 08.30.08 – 7:22 am
    Sarah would be doing far more good for the country by taking care of her kids! The work that she will be doing could be done better by a man — or by a woman who has no small children to raise.
    –AnUnSi | 08.30.08 – 8:14 am
    A WOMAN? No thank you. Too radical for my tastes.
    –JhN | 08.30.08 – 12:50 pm
    Can you imagine the picture McCain and Palin are going to make? Like a father and a daughter. The strong father handing down a legacy and teaching a woman, instead of the usual “son.”
    –Vonda | 09.01.08 – 3:45 am

    Palin Versus Biden
    Palin was baptized a Catholic, but today she is an Evangelical Christian who agrees with the Catholic pope on three issues of major importance to Catholic social doctrine: she is pro-life, opposes gay-marriage, and supports school-choice. (Her parents left the Catholic church when she was very young.)
    Like most self-identifying American Catholics, Biden is a cafeteria Catholic, meaning he picks and chooses which church doctrine to follow. Biden favors abortion on demand, advocates gay civil-unions, and opposes school-choice. He is not officially permitted to receive communion in a Catholic church, and some bishops have warned him not to present himself at the communion rail.
    In 2004, a handful of Catholic bishops similarly denounced John Kerry for his pro-abortion-rights position. Kerry lost white Catholics — who make up the vast majority of the Catholic community — to Bush, 56 percent to 43 percent.
    Nearly half of all Hispanic Catholics fall in the 20-something age group. They oppose abortion and same-sex marriage more strongly than other Catholics.
    “I think it’s fair to say that most traditional Catholics are wary of an America being shaped by poor or deficient public policy, and Palin is music to their ears,” Peters told OffTheBus.
    In a Zogby International poll conducted just after McCain announced Palin would join the ticket, McCain/Palin won 47.1 percent while Obama/Biden won 44.6 percent. Pollster John Zogby: “Clearly, Palin is helping the McCain ticket. She has high favorability numbers, and has unified the Republican Party. The striking thing here in this poll is that McCain has pulled ahead among Catholics by double-digits.”