Catholics Vote for Women’s Health

With all the post-election polling analysis, there are many
interesting outcomes that merit some soul-searching — and not just
within the political parties.

Exit polls reveal that 54 percent of Catholic voters supported
President-elect Barack Obama, despite entreaties from Catholic
leadership to vote against Senator Obama because of his support for
abortion rights.

While this may come as a surprise to Catholic bishops who are
meeting this week to discuss the election, it is consistent with what
we know about the attitudes of Catholic voters.

In a poll commissioned by Planned Parenthood last year, Catholic
voters were asked to name their largest concerns around the issues of
abortion and family planning.

The number-one response was that there are "too many unwanted children in America whose parents can’t take care of them."

Second, they said government was too quick to interfere with people’s personal lives and private decisions.

And third, government was not doing enough to provide education and
resources to help people make responsible decisions about sexual
behavior and pregnancy.

In fact, Catholic voters are more likely to support comprehensive
sex education in schools (78 percent) than the general public (76
percent). And 86 percent of Catholics favor launching a major effort to
reduce the number of unintended pregnancies by both increasing the
availability of contraception for low-income women and by providing
teens with comprehensive sex education.

Put simply, Catholic voters, just like the rest of America, want
government to focus on solving problems for American families, such as
increasing access to affordable health care and helping children stay
healthy and safe and not become parents before they are ready.

And that is why President-elect Obama was elected by a majority of
Americans — because he has a commonsense agenda to bring people
together, expand health care access, and focus on prevention.

The U.S. leads the world’s most developed nations in teen pregnancy
rates and last year teen birth rates rose for the first time in 14
years. At Planned Parenthood, we work to prevent unintended and teen
pregnancy. We provide more than 2.4 million women each year with family
planning services — but nearly another 15 million go unserved due to
lack of affordable access.

It’s time all of us, including elected leaders and religious
leaders, listen to the voters, and get back to promoting the health of
women and young people — healthy families make a healthy America. One
would hope this is an agenda that everyone, regardless of religious
beliefs, could rally behind.

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  • invalid-0

    Richards’ contention doesn’t square with the most recent polling results showing Catholics pro-life.

    A Marist College poll conducted in October found a majority of Catholics take a pro-life position and almost one-third of Catholic voters who say they are “pro-choice” on abortion actually oppose all or most abortions.

    The Marist survey found 63 percent of Catholics say abortions should be permitted in none or almost no cases by opposing all abortions, all abortions except to save the mother’s life, or all abortions except to save the mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest.

    That puts 63 percent of Catholics opposing about 98 percent of all abortions, according to Alan Guttmacher Institute information about when abortions are done.

    Breaking down the polling data further, 72 percent of practicing Catholics take one of the three pro-life positions opposing all or almost all abortions. And 47 percent of non-practicing Catholics say they oppose all or most abortions.

    In addition, the Marist College poll found just 6 percent of all Catholics, 5 percent of practicing Catholics and 8 percent of non-practicing Catholics say they agree with Barack Obama that abortions should be legal at any time during pregnancy.

    With presidential exit polling data confirming the economy was far and away the number one issue on which voters made their decision for president, Richards’ contention that the results show Catholics now somehow support abortion is off base.

    Combining the presidential results, the exit polls and the polling data, the only plausible conclusion is that some Catholic voters backed Obama despite their disagreement with him on abortion.

    “It’s time all of us, including elected leaders and religious leaders, listen to the voters,” Richards concludes. Perhaps she is getting too much static.

  • invalid-0

    >”Catholics Vote for Women’s Health”

    Um, no. The article and facts say that Catholics supported Obama and not women’s health. While Catholics do support women’s health, as well as the health of men, women’s health does not equal abortion. I fail to see how killing future women in vitro supports women’s health in any way.

    >”The number-one response was that there are “too many unwanted children in America whose parents can’t take care of them.”

    Just because it was cited most, doesn’t make it factual or true, just a popular response. What is the criteria for “too many” and what are your metrics?

    >”Put simply, Catholic voters, just like the rest of America, want government to focus on solving problems for American families”

    The only plausible reasons for governent involvement is because the mainline Protestant congregations which serve the other 75% of Americans have let them down.

    Catholics run the largest private healthcare system in America, as well as the largest education and welfare systems on the planet. AS a family planning technique, abstinance is 100% effective and has been effective in reducing both HIV and unwanted births in Africa and other locales.

    Catholics will continue praying and performing penance for your sins and the sins of Planned Parenthood, as well as, continuing to protest Planned Parenthood and like purveyors of death.

    God bless… +Timothy

    BTW, I voted my conscience for the most “Catholic” candidate, who turned out this year to be a 3rd party candidate.

  • betty-brown

    a male fails to see how abortion could support a woman’s health – and "in any way".  gee, you’ve opened my eyes, sir, and i now see that abortion is never, ever, in any way tied to a woman’s health.

    god bless, indeed! /snark off.



    truth?  is truth unchanging law?  we both have truths, are mine the same as yours?