The Catholic Vote and Priorities for the Next President
Once again, Catholic voters showed that as goes the Catholic vote, so goes the election. Initial results show that 54% of the Catholic vote went to President-elect Barack Obama. As shown in our poll, “The Catholic Voter in Summer 2008,” Catholic voters, like all voters around the country, are most concerned with the bread-and-butter issues that effect all Americans. Catholics showed once again that the most important factors in their deciding the next president and the issues they want him to focus on were improving the economy, affordable health care, ending the war in Iraq and keeping the country safe from terrorism.
This shows that the majority of Catholics ignored the single-issue dictates of a few bishops who declared that it was unacceptable to vote for President-elect Obama because of his prochoice position. Many Catholics were rightly turned off by this overt electioneering. On Election Day, Catholic voters proved just how out of touch those few bishops and conservative Catholics are who claimed the issue of abortion should trump all others.
The next administration will have to work hard to repair the damage done during the last eight years. Undoubtedly, concerns about America’s economic security and military engagements overseas will garner a great deal of attention. However, the next administration and Congress must also work for advances in reproductive health care in the US and abroad.
The next president needs to:
- Provide comprehensive and affordable health care to all Americans—including funding for comprehensive sex education and family planning programs that reduce unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion, as well as provide support for women who choose to carry their pregnancies to term;
- Restore the United States’ leadership position on women’s rights, international family planning and global development issues by working with international agencies and our partners overseas;
- Work towards an end to the culture wars over abortion and towards an era that respects the right of women to access legal abortion in a timely manner; and,
- Respect the conscience of every American by removing any refusal clauses affecting federal health programs beyond the traditional exemption for the direct provision of abortion.
This entry was originally posted on The Hill’s Congress Blog on 6 November 2008.