The women's vote :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

The women's vote

Clare Hinshaw

I voted. Credit: Brett Neilson (CC BY 2.0)

Being only 22, I can't really say I've been involved in politics for a long time but, I have been involved for the majority of my short life. I became interested in politics through my involvement in the pro-life movement, so naturally the life issues come first and foremost in my mind.

However, one doesn't need to be involved in politics for a long time to observe that the life issues are not first and foremost for most politicians. Any casual observer could tell you that the universal strategy for candidates in dealing with abortion and other such topics is to speak about them as little and as ambiguously as possible. Any Democrat who wishes to make it in the party must be firmly pro-abortion and is preferably an extremist. However, this commitment has to be talked down during election season as one doesn't want to risk alienating so-called “blue dog” democrats as well as independents who may not share quite so radical a view on abortion as even the least extreme Democratic candidate.

On the Republican side, the majority of candidates, at least for higher office, are nominally pro-life but not particularly motivated to defend the issue at the risk of losing votes. And so the issue of abortion, and all issues related to it, is almost universally dodged at all costs with excuses such as Mario Cuomo's “I can't force my beliefs on others” remarks and President Obama's 2008 statement that “it's above my pay grade.”

But this year is turning out a little differently. It all began in January with the HHS mandate and the subsequent “War on Women” rhetoric. The issues of contraception and abortion were brought to the fore, attracting the attention of all voters, not only those who take these issues into account anyway. But politicians don't always pay attention to the same issues that voters do and it was to be presumed that the candidates would dodge the life issues as they always had. But the second presidential debate revealed a startling new development.

In answering a question regarding pay equity for women, President Obama brought up birth control. There are very few other examples of politicians voluntarily raising the issue of contraception so this was cause for a significant double-take. His rather dubious point was that access to contraception has “a bearing on how women succeed in the workplace.” He then proceeded to get in the ring for the international champion of the culture of death, Planned Parenthood, stating that “there are millions of women all across the country, who rely on Planned Parenthood for, not just contraceptive care, they rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings.” (As a sidenote, thousands of women proceeded to call up their local Planned Parenthoods after this remark in order to inquire about mammograms and not a single clinic could provide them.) He continued to contend for Planned Parenthood throughout the debate, referencing them in answers to several other unrelated questions.
I ended the night in a state of shock. A candidate for the presidency of the United States was flaunting his support for contraception and Planned Parenthood. This was unheard of. But in the ensuing days we have seen a trickle-down effect. The President is no longer the only democratic candidate parading his values. Congressional and gubernatorial candidates have jumped on the bandwagon.

Presumably, this new laser-like focus on “women's issues” is an attempt to gain female votes next week. The results on November 6 will tell us a lot about the women of America and what really matters to them. Were they able to be bribed with the promise of free sex? Or were real issues, such as the economy and national defense more important to them? The women of America will show their true colors next Tuesday. And indeed, they're already beginning to show.

Naturally, the media has begun paying minute attention to the “women's vote.”  And, interestingly enough, they've found that Mitt Romney has made huge gains with female voters over the past two weeks, just as the democrat's intense pandering has taken off. When one googles “polls women voters” such headlines come up as “Romney erases Obama advantage among women,” “Women voters flocking to Mitt Romney,” and “Obama tanks among women.” So apparently, women aren't actually crazy about being treated like sex objects. Fancy that.

Every woman voting next Tuesday needs to answer the question “What really matters to me as an American woman?  Free sex? The state of the country?  Or, best of all, the right to life for all human beings?” Choose your answer wisely – you are telling the world what matters to the women of America.

Topics: Abortion , Contraception , Current Events , Feminism , Pro-Life , Women's Health

Clare Hinshaw is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Catechetics with minors in Theology and Human Life Studies. She served as the president of the student chapter of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights at Kellenberg Memorial High School on Long Island. At Franciscan University she served as the vice president of the College Republicans and was trained as a pro-life sidewalk counselor.

View all articles by Clare Hinshaw

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