I realized the other morning that as a woman, I stand to play a huge role in the upcoming election.
Every time I listen to NPR, tune into a debate, read an article in the paper or stumble across an editorial online someone is asking about or talking about the importance of women’s issues in the November election.
I’m sure most of my readers have heard the claims from the Obama campaign that Mitt Romney and other republicans, have waged a war against women.
Most of the discussion of “women’s issues” in the campaign has revolved around abortion and contraception.
I sat in a pizza joint in Louisville last week and listened as the vice presidential candidates were asked how their religion has played a role in their stance on legalized abortion. Joe Biden and Paul Ryan are both Catholic but have different beliefs about the topic.
Biden said that his personal issues with abortion do not allow him to tell a woman she has no right to make decisions about her body. Ryan said his religious upbringing forces him to believe life begins and conception and abortion should generallt be illegal.
President Obama signed an order during his term banning the use of federal funds for abortions except for cases of rape, incest and pregnancies where the mother’s life would be in danger. Obama also supports Roe v. Wade and votes in favor of pro-chioce legislation.
Then there’s the discussion prompted by Republican Representative Todd Akin.
Akin claims the bodies of women who are the victims of “legitimate rape” are able to stop a pregnancy from happening.
And, of course, there is the controversy over contraception and who should bear the burden of paying for it.
When Obamacare legislation passed earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services made it mandatory for insurance companies to cover birth control under health plans.
I say all of this to make it clear that women are expected to play a huge role in the outcome of this election.
I find myself at a crossroads in terms of deciding my vote based on these issues.
As a woman, I am obviously concerned with having the right to make decisions about my own body. As a Christian, I am concerned with my religious values that suggest I should opposed abortion and, at times even, birth control.
As a woman, do I vote for a candidate who supports the choices of women and the idea that they can decide for themselves what to do with their bodies?
Or, as a Christian, do I vote for a candidate who supports religious values and stresses the value of the human life?
Like I said, I’m at a crossroads.
Most research I’ve read suggests women will be the deciding demographic in this election. For decades women have been taking more of an interest and becoming more invested in selecting a president that best serves them.
In fact, since 1964 more women have been showing up to the polls than men, according to an article by Kathleen Parker printed earlier this month in the Washington Post.
According to the Center for American Women and Politics, 10 million more women voted than men in the 2008 election.
Believe me, it’s no coincidence that candidates are beginning to shift their focus to issues that directly effect the health, freedom and happiness of American women.
While all of these issues are important to me, I find that I can’t base my decision on these alone.
I heard a young woman from Colorado on NPR the other morning tell the moderator of the discussion she wouldn’t be voting for a candidate based on these issues.
I seem to find myself moving in a similar direction in terms of my vote.
Perhaps, instead of voting as a woman or as a Christian, I should be eliminating these “labels” and focusing on other categories I fit in.
I think instead of voting based on my sex or gender or my religious affiliation, I’ll vote as an American concerned with employment, taxes, freedom of speech and he environment.
I hope my readers will actually consider the women’s issues and social issues I’ve discussed in this article.
But I mostly encourage my readers to vote for the issues that effect Americans in general: education, the economy and the environment.