Sex and Religion

Finding Religion and Spirituality in Population, Gender, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health Advocacy in the Philippines.

Monday, July 20, 2009


New publication from Catholics for Choice

Executive Summary

The past four decades have witnessed a shift in the political allegiances of the Catholic hierarchy from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. It has also seen the emergence of “prolife” Democratic elected officials who claim to represent the authentic position of the church on life issues.

Certainly, the Catholic hierarchy with its fervent antiabortion stance has found a home with the Republican Party, and vice versa. However, there is no question that when it comes to gauging the views of the Catholic electorate with respect to the issues of abortion and reproductive rights, the facts are crystal clear. A majority of Catholic voters support reproductive rights.

While select Democratic officials have tried to assert an antichoice stance in order to align themselves more closely with the church hierarchy, it cannot be forgotten that respecting the ability and capacity of both women and men to make reproductive decisions has been a longstanding tenet of the Democratic Party platform since the 1970s. Indeed, the platform in 2008 included support for strategies that seek to prevent, not prohibit abortion, including expanding the availability and affordability of contraception, improved health-care coverage and quality child care.

Unfortunately, there are some organizations that do not respect or cannot accept the support for choice among the Catholic electorate and the Democratic Party. These organizations have sought to move the party away from its prochoice position in order to win over supposedly antichoice Catholic voters by co-opting the concept of the “common good.”

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) is one such group. To the untrained eye, CACG may just seem like another Catholic social justice organization, focusing solely on traditional Catholic social teaching such as care of the poor, environmental sustainability and economic justice. However, a closer look reveals that a key aim of CACG is to oppose the availability of legal abortion.

As it seeks to develop a higher media profile, the antichoice beliefs of CACG become more apparent. For example, in November 2008, one CACG letter to the editor in the Washington Post in response to an article entitled “Some Abortion Foes Shifting Focus from Ban to Reduction” stated, “[Pope John Paul II’s] language about building a “culture of life” addressed the need for a broad response—legal, social, and cultural—to prevent abortion.”2 This letter did more than all the public pronouncements of Catholics in Alliance to reveal its true colors: it is at one with one of the most antichoice popes in the modern era on abortion. •

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