Abortion, This Election's Stepchild

Akiba Solomon, a columnist for Colorlines, tackles a topic from the vice presidential debate on Thursday: women's reproductive rights.

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From Social Security to abortion, political issues should be viewed without religious prejudice, argues Colorlines columnist Akiba Solomon. Why, then, she asks, was the topic of abortion brought up at Thursday's vice presidential debate through the lens of the Catholic religious beliefs of Vice President Joe Biden and candidate Paul Ryan?

I don't expect any of the candidates or moderators to bring up urgent issues such as poverty and the stalled Farm Bill, police brutality and the prison industrial complex, racial and religious profiling, the easy availability of guns, or the impending death of affirmative action. Despite the ever-ballooning field of political punditry, the two major parties have been successful in narrowing their presidential talking points to address allegedly undecided "hardworking, middle class Americans" (translation: white folks in swing states).

Now, what I do expect is robust and repeated discussion of women's reproductive health rights, a subject that radical anti-choice congressional Republicans, including VP nominee Paul Ryan, have made a core issue for at least two years. Toward the end of last night's foreign policy-heavy vice presidential debate, moderator Martha Raddatz brought it up. Curiously, she framed her initial question in personal, religious terms:

RADDATZ: I want to move on, and I want to return home for these last few questions. This debate is indeed historic. We have two Catholic candidates, first time on a stage such as this, and I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion. Please talk about how you came to that decision. Talk about how your religion played a part in that. And please, this is such an emotional issue for so many —

RYAN: Sure.

RADDATZ: — people in this country. Please talk personally about this if you could. Congressman Ryan.

Read Akiba Solomon's entire piece at Colorlines.

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