Thursday, February 14, 2008

Candidates on Abortion

Since this election has dragged out the issue of sexism and gender discrimination, I think its time we turned our attention to how the remaining candidates, Republican and Democratic stand on abortion.

Ann from Feministing provides a fairly comprehensive list of Sen. John McCain's stance on abortion:

  • Repeatedly voted for (and cosponsored) the Federal Abortion Ban. After the court upheld the ban, he said, "Today's Supreme Court ruling is a victory for those who cherish the sanctity of life and integrity of the judiciary. The ruling ensures that an unacceptable and unjustifiable practice will not be carried out on our innocent children."
  • Supported the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, a law that grants separate legal status to an embryo or fetus
  • Voted in favor of four anti‐choice U.S. Supreme Court nominees. "I’m proud that we have Justice Alito and Roberts on the United States Supreme Court. I’m very proud to have played a very small role in making that happen." (May 3, 2007 Republican debate)
  • Repeatedly voted to deny low‐income women access to abortion care except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment
  • Voted to permit federally funded Title X family‐planning clinics to decline to counsel women on abortion services
  • Voted against lifting the ban that forbids U.S. servicewomen from obtaining abortion services at overseas military hospitals with their own funds
  • Voted to require Title X family‐planning clinics to notify a teen’s parent before providing abortion services
  • Voted in favor of the Teen Endangerment and Grandmother Incarceration Act
  • Voted against the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE)
  • Voted to terminate the Title X family‐planning program
  • Voted against funding teen‐pregnancy‐prevention programs and ensuring that “abstinence‐only” programs are medically accurate
  • Voted to uphold the Global Gag Rule
  • Voted for the domestic gag rule, which would have prohibited federally funded family‐planning clinics from providing women with access to full information about their reproductive‐health options
  • Voted to de‐fund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), an organization that provides family‐planning services – not abortion – for the world’s poorest women
  • Voted to earmark one‐third of all HIV/AIDS prevention funds for abstinence-only programs
  • Voted to take $75 million from the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant to establish a new “abstinence‐only” program
  • Voted to impose a federal parental‐consent law on teens seeking birth control. Not abortion. Birth control
  • Voted against legislation that would have required insurance coverage of prescription birth control, improved access to emergency contraception, and provided more women with prenatal health care
  • Voted to allow medical residency training programs in obstetrics and gynecology to receive federal assistance even if they ignore abortion training requirements

It would be a huge step backwards for women reproductive rights should McCain win the White House.

Sen. Hillary Clinton's website provides this description of her position on abortion and reproductive rights:

Hillary has fought the relentless and insidious efforts by far-right Republicans to limit the protections of Roe v Wade, while also working hard to expand access to family planning services.

Hillary has seen what happens when governments try to control a woman's reproductive health decisions. Whether it was Romania under a dictatorship saying you had to have children for the good of the state or China saying you had to have only one child for the good of the state, governments have dictated the most private and important decisions that we as individuals or families can make.

She has championed the Prevention First Act, which expands access to family planning services for low-income women, requires health insurance companies to cover contraception, and provides a dedicated funding stream for age-appropriate, medically accurate, comprehensive sex education.

As First Lady, she helped pass the Family and Medical Leave Act and helped found the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancies, which established and achieved a goal of reducing teen pregnancies by one-third between 1996 and 2005.

In partnership with Senator Patty Murray, Hillary waged a successful three-year battle to get the Food and Drug Administration to accept the overwhelming recommendation of the medical community and make Plan B (the "morning after" pill) available over the counter.

Her past record looks good, although I'm suspicious that there isn't a whole lot of planning for what she would do once in office. I'd like to see an outline of her strategy to uphold women's reproductive rights.

Barack Obama's website doesn't have a section on women's issues at all, which is seriously disappointing. They don't even get a spot on the "Additional Issues" page. However, wedged into the last paragraph on Healthcare is this brief blurb:
Women's Health: Obama worked to pass a number of laws in Illinois and Washington to improve the health of women. His accomplishments include creating a task force on cervical cancer, providing greater access to breast and cervical cancer screenings, and helping improve prenatal and premature birth services.

I plan on researching this a little more over the next week or so. Please feel free to pass on any information you have on the candidates and their abortion/reproductive rights stances.

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