Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain-Palin Ticket: Direct Threat To Women's Right To Choose

I thought about an article, "Mexico City Struggles With Law On Abortion" (New York Times, 8/25/08) when considering John McCain's choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a running mate.

The article states that Mexico City's "left-wing government" is revamping its abortion services despite court challenges from conservative groups. It makes clear the economic considerations of a woman's right to choose, inasmuch as restricting such a right specifically punishes poor women:

"When Mexico City’s government made abortion legal last year, it also set out to make it available to any woman who asked for one. That includes the city’s poorest, who for years resorted to illegal clinics and midwives as wealthy women visited private doctors willing to quietly end unwanted pregnancies."

Dr. Laura Garcia, who is the only one out of 13 gynecologists who agreed to offer abortions at a public hospital, "...said she had been insulted by colleagues and chased down the street by abortion opponents. But she said that having witnessed what happened to women before abortion became legal — she saw cases of septic shock and uncontrolled bleeding from botched abortions — helped her continue her work."

Dr. Garcia describes the traumas poor women who seek abortion may eventually face if the  McCain-Palin ticket is victorious. Palin, a Christian conservative, stands by McCain in his opposition to abortion rights. 

McCain has completely undermined his argument regarding Barack Obama's lack of foreign policy experience, by potentially placing this particular vice presidential candidate one heartbeat away from the presidency. Regardless, he has shored up his standing among Christian conservatives and is making a pitch for women who supported Hillary Clinton and are still bitter about Obama's candidacy.

Nevertheless, it took chutzpah for Palin to allude to herself as carrying on Clinton's quest: "It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America, but it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all."

Palin is insulting the intelligence of the women of America. Her politics, including her firm opposition to abortion, do not resemble Clinton's at all. Moreover, American women will not take the simple-minded approach of rallying around Palin simply because of gender. It may come as news to the McCain-Palin camp that women also examine the issues.

That being the case, Obama supporters must continually remind women that McCain, with the firm support of Palin, would appoint Supreme Court judges dedicated to reversing Roe v. Wade–and that the loss of abortion rights would have especially dire consequences for the nation's poor women.

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