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  • Monday, August 04, 2008


    John McCain on Women's Issues

    A recent article in In These Times highlights some of the positions McCain has taken over the years on women's issues. With a title like McSexist: McCain’s War on Women you may be able to guess the general tenor of it.

    A selection of McCain's comments over the last year make it clear that he isn't remotely pro-choice. Actually, he doesn't really like any contraception, being firmly in the abstinence-only camp. Better still is his record of opposing accuracy in these programs: "He opposed legislation requiring that abstinence-only programs be medically accurate and based in science. He voted to abolish funding for birth control and gynecological care for low-income women..."
    Planned Parenthood and NARAL have each given him a zero for his record on women’s health issues. (The record dates back to his days in the House of Representatives, between 1983 and 1986, and carries through to his career in the U.S. Senate, which began in 1987.) Of the 130 congressional votes related to reproductive freedom that McCain has cast, 125 have been anti-choice, according to NARAL.
    I have a theory, not specifically about McCain but the general anti-choice movement. While I completely understand and empathize with the moral/ethical underpinnings of the anti-abortion movement, I also find it interesting that the end result is to create more births/people in an underclass with inadequate education and limited employment options, usually in an unhealthy and crime-ridden environment because of those factors.

    Exploitation of the lower class is really the basic building block of "natural" free market capitalism where wealth flows up the pyramid to the few people at the top. The larger the number of people who are desperate and struggling at the bottom, the more the workers/peasants are willing to viciously focus their rage at their peers. This is called "horizontal hostility" and it works in favor of those in power. Quo bono? Who benefits?

    There's a level where I'm very cynical about the so-called "right to life" movement even while respecting individual opinions/morals/ethics in the matter. I think there is an undercurrent, perhaps even completely unacknowledged, of hypocrisy and self-deception in the movement. I note that I very rarely hear of a concerted effort on the part of anti-choice activists/organizations to aggressively adopt the orphaned or unwanted children inevitably resulting from lack of birth control or legal abortion. I'm sure it happens but it certainly doesn't appear to be a co-equal or integrated part of the movement. If these children are truly innocent in the eyes of anti-choice activists, I would expect an outpouring of personal compassion to succor and nurture them.

    I suspect that the so-called "pro-family values" aspect means that the putatively innocent children are partially held to blame for their parents' actions (e.g. sex without intended procreation) and thus deserve misery and hardship. If someone can show me large-scale evidence that I'm wrong, I will gladly recant this opinion.

    Since McCain has said on more than one occasion that he would like to see Roe v Wade overturned and would appoint Supreme Court Justices to that end, his election will undoubtedly result in the increase of deaths of women and more orphans.

    Conservatives are compassionate. Except, sometimes, when it involves inconvenience and concrete application of personal principles in daily life.

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