It’s Women’s History Month: Let’s Talk About the Candidate’s Views on Women’s Issues
March is Women’s History Month. As we look towards the primary elections in May, it is important to understand how each Democratic candidate will advocate for women’s issues if elected to office. Here is a comprehensive look at what the presidential hopefuls have to say about women’s rights, specifically abortion. This list includes candidates who appeared on the debate stage in Nevada on February 19th. It excludes Billionaire investor Tom Steyer and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard who failed to make the cut on the debate stage. It also excludes former Mayor of New York Mike Bloomberg who has decided not to take part in early debates before the primary.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s history with abortion is quite complicated. As of June 2019, Biden is against the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision that bands the use of federal funds to pay for abortion unless in extreme circumstances (i.e. rape, incest or death). Biden has supported the Hyde Amendment in the past, but changed his views claiming that there was too much activity at the state level that could negatively infer with a women’s right to choose over her reproductive health.
During his time as Senator, Biden drafted legislation that would provide over 1.6 billion dollars to fund investigations and prosecutions of violent crimes against women. While the Violence Against Women Act did not pass the Supreme Court, Biden has continued his advocacy for prevention of domestic violence against women. If elected, he plans on continuing this advocacy as well as restoring federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Vice President Biden says Roe v. Wade “should be the law of the land,” and he plans on codifying Roe v. Wade if elected. Critics have questioned Biden’s loyalty to Roe v. Wade, claiming he once said it “went too far.”
During the Anita Hill hearings in 1991, Biden called the rape allegations against Republican Judge Clarence Thomas a “he said, she said” situation. He stated that Hill was assassinating Thomas’ character. He has since apologized to Ms. Hill, but many say this is not enough.
All in all, Biden is against the Hyde Amendment, supports Roe v. Wade, and thinks that there should be some limitations on abortion. He continues to call himself a champion for women and will continue the work he did as Vice President under President Barack Obama.
Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg
In October 2019, Mayor Buttigieg released a women’s rights agenda. The 26-page document outlines several goals he has to create equally for women, including supporting $50 billion dollars in capital for women’s businesses, appointing at least 50% of women to the Cabinet and judiciary, and expanding Title X rights. Buttigieg says he “trusts women to draw the line” when it comes to what happens with their bodies. He supports late-term abortion, stating that life starts at the first breath. His views on women’s rights have stayed consistent since he became Mayor in 2012.
Buttigieg’s record with women of color has a different story. He faced criticism when his campaign website included an image of a Kenyan woman with her son under his “Frederick Douglass Plan for Black America.” The image was a stock photo, and many saw it as an attempt to add random photos of people of color to his website. Critics of Buttigieg and black America have evolved since 2012 when he fired South Bend’s first black police officer. Buttigieg has received negative feedback from the black community, especially women.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar
Senator Klobuchar shares similar views with Biden on abortion. Taking the moderate approach, Klobuchar believes the Democratic party should not completely shut out anti-abortion or pro-life supports. In a recent interview with The View, Klobuchar said the democrats should be a “big tent” for pro-choicers and pro-lifers.
Her record on voting pro-choice has been consistent since she took office in 2007. Critics of Klobuchar believe she is too moderate on the issue. She has said abortion should happen much less often than it is right now and has advocated for a less radical approach than Senator Sanders and Senator Warren.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
Since January, Sanders has faced criticism from female voters. In a private meeting with Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2018, Sanders said a woman could not be president. While Sanders denies these claims, Hillary Clinton supporters believe he acted a similar way with Clinton in 2016.
Despite the recent claims of a Sanders and Warren brawl, the Senator has remained constant on women’s rights over his nearly 40 years in public office. He believes women should have a right over their own bodies, including guaranteed health care through Medicare for All and fully funded Planned Parenthood. Sanders wants to repeal the Hyde Amendment and support other initiatives that will protect women’s health.
Sanders also wants to adopt Equal Pay for Equal Work by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
Senator Elizabeth Warren will say she’s “got a plan for that” when it comes to women’s rights. For the 2020 presidential election, her campaign has focused on women of color’s rights specifically. She plans to provide financial security to families experiencing discrimination.
Warren also released a comprehensive plan for reproductive rights that would continue protection of reproductive rights even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. She believes “no President is above the law” and that a woman’s body is her body to make decisions for.
Outside of abortion, Warren hopes to increase the minimum wage and support women-owned businesses.
Why Should You Care?
Not all candidates share the same views on women’s issues, especially abortion and reproduction rights. Women’s History Month is a great time to reflect on the past and how far we have come, but it is also a time to focus on the future and ensure we have all of the facts when choosing the next President of the United States. Who will support women and fight to ensure our rights are a top priority? This month celebrate the woman by asking questions and diving in deep into your candidate’s stances on women’s rights.
Ashley Lynn Priore is a Pittsburgh native and a current undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in English and Philosophy & Politics with a minor in Economics. An award-winning and nationally ranked player under the United States Chess Federation, Ashley is a competitive chess player, politics enthusiast, writer and poet, social entrepreneur, and public service scholar.
Ashley is the founder and President and CEO of The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute. Founded in 2014, the Pittsburgh based non-profit organization is dedicated to teaching chess to the community, ensuring every child has the necessary tools and opportunities to learn the game of chess through a 21st-century approach to education. The non-profit uses strategy and critical thinking to impact Pittsburgh through various educational, social, political, and economic initiatives and regional partnerships.
A chess educator, social advocate, and leader around the city, Ashley also leads Queen's Gambit, a social enterprise. Founded on the belief that chess is a catalyst for change, Queen’s Gambit encourages communities and individuals to use strategy tools to navigate the future. With long-lasting partnerships, they are a network of changemakers in the larger movement towards a critical thinking world. An innovative speaker who appeared on the TEDx stage in 2018, she started playing competitive chess at the age of four and began teaching at eight years old. Ashley currently serves on several nonprofit boards, focusing on youth leadership and providing everyone under the age of 25 with the platform to succeed. Some board memberships include the Pittsburgh Chess Club (where she serves as Vice President), Community Human Services, Pittsburgh Cares, and City of Bridges High School (where she serves as Vice-Chairperson). She also serves on several local and national advisory boards and committees.
In 2019, Ashley entered politics and was a candidate for the Pittsburgh Board of Education, District 4. A catalyst for change who started her own business at the early age of 14 years old, Ashley seeks to empower all to use their passions for good.
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