"McCain: Not What Women Want"
Our guest blogger is Adam Jentleson, the Communications and Outreach Director for the Hyde Park Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Much has been made about John McCain’s efforts to court women voters. Those efforts are not going so well. As today’s Gallup poll shows, McCain’s support among women is falling fast.
– McCain opposes efforts to ensure that women get paid equal wages for equal work. Women make 77 cents for every dollar men earn, adding up to hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars over the course of a career and retirement. But McCain recently skipped a vote on a critical bill needed to advance women’s right to equal pay because he thought “it would lead to more lawsuits”; he told a 14 year-old girl who asked about it, “I don’t believe that this would do anything to help the rights of women, except maybe help trial lawyers and others in that profession.”
— McCain supports a Constitutional Amendment banning abortion. On “Meet the Press” in 2000, McCain repeatedly told host Tim Russert that he supported a Constitutional ban on all abortions. Russert pressed:
MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, women across the country would say, “Senator McCain, prior to Roe vs. Wade, hundreds of thousands of women a year went to the back alleys to have abortions.”
SEN. McCAIN: I understand that.
MR. RUSSERT: Many died.
SEN. McCAIN: I understand that. [NBC, Meet the Press, 1/30/00]
— McCain thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Sen. McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign website states that he “believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned.”
— McCain supported limits on access to contraceptives. McCain supported limits on access to contraceptives. In 2003, McCain opposed legislation to expand access to emergency contraceptives. And in 1994, he voted for an amendment put forward by former Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) to prohibit distribution of condoms, contraceptives, or drugs financed by federal aid without parental consent. In 2003, McCain opposed legislation to expand access to emergency contraceptives. And in 1994, he voted for an amendment put forward by former Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) to prohibit distribution of condoms, contraceptives, or drugs financed by federal aid without parental consent.
— McCain said he will appoint “clones of Alito and Roberts.” The effect of a conservative judiciary would not just be limited to choice and privacy. Over the past two decades, there have been a large number of 5-to-4 decisions limiting the reach of civil rights statutes. We’d feel the effects of having Alito/Roberts clones on the Supreme Court, as well as on lower courts, for generations to come.
As our new report outlines, these are just some of the extreme positions McCain has taken. He has also opposed health care for poor children, voted against the minimum wage seven times (most minimum wage workers are women), and has proposed no solutions for bringing America’s family and medical leave policies into the 21st Century to help working women balance the demands of work and family.
Of course, these issues don’t just impact women – but if McCain is looking to get them on his side, he’s got a tough sell ahead of him.