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Rep. Schakowsky On McCain’s Women’s Rights Record: ‘He’s Not With Us’

Today at the Democratic National Convention, Women’s eNews hosted a panel on pushing a “pro-women agenda” in Congress, as part of the SeaChange Ideas Forum. One of the speakers at the event was Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Democratic Vice Chair of the bipartisan Women’s Caucus.

Schakowsky blasted the Bush administration’s record on women’s issues, calling his tenure “anti-women” from day one. In particular, she criticized a recent Bush administration memo that “defines several widely used contraception methods as abortion and protects the right of medical providers to refuse to offer them.” From her remarks:

This administration is not just anti-abortion. When it comes down to it, they’re really anti-sex, anti-women, in every possible way. Imagine not being able tell someone about contraception. That is a rule that in the United States of America that the president has proposed. We need a change, my sisters, we really do. They are after us, they are after our bodies, they are after controlling our lives.

ThinkProgress spoke with Schakowsky afterward about the record of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on women’s rights, especially in light of his comments in July that he is committed to “equal opportunity in every aspect of our society.” Schakowsky told ThinkProgress that McCain would “absolutely” continue the “anti-women” policies of President Bush:

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He’s always been against reproductive rights for women. He’s not for equal pay, he did not support Lilly Ledbetter and the work that we’re trying to do to get equal pay. He never supported the Family and Medical Leave Act in Congress. So there’s no evidence. … He’s not with us.

McCain actually skipped the vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in April, which would have made it easier for “women and other workers to pursue pay discrimination claims.” He said that if he had been there, he would have voted against it because he believes women simply need more “education and training.” In the past, he has also made a joke about how much women love to be raped.