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Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Discuss Women’s Rights, Health

Three Democratic presidential candidates Senator Hillary Clinton (NY), Senator Barack Obama (IL), and former Senator John Edwards (NC), represented by his wife Elizabeth Edwards, shared their positions yesterday on current reproductive health care issues. The lecture series was part of Planned Parenthood’s annual public affairs conference in Washington, DC.

Sen. Clinton, echoing her speech at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing, linked women’s rights to human rights. She vowed that, if elected, she would work to immediately reverse the Global Gag Rule and other policies implemented by the Bush administration that are harmful to women’s heath. “For six-and-a-half years, the president has played politics with women’s health,” Clinton said, according to Planned Parenthood. “When I’m president, I will devote my very first day in office to reversing these ideological, anti-science, anti-prevention policies that this administration has put in place.”

In his address, Sen. Obama argued for expanding the term “pro-choice” to include family planning, work-life balance, pay equity, paid parental leave, and longer school hours making it easier for parents to work. Sen. Obama highlighted the need for the Freedom of Choice Act, adding that his proposals to increase access to health insurance would include access to reproductive-health services.

Representing her husband, Elizabeth Edwards tied women’s health care into her husband’s support for universal health care. She also noted that, if elected president, her husband would ensure that Planned Parenthood be recognized as a national healthcare service provider, that both monthly and emergency contraception be covered by insurance, and that abortion could be federally funded by repealing the Hyde Amendment.

All three speakers highlighted their commitment to appoint Supreme Court nominees who would uphold Roe v. Wade, which ensures women have the right to legal abortions.

Sources:

Salon.com 7/18/07; Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report 7/18/07; Chicago Tribune 7/18/07; Planned Parenthood

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