Women led three major protest marches over the past two days, voicing their frustration with the Republican Party and its anti-woman platform. Sunday’s Unity 2000 March, which featured abortion rights, brought an estimated 12,000 people to Philadelphia, and 3,000 defied the law with yesterday’s Welfare Rights March, conducted without a permit. Over the course of the election, feminists have been pushing the Republican Party to stop covering up its extremely anti-woman and anti-abortion stance. Although George W. Bush emphasizes he is different and “compassionate conservative,” his Party has not changed its inflexible position on abortion. This year’s platform, as in years past, calls for a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions, and mandates anti-choice judicial appointments. The GOP platform is calling for replacing family planning funding with funding solely for “abstinence-only” education programs.
The “Shadow Convention,” largely organized by Arianna Huffington, also is ignoring feminist issues, despite the protests. Focusing on campaign finance reform, the detrimental effects of the “War on Drugs,” and the alarming gap between the nation’s rich and poor, the Shadow Convention is examining issues in a vacuum-without connecting them to women’s concerns. Alarmingly, on opening day the answer to both drugs and poverty was too frequently “faith-based” social services. This erasure was especially ironic given Monday’s march, dominated by women and young people and led by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, which demanded housing, health care, and living-wage jobs for the poor, who are overwhelmingly women, children, and the disabled.