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No women in site

vastleft's picture

I went to Barack Obama's website to see where he stands on reproductive rights and women's issues in general.

There were no gender issues to be found among the twenty topics featured on the site's menu, nor among the six "additional issues."

Well, there was one gender issue: sportsmen.

And, indeed, the process brought out the hunter in me. With gals being more than half of our population, I figured there must be something about 'em somewhere in Obama's transcendent website.

I was hoping to see how Obama compared to Hillary on this, as described by "Susan Wood, PhD, who resigned the FDA in protest over its failure to approve emergency contraception for over-the-counter use":

Senator Clinton made the difference. The FDA suddenly announced it would approve emergency contraception for use without a prescription for women 18 and older - one day before FDA officials were to face a determined Senator Clinton and her colleague Senator Murray at a Senate hearing in 2006. No one was more surprised than I was. I hope all of those who benefited from this decision know that it wouldn’t have happened if it had not been for Hillary Clinton.

Here is what Hillary Clinton's website says about women's issues:

Hillary has fought the relentless and insidious efforts by far-right Republicans to limit the protections of Roe v Wade, while also working hard to expand access to family planning services.

Hillary has seen what happens when governments try to control a woman's reproductive health decisions. Whether it was Romania under a dictatorship saying you had to have children for the good of the state or China saying you had to have only one child for the good of the state, governments have dictated the most private and important decisions that we as individuals or families can make.

She has championed the Prevention First Act, which expands access to family planning services for low-income women, requires health insurance companies to cover contraception, and provides a dedicated funding stream for age-appropriate, medically accurate, comprehensive sex education.

As First Lady, she helped pass the Family and Medical Leave Act and helped found the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancies, which established and achieved a goal of reducing teen pregnancies by one-third between 1996 and 2005.

In partnership with Senator Patty Murray, Hillary waged a successful three-year battle to get the Food and Drug Administration to accept the overwhelming recommendation of the medical community and make Plan B (the "morning after" pill) available over the counter.

Hillary's work to empower low-income women has changed lives. She fought for the elimination of school fees, which prevent poor children in some countries from attending school, and for investments in health care and education for women and girls. And she helped found Vital Voices, a not-for-profit organization that continues to work to support women's leadership around the globe.

Man's man that I am, I fired up The Google and ferreted out Obama's record on supporting reproductive rights. Turns out that it's undeniably strong, in its own right.

Eventually, bloodhound that I am, too, I tracked down a link to a rather substantive "women's issues" page, off a section where women bloggers can sing the praises of Senator Obama.

Sure, it was a little harder to find than the other issues. But who would you pay more attention to — some girl or a dude with a rifle?

Besides, you don't get to "post-partisanship" by being shrill about quarrelsome old matters like feminism, do you? Sexism is a thing of the past, y'know.

Again, to be fair, Obama has a demonstrably strong record on reproductive rights.

But I think it's also fair to worry that his all-things-to-all people, leave-no-mellow-harshed candidacy (and, perhaps, presidency) will make him a less-reliable progressive bastion when push comes to shove.

Do I think Obama would have strong-armed the FDA into approving Plan B? I know Hillary did, and I don't see any history of Obama winning such a controversial fight.

I see him dodging debate opportunities, just as I saw him lay low after Iowa, in hopes his buzz would carry him the rest of the way. Just as I saw him take a stand about Iraq before he got to the Senate, only to repeatedly fund the war after he got in. I'd sure feel a lot better about his candidacy if I ever saw him pick, stay with, and win a fight worth fighting. And if you're thinking that fending off the "Clinton Machine" with vaporous rhetoric and race-baiting is fighting for you, I can only hope his charisma is as sustaining for you as Bush's beer-buddy charm is for his loyalists.

Anyway, no worries, ladies. Because if Plan B is ever banned, there's always magic water.

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BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Obama has a perfectly decent pro-choice record when he votes. Personally, that bullshit cover story that he cooked up with Planned Parenthood of Illinois never made any sense to me. Of course, since it was swallowed hook, line and sinker by so many liberals, there wasn't much discussion of it. But, generally speaking, I do not understand a strategy whereby a state senator in a safe seat votes "present" to help folks in riskier seats (shouldn't the safe seat guy vote on the measure so it won't matter if risky seat people don't?), virtually no one other than Obama and Illinois Planned Parenthood seem to remember such a strategy, and one of Obama's friends said it was most likely to protect him when he sought higher office. And lost in all of this is the fact that Illinois NOW apparently did not endorse Obama in 2004 because, in part, of these present votes (see, he later got the current NOW leadership to cover for him, but the leader at the time disputes any such strategy was endorsed by NOW, see

When push comes to shove, Obama will probably back reproductive and other women's rights, but he is not going to be any leader and I don't trust him to not make compromises on later term or other abortion rights. As with almost everything, he's waffled in the past. In fact, we've already gotten to play one round of What Obama Really Meant. Via the Left Coaster, quoting a piece by Garance Franka-Ruta:

According The New York Times Obama said:

'there is a large agreement, for example, that late-term abortions are really problematic and there should be a regulation.'

As there is no such movement toward a new late-term abortion regulation among any pro-choice group I am aware of, I asked Obama spokesman Bill Burton for elaboration on this over the weekend. He said:

Obama did not suggest that new regulations were needed or appropriate. He simply stated the fact that there is agreement that late-term abortions should be limited to the rare instances where the life or health of a woman is at stake. And he has consistently made clear that abortion regulations, such as the Federal Abortion Ban, that lack exceptions for the life and health of women are unconstitutional and endanger women's health.


So, yeah, I'm going to assume that my rights are something that Obama probably supports, but I don't expect to see him, you know, fight for them or anything. Is there anything he will fight for other than his own advancement, btw?

And this is one area where Clinton has led. There are many areas where I wish she would lead and hasn't, but she's been a leader on women's and children's rights for more than 30 years.

corinne's picture
Submitted by corinne on

The fact that you had to work so hard to uncover his position on reproductive rights tells me that's not an issue he'll go to the mat on.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Have you seen an issue YET that Obama will go to the mat on?


Clinton made this point in her Potomac Primary interview (not a debate because Obama would not do a debate), that some things are worth fighting for and she wonders what exactly Obama would fight for. I think it's one of her stronger critiques of him and I hope she resumes it in tonight's debate. I don't want her to attack him, that always backfires, but this does seem like an important question.

corinne's picture
Submitted by corinne on

and I also hope she's prepared for anything he says in response.

While I agree that his "present" votes were made in consideration of his political future, I don't think he'll ever go to the mat on any issue because that ties him to a specific position. And no matter what, from what I have observed Obama seldom takes a firm committed stance on anything because he might be disadvantaged down the road.

Campaign finance is a great example of this: Last year he challenged Republicans to take public financing, even going so far as to get an FEC opinion on his proposal. Whoops. Now, he's raising more money than he would get if he relied on public financing as the nominee. Can't have that. Bill Burton starts walking it back saying "We’re just not entertaining hypotheticals right now."

But it wasn't hypothetical to say in 2007 that "If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."

I'd be surprised if President Obama aggressively champions anything. Someone might get upset and we can't have that.

corinne's picture
Submitted by corinne on

Over at GOD, erm GOS, someone posted an absurdly long diary listing 37 bills Obama wrote or co-sponsored to show what an impressive record he has.

Whenever I read posts like that I always ask just one question: How many were passed into law? If they're not enacted, then that impressive record hasn't helped anyone.

I generally get lots of excuses. Today's answer to my question was:

Since the Senate has been deadlock, not much of anything has been passed by anyone, incluuding Clinton or Obama.

Howefer it is possible to decern patterns in what a legislator proposes. Obama seems to have the ability to see where a system is failing to and to create legislatin to fix the failure--thhe voter intimidation bill, for example.

he also got the ehndorsement of eithty Gitmo lawyers who wrote that he was the Senator who worked the hardest to restore habeas corpus.

I donn't think any candidate, incluuding Clinton should be judged by what got passed, given the current configuration of the Senate.

The current configuration of the Senate is that the Democrats are the majority party. If Obama can enlist Republicans to co-sponsor a bill, then surely he can get them to vote in favor or it.

I also usually hear about obstructionist republicans and while that's true, with Obama's awesomely righteous powers of compromise he'd be able to transcend any obstacle.

This reply is tangential to the main post but I think if he believed in any of those bills, he'd work harder to get them passed and enacted into law.

Hillary1000's picture
Submitted by Hillary1000 on

Re: what a good hubby he is. This kind of fluff article tells me more than I want to know about this man.

For the HRC fans here, you all should also check out the video of HRC at the CA debate summing up in less than 3 minutes her amazing record of working for women and children for the last 35 years:

There's also this video of Bill Clinton getting all in-your-face-pro-choice. He's been an asset and a liability to Sen. Clinton, NO DOUBT, but this is a feel good moment, and we need those these days!!

Submitted by lambert on


[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

phat's picture
Submitted by phat on

Is that it?

Pay inequity?

I mean, sure, that's something that needs to be fixed. But is that all there is?


vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

It wasn't on the first page of results when I ran it.

Also, is the Obama site optimized for sportsmen but requires women to construct Google site searches in hope of finding info about their issues?

phat's picture
Submitted by phat on

I have Peggy Lee running through my head right now...

And when I was 12 years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth.
There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears.
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads.
And so I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle.
I had the feeling that something was missing.
I don't know what, but when it was over,
I said to myself, "is that all there is to a circus?

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

Then I fell in love, head over heels in love, with the most wonderful boy in the world.
We would take long walks by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other's eyes.
We were so very much in love.
Then one day he went away and I thought I'd die, but I didn't,
and when I didn't I said to myself, "is that all there is to love?"

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing


Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

For every $1.00 earned by a man, the average woman receives only 77 cents, while African American women only get 67 cents -- the disparity is greater for African American women -- it's a racial issue!

improve care for polytrauma vision impairment, prosthetics, spinal cord injury, aging, and women's health. -- women's health is last on the list and least specific of all listed items!

Proven benefits of these types of programs include improved women's prenatal health, a reduction in childhood injuries, fewer unintended pregnancies -- of the three items mentioned only one focuses on a woman rather than a child/pregnancy!

We have learned from Iraq that our military needs more men and women in uniform to reduce the strain on our active force. -- we can put all those underemployed or unemployed women in the military, boosting our ability to keep fighting unnecessary wars!

We have learned from Iraq that our military needs more men and women in uniform to reduce the strain on our active force. This is an immigration issue!

That's the first handful.
They look almost like incidental mentions of women while providing vague and happy suggestions about "family" issues or "workforce" issues or "healthcare" issues.

What has he said, done, stood up for in the past on women's rights?

I'm not accusing you of trollery.
But that crack about "periodically feeling down" frosted my shorts, and nothing anywhere in any of the voting records or the flights of rhetoric suggests anything other than a willingness to put himself first and his own ambitions on a higher rung than any issue -- particularly the kind of issues that appeal to at least half the active voters in this nation -- the half born without a penis.

Of course, if you want to adopt the patriarchal notion that such birth is fundamentally defective, go ahead -- but do it out in front of FSM and everybody, don't creep around backstabbing good hardworking people about it.

corinne's picture
Submitted by corinne on

Not unless this changes fast:

Short Maternity Leaves, Long Deployments
Schedule Sends Army Moms Back to the Field Quickly

...Many female soldiers hoping to start families face the prospect of missing most of their child's first year. The Army grants six weeks of maternity leave before a new mother must return to her job or training, and four months until she can be sent to a war zone. The Marine Corps and Navy allow from six months to a year before a new mother must deploy.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed severe strains on the Army, including longer deployments in which soldiers serve 15 months in the war zone, followed by 12 months at home. Under that system, a woman who wishes to have a child and remain with her unit must conceive soon after returning home so she can give birth, recover and prepare for her next overseas tour.

Female soldiers interviewed over the past year say the tight schedule cuts short precious time for mother and infant to bond and breast-feed, forcing women to choose between their loyalty to their comrades -- as well as their careers -- and nurturing their families....

The constraints on reproduction, child-rearing and family are a key factor leading many female soldiers to quit the Army, and have discouraged many civilian women from considering enlistment, according to Army officials. Surveys show that time away from families, because of long, frequent deployments, is the top reason for soldiers to leave the Army. The willingness of women to serve in the military has dropped faster than that of men in recent years, from a high of 10 percent among 16- to 21-year-olds in November 2003 to 4 percent last July, according to periodic youth surveys on "propensity to serve" conducted for the Army.

I guess that didn't show up in the Google search either.