SPECIAL SERIES : 2004 National Election
Candidates Put Politics in the Bedroom
Reproductive rights of women may get the axe
October 27, 2004 5:50 PM
When casting your vote on Nov. 2 you typically think about Iraq, healthcare and the economy. Did you think twice that your vote might affect your sex life? The upcoming election is going to bring about a lot of change, and many of those changes are going to involve our sexual freedoms.
The issues at stake in the next four years involve reproductive rights of women including birth control options and the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade. It seems everything to do with the gay lifestyle is also up for debate; gay marriage issues, adoption rights for same-sex couples, being out in the military, and even the simple legality of the act of gay sex.
The two mainstream candidates are almost polar opposites on the issues of regarding sexuality and sexual freedoms. Kerry has made statements that church and state should be strongly separated, while Bush’s actions show support of a Christian lifestyle and ideals.
One of the biggest issues at stake for sexual freedom is the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade. In the next four-year term, three to four Supreme Court justices will be retiring. As it stands now five of nine justices support the decision, so by appointing three new judges this decision could be overturned. President Bush has made it very clear that he is Pro-Life in his creation of “unborn child’s rights,” as well as the attempt at banning partial-birth abortion, and supporting a law requiring minors have parental consent to receive an abortion. According to his campaign website he is, "the most pro-life president in history."
“This bill I am about to sign reflects the compassion and humanity of America,” said Bush signing the ban on partial-birth abortion in November 2003. He continued, “This executive branch will vigorously defend it against any who will try to overturn it in courts.”
Women's rights advocates such as Planned Parenthood, and the SF State group Voices for Sexual Freedom, or VOX, feel Bush has waged a "War against Women" by cutting down resources for reproductive health information, and using emotional language to misinform people about the real issues.
"With great precision, and often shielded by the smokescreen of war and a bad economy, George W. Bush is systematically working to gut reproductive freedom in the U.S. and around the world," said Jeanie Crossfield, co-founder of VOX, and volunteer at Planned Parenthood.
Kerry on the other hand has made statements that he believes in no restrictions on a woman’s right to choose, and will not appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Abortion should be rare, but it should be safe and legal, and the government should stay out of the bedrooms of Americans,” said Kerry in April 2004.
Under the Bush administration, delving into women’s confidential records was their way of finding out if partial-birth abortion was a safe procedure. The ban on this procedure is still in court, and one must note that a ban such as this constitutionally has to make exceptions for the health of the mother, none of which were made.
“I believe the right of privacy is constitutional, protecting the right of privacy is not necessarily pro-choice, it is pro-rights of women,” said Kerry.
Although neither of the candidates agree that same-sex couples should be married, Kerry weighs heavier on the side of giving equal rights to same-sex couples. Kerry believes that same-sex couples should have the rights to all the tax and benefit options of married couples; he also believes that adoption rights should not discriminate based on the sexuality of the parents. Kerry supports the rights of same-sex couples to petition for immigration for their partner to come to America.
Bush’s views are much more conservative and based on a Christian belief system, relating issues back to how the founders of the country would have dealt with them.
Bush believes that marriage should not only be illegal for same-sex couples, and wants to constitutionally ban it. He was also against adding sexuality to the list of items covered by hate-crime legislation. To once again contrast the candidates, Bush supported the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” keep it to yourself moral of the military, while Kerry supports being out if you choose to.
The newly appointed Supreme Court justices will be able to shift the rights of women and gay citizens. Not only is there a strong possibility of abortion rights being reversed, but a recently decided case, Lawrence v. Texas, legalizing consensual sex between adults of the samesex. The current justices have a list of other cases in which they have decided against the favor of the gay or female party. For example, the majority of the Supreme Court justices believe it is okay to deny employment to gay Cub Scout masters, as well as denying the right of women to sue their rapists in civil court.
There are many issues dealing with our sexual freedoms in the next four years. When voting remember that there are big issues of war, money and global politics, but keep in mind whose ideology you want governing your bedroom.
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