GOP Ticket Firm on Abstinence-Only, Reproductive Rights

Amie Newman

Unless John McCain and Sarah Palin make a point of discussing specific policies that support young people's access to sexual health education, contraception for low income Americans, health care access for needy children and more - they are not "mixed" on reproductive health care and rights issues.

The Daily Women’s Health Policy Report cites an LA Times article on McCain and Palin’s positions on abstinence-only programs today.

While the LA Times and others are reporting on what some may see as differences between Palin’s, McCain’s and the larger Republican party’s stances on various health and family issues, others are crystal clear on what a McCain/Palin adminstration would support or oppose.

John McCain has always voted against funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs, health care access for low income children, publicly funded contraception (despite the unmatched success, among public health programs, of the Title X program that funds contraception for those who cannot afford it). McCain also opposed health insurance coverage for contraception while simultaneously supporting health insurance coverage for Viagra.

Sarah Palin opposes comprehensive sexual health education for our young people, favoring abstinence-only programs, and cut funding for WIC (Women, Infant, Children – an assistance program that allows low-income families to purchase food for their babies and children, access to breastfeeding support services and more). There is no reason to believe, as of right now, that a McCain/Palin administration would not continue to throw millions of dollars at failed abstinence only programs, as the Bush administration has continued to do.

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When Palin ran for Mayor of Wasilla, she made a point of bringing up her opponent’s belief system about access to abortion services – her opponent supported women’s and families’ right to decide these personal matters on their own – despite the fact that in Alaska municipal elections are run as non-partisan elections. Apparently, this is when the GOP leaders in Alaska took notice of Palin.

Unless John McCain and Sarah Palin make a point of discussing condom use as an HIV/AIDS prevention tool, support access to emergency contraception whether in pharmacies, physician’s offices or emergency rooms for rape victimes, include a pro-comprehensive sexual health education talking point in a speech, or talk about how they have – or plan to – ensure the funding of social service programs for low-income families, there should be no question what a John McCain/Sarah Palin ticket supports.

John McCain and Sarah Palin enjoy the full support (and I use the word “enjoy” loosely) of the old-school religious right – Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, Leslee Unruh (National Abstinence Clearinghouse), and others – for a reason.

As U.S. Representative Barney Frank writes in The Boston Globe:

According to that right-wing social viewpoint, divorce, teen pregnancy, and other lapses in family values are the fault of liberals. According to this political movement…supporting age appropriate sex education; and refusing to allow religion to be inculcated by official government means, are the causes of social dysfunction in America. And every indication we have is that Palin believes this viewpoint.

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