Candidates Debate Roe, Privacy, Equal Pay, and Feminist Bloggers Talk Back

Emily Douglas

As John McCain and Barack Obama debated abortion, privacy, women's medical decision-making and equal pay, feminist bloggers sounded off on the candidates' positions.

As John McCain and Barack Obama debated abortion, privacy, women’s medical decision-making and equal pay, feminist bloggers sounded off on the candidates’ positions.

At TAPPED, Dana Goldstein lauded Obama’s "smart new rhetoric" of including women’s own "religious advisers" in their decision-making on unintended pregnancy and abortion.  She also noted that Obama was unequivocal in arguing that reproductive rights "shouldn’t be subject to state referendum" which, Dana points out, they are in this very election cycle, as voters in South Dakota and Colorado decide whether to pass state constitutional amendments that would outlaw abortion. 

Commenters live-blogging at both Feministing and Feministe
appreciated Obama’s argument the the ultimate decision-maker about abortion is the
woman deciding whether or not to have one. Feminist bloggers also loved the transition to Obama’s
discussion of Lily Ledbetter’s fight against pay discrimination.  How
did he make the link? In talking about the kind of judges he’d nominate
for Supreme Court, Obama said, "I will look for those judges who have
outstanding judicial record, who have the intellect, and who hopefully
have a sense of what real-world folks are going through. I’ll
just give you one quick example. Senator McCain and I disagreed
recently when the Supreme Court made it more difficult for a woman
named Lilly Ledbetter to press her claim for pay discrimination."

Meanwhile, Ezra Klein noticed that McCain’s "furious denunciation" of abortion suggests that he’s not quite as casual in his treatment of social conservatism as he’s long led voters to believe.  Ezra writes, "Whether it was an act or the product of his general anger or the real
thing, he certainly seemed authentic in his furious denunciation of
abortion, and when he attacked the "health of the mother" exemption as
something that "pro-abortion groups" have "stretched beyond
recognition, my hunch is a lot of women in the audience took a second
look at McCain on this." (McCain’s air quotes around the "health of the mother" probably didn’t help any, either.) Echidne of the Snakes concurs: "That John McCain then appeared to ridicule the idea of a health
exception for women who want an abortion caused my scales to rise up
and my fangs to protrude."

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I’ll add more reactions from the feminist blogosphere as I find them, and in the mean time, add links to your take below!

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