Senator Hillary Clinton has accepted the position of Secretary of State from President Elect Obama though the official acceptance and announcement will likely not happen until after Thanksgiving.
It is noteworthy, if not somewhat ironic (considering Senator Clinton made history in her Democratic run for president), that President Bill Clinton appointed the first female to the U.S. Secretary of State position and now, eight years after his administration left office, Senator Clinton fills the role.
Over the last several days there has been speculation about Clinton’s appointment to this position, of course. Veronica Arreola wrote this morning, in her post Would Hillary’s Promotion to Secretary of State Be Harmful to Women?, exploring whether Clinton would be more beneficial for women’s health and rights as Senator or Secretary of State.
Arreola notes that Clinton has been a leader as senator on reproductive and sexual health and rights issues sponsoring pro-active legislation and taking strong stands against the Bush administration in their attempts to block access to care for women. But she also makes clear that Clinton, as Secretary of State, has the potential to make some real impact on the global health scale:
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On the other hand, perhaps as secretary of state, Clinton will work with President-elect Obama to restore our funding to the UNFPA, ensure that girls attending school in Afghanistan is a priority to our success in rebuilding, our women troops don’t have to travel from Iraq to New York to obtain abortions, and that women and girls will never be used as an excuse for an unjust war again.
Emily Douglas, on this site, has an in depth look at the reactions from professional reproductive and sexual health advocates who work on these issues domestically and globally, as well as an analysis of Clinton’s role moving forward.
It’s clear, however, that Clinton’s experience as a reproductive health and rights leader, her support for and understanding of how critical ensuring global funding is for family planning abroad including contraception; HIV prevention strategies that extend beyond ideology; safe abortion as a key component of maternal health domestically and internationally; and how important protecting women’s access to contraception in this country is, will no doubt be beneficial to women in her role as Secretary of State.