Candidates on the 2016 campaign trail spent the week focusing on reproductive health.
Democrats highlighted their support for increased access to reproductive health services, with Bernie Sanders vowing to fight anti-choice extremism and Hillary Clinton releasing a veterans’ services platform ensuring access to reproductive health care.
Meanwhile, on the Republican front, Jeb Bush’s super PAC considered an attack on Sen. Marco Rubio’s opposition to rape exemptions, and Carly Fiorina helped push for a forced parental notification law in California.
Jeb Bush’s PAC May Use Rubio’s Extreme Abortion Stance to Paint Senator as Unelectable
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Jeb Bush’s allies at Right to Rise, a super PAC supporting the candidate, may be preparing to launch an attack on rival Rubio, alleging that the Florida senator’s opposition to abortion exemptions in cases of rape and incest are too extreme to make him electable, the New York Times reported earlier this week.
In focus groups held in New Hampshire, PAC strategist Mike Murphy reportedly “showed some Republicans a video portraying Mr. Rubio as too extreme on abortion,” after the candidate said he had “never advocated” for abortion laws to include exemptions for cases of rape and incest, a source told the New York Times.
Bush, during a subsequent interview with the Huffington Post, did not follow the lead of his PAC, with which he is legally banned from coordinating due to campaign finance laws. When asked about Rubio’s position that abortion be banned without exceptions, the Huffington Post reported, “Bush replied by focusing on his own position on the issue, noting that he was ‘probably the most pro-life governor in the country,’ but he declined to criticize Rubio’s view.”
Responding to the news that Bush and his allies may be moving to attack his rival’s position on abortion, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement, “We welcome Governor Bush and his team to reality. We’re glad they finally figured out what we’ve been saying for years—the Republican position on abortion as advanced by Rubio and many others is way out of the mainstream and turns off voters.”
She continued, “That being said, it is pretty striking to watch the far-right attack the extreme far-right on this issue. Grab the popcorn folks, it’s about to get interesting.”
Bernie Sanders Pledges to Fight Anti-Choice “Counter-Revolution” and Stand for Paid Family Leave
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders signaled his support for paid family leave and pledged to take a stand against the rash of anti-choice measures being discussed on the state and federal levels.
Making an appeal to the National Federation of Democratic Women in South Carolina on Saturday, Sanders pledged to help fight the anti-choice “counter-revolution going on,” referring to the increasing restrictions on abortion and birth control, reported the Washington Post.
The Democratic presidential candidate also voiced his support for paid family leave policies. “When a mom has a baby, that mom has a right to stay home with that baby,” Sanders said.
Sanders, noting that such policies were “not a radical idea,” pointed to the prevalence of similar ones in countries around the word. “It doesn’t make you un-American because you’re learning from other countries.”
Sanders has been a vocal proponent of paid family leave, calling the United States’ lack of it an “international embarrassment” during the last Democratic debate.
Sanders co-sponsored Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, which would give people “up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take time for their own serious health condition, including pregnancy and childbirth recovery,” according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Fiorina Robocalling California Voters to Push Forced Parental Notification Law in California
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina gave her support to a California ballot measure that would put in place a forced parental notification law, despite a similar law having been struck down by the California Supreme Court nearly 20 years ago.
Fiorina’s voice has been used in robocalls for the anti-choice group Californians for Parental Rights, a “fundraising committee whose founder has spent millions unsuccessfully pushing parental notification ballot measures in almost every California general election for the past decade” for more than a month, Mother Jones reported.
“In California, a 13-year-old girl can have a surgical abortion without either of her parents ever knowing about it,” Fiorina says on the calls before asking recipients to give their signature to put the measure on the ballot for 2016.
If passed, the law would require physicians to give written notification to the parents of unemancipated minors in the state 48 hours in advance of performing an abortion procedure.
Hillary Clinton Releases Veterans’ Services Platform Expanding Reproductive and LGBTQ Care
Hillary Clinton’s newly released platform on veterans’ services included guaranteed access to reproductive health care for women veterans, as well as expanded LGBTQ care.
The Democratic presidential candidate’s proposal, released the day before Veteran’s Day, noted the importance of addressing shortcomings when it comes to caring for women veterans through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), including “requiring the provision of reproductive services across the VHA to ensure women have access to the full spectrum of medical services they need.”
“Women veterans are the fastest growing population served by the [Department of Veterans Affairs], highlighting the importance of proactively addressing the VHA’s ability to meet their needs,” Clinton’s proposal said.
The proposal included plans to improve LGBTQ care and support, hoping to “recognize the honorable service of LGBT veterans by proactively reviewing and upgrading discharge records for veterans who were discharged because of their sexual orientation; and honoring their service by continuing efforts to improve the support and care they receive at the VHA to ensure respectful and responsive health care.”