Welcome to Dispatches, your round-up of the latest news from the frontlines of the War on Women. This edition offers a preview of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte but will return to our regular coverage shortly. Have a story from your state or an idea on how to push back? Share them here and fight back against the War on Women.
In stark contrast to the Republicans who, at their convention, spoke of the rights of the preborn and praised a very specific vision of motherhood, the Democrats have unveiled a long list of women ready to speak to the diverse and multifaceted role women play in our society and the need for government to respect their fundamental rights of bodily autonomy.
Here’s just a quick rundown of some of the most recognizable names speaking in Charlotte:
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. Baldwin stands to be the first openly gay woman elected to the US Senate if she defeats former Wisconsin Governor and Bush cabinet member Tommy Thompson in November. While in state politics and as a member of Congress, Baldwin’s been a fierce advocate for women and families.
Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth. Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who lost both legs and part of the use of her right arm, is running for Congress in Illinois against Tea Party incumbent and dead-beat dad Joe Walsh. This congressional race is one of the most perfect snapshots of the gender contrast between the parties. Walsh has attacked Duckworth on her military service, going so far as to claim she’s not a “true” hero, despite the fact that Walsh has never served himself and can’t seem to pay his debts.
Sandra Fluke, Georgetown University Student and reproductive rights activist, has not backed down since Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) refused to let her speak at his Congressional hearing on contraception despite the onslaught of hate from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.
Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America will also speak, as will Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. These women are leading the front-line fight against the right’s relentless attacks on reproductive freedom. For Richards especially these have been challenging times as stripping Planned Parenthood of funding it uses to provide health care services to low income women is a pet project of conservatives.
Other notable speakers include Caroline Kennedy, equal pay activist Lilly Ledbetter, Eva Longoria, Obama Campaign Co-Chair, Denise Juneau, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Montana and U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, together with the women of the U.S. Senate.
The list shows Democrats have bench-depth when it comes to finding and developing female leadership. And it is that depth of leadership that translates into a comprehensive embrace of women’s rights. These are not “distractions” as the right claims, nor are Democrats “pandering” to women voters by consistently reminding voters Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan doesn’t think rape is rape. Yes, these women are all pro-choice, but that’s because choice is an issue of fundamental rights for women. Choice is an issue of economics for women and, since women make up at least half of our workforce, choice as a matter of economics is an issue for all voters. And this is the point Democrats, through their female leadership, finally seem to be grasping.
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