Senator John McCain’s on women’s issues
When it comes to women’s issues, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is considered by some to be a negative force. A self-proclaimed conservative, McCain seems to block much of the progress that has been made in this arena, from freedom of choice to affordable healthcare programs for economically-challenged women.
In fact, Senator McCain has shown a history of voting against a large percentage of pro women legislation since his first election to Congress in 1986, including opposing a bill that would allocate $100M to provide healthcare to low income women and families.
This bill also incorporated funds for birth control and contraceptive education, which would reduce the number of abortions performed in this economic sector every year and help reduce the spread of AIDS.
McCain also opposed the Title X Family Planning Program, which allows low-income women to receive mammograms and cervical cancer screenings—preventative medicine to help save women’s lives.
On the positive side, McCain has supported important legislation such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows an employee to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for family or medical reasons (including pregnancy), or up to twenty-six weeks to provide care to a family member or spouse diagnosed with a serious illness or injury.
McCain was involved in the development of the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, which fights to destroy the invisible corporate barrier that prevents women and minorities from achieving fair career advancement and full earning potential.
In some ways, Senator John McCain has differentiated himself from more socially conservative members of his party when it comes to women’s issues.
During his primary campaign against George W. Bush, McCain pointed out that, unlike Bush, he could not subscribe to the official Republican party platform on abortion, because he believed that there should be exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother, whereas the Republican platform provides no such exceptions.
Bush likewise allowed for these exceptions, but McCain critized George W. Bush for being unwilling to rebuke the party on this issue, and charged his opponent with rank hypocrisy. This kind of positioning was often par for the course as Senator John McCain has endeavored to style himself a “maverick.”
Nevertheless, McCain shed many of these “maverick” stances in his subsequent quest for the 2008 presidency, in large part due to his party’s drift toward more right-wing positions.