Not Every Woman Supports Women's Rights

August 29, 2008

Statement of NOW PAC Chair Kim Gandy on the Selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's Vice Presidential Pick

Sen. John McCain's choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate is a cynical effort to appeal to disappointed Hillary Clinton voters and get them to vote, ultimately, against their own self-interest.

Gov. Palin may be the second woman vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, but she is not the right woman.  Sadly, she is a woman who opposes women's rights, just like John McCain.

The fact that Palin is a mother of five who has a 4-month-old baby, a woman who is juggling work and family responsibilities, will speak to many women. But will Palin speak FOR women? Based on her record and her stated positions, the answer is clearly No.

In a gubernatorial debate, Palin stated emphatically that her opposition to abortion was so great, so total, that even if her teenage daughter was impregnated by a rapist, she would "choose life" -- meaning apparently that she would not permit her daughter to have an abortion.

Palin also had to withdraw her appointment of a top public safety commissioner who had been reprimanded for sexual harassment, although Palin had been warned about his background through letters by the sexual harassment complainant.

What McCain does not understand is that women supported Hillary Clinton not just because she was a woman, but because she was a champion on their issues.  They will surely not find Sarah Palin to be an advocate for women.

Sen. Joe Biden is the VP candidate who appeals to women, with his authorship and championing of landmark domestic violence legislation, support for pay equity, and advocacy for women around the world.

Finally, as the chair of NOW's Political Action Committee, I am frequently asked whether NOW supports women candidates just because they are women.  This gives me an opportunity to once again answer that question with an emphatic 'No.'  We recognize the importance of having women's rights supporters at every level but, like Sarah Palin, not every woman supports women's rights.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

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