Copyright © 2004 Henrietta W. Hay
The Bush Administration and Women
July 23, 2004
Election years are exciting, whatever your politcs are. This year we
are not hearing very many positive statements from either side and the
issues are mostly limited to war and economics, which are, of course,
vitally important to all of us, and to the personality of the other guy.
But there is one part of the record of the Bush Administration which is
not being used for campaign material. That is the Bush Against Women
campaign, which has been going on for four years.
This has been surprising because one might have expected the President
to be an advocate for women. He was raised by a strong mother, and
married a strong, intelligent woman whom he himself credits with pulling
him out of a prolonged liquid adolescence, and he has twin daughters.
Many men with daughters become feminists in order to expand
opportunities for them.
But not Mr. Bush. From the first day he was in office he has acted
consistently against the interests of women world wide. On that day he
resurrected the Global Gag Rule, ending U. S. aid to international
family planning programs whose programs included -- but did not use U.
S., funds for -- legal abortion options. The Gag rule applies even to
health clinics that use non-U. S.. funds and even if abortion is legal
in that country. And now the Bush administration, with a nod -- no, a
bow -- to its right wing voters, is proposing to extend the Gag rule to
overseas clinics that offer HIV/AIDS counseling.
In that same first year he slammed the door shut on the White House
Office for Women's Initiatives, and Outreach which worked with women's
advocacy groups on public policy and political issues. But heck, women
were already 1.2% of the Fortune 500 CEOs. Who needs any more of 'em?
What is known as the morning after birth control pill has been available
in Europe for several years. The FDA approved it for use here and it
was scheduled to be available over the counter in May. But
Bush-appointed acting drug chief Dr. Steven Galson overruled his own
staff and postponed over the counter sales indefinitely. The American
Medical Association voiced its support for over-the-counter sales, and
women's groups are accusing the Bush administration of putting politics
before science in rejecting the OTC sale of the pill.
And speaking of putting politics before science The administration has
limited federally funded research to stem cell lines that existed on
August 9, 2001. This issue has been highlighted recently by Nancy
Reagan. This is not specifically a women's issue, but is a part of the
anti-abortion campaign which claims that a cell smaller than the head of
a pin and visible only through a very strong microscope is a human
The administration has appointed strong anti-choice ideologues John
Ashcroft and Tommy Thompson as Attorney General and Secretary of the
Department of Health and Human Services. That is a bit like
putting a fox in charge of the chicken yard.
The Bush Administration tried to eliminate contraceptive coverage from
federal employees health plans. Democrats fought back and won that
one. Bush policy prohibits military women stationed overseas from
receiving safe medical abortions at military hospitals, even if they pay
for the procedure with personal funds.
These are only a few examples of Bush Against Women. There are many
And check with the League of Women Voters if you want non-partisan
information on the candidates.