I have heard several conservative pundits and quite a few feminists suggesting women should support Sarah Palin because she is an “empowered” woman who represents progress for women in politics. Other women suggest they even feel guilty for not supporting Palin.
I can think of several reasons why it would be inadvisable for feminists or any other women to support Sarah Palin, not the least of which is that she is simply a token woman on John McCain’s campaign, meant to entice disillusioned Hilary Clinton supporters to vote for him. Palin has little understanding of political ethics as shown by her consistent abuse of gubernatorial power in regard to hiring and firing. She is completely unknowledgeable politically and is so misinformed that she actually believes the founding fathers wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.
Why should we feel guilty for rejecting such and empty and patronizing offering?
Women should assertively shun Sarah Palin because she is an anti-feminist who opposes every issue most feminists support, including issues relating to abortion, birth control, sex education, parenting, healthcare, equal pay for equal work, and civil rights.
Sarah Palin belongs to the pro-life organization Feminists for Life, which focuses on convincing college age women to choose motherhood and deny abortion. The group’s web site is filled with quasi feminist history topics, all of which are peculiarly skewed to the perspective of parenthood. Articles on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, challenges regarding Welfare to Work programs, and the pros and cons regarding the decision to be stay at home moms illustrate the focus placed on birth and motherhood. The website is also filled with pseudo scientific articles and advice stressing the physical and emotional dangers inherent to abortion.
Palin supports legal consent laws for young women seeking an abortion, and was reported to be extremely disappointed when Alaska “…lawmakers let a bill die requiring girls under 17 to get parental consent for an abortion.” Sadly, these types of laws have been shown to create hardship for young women whenever and where ever they are enacted.
Sarah Palin describes herself as a pro-life advocate who revels in her conservative “family” values. Though she has gone on the record in favor of contraception, most of the conservative groups Palin identifies with classify 40 percent of all birth control methods as abortion because they all have the same mode of action as emergency contraception. Limiting your access to those contraceptives has been a special focus of the Bush administration, and one can only imagine what the super conservative Palin would do.
Conservative groups insist abstinence is the only truly acceptable birth control method, and like Palin, they insist abstinence education should be included in any sex education program, despite multiple studies showing abstinence education as being largely ineffective. When asked in 2006 if she would support abstinence only education Palin said “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.”
Sarah Palin opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest, and insists that any woman who gets pregnant should give birth, regardless of health, age, economic or other circumstances. Proving that she is seriously dedicated to this philosophy, Palin has a 17 year old daughter who became pregnant and is now set to marry the 17 year old father of her baby. Rather than treating this delicate situation as the personal tragedy it is, and behaving the way a concerned parent might, Palin took advantage of the situation by exploiting her daughter’s pregnancy to tout her conservative credentials. Not the kind of parenting I would hope American women model.
Like most pro-life advocates who are avid supporters of birth but not interested in providing health services for women and children afterward, Palin opposed a health care bill in her state that would expand health services to all Alaskans. As governor, Palin also used a line item veto to cut funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live. Funding for Covenant House, a transitional home for teenage mothers, was cut by 20 percent under the Governor.
Palin has not been very vocal regarding pay equity for women, but her running mate McCain has provided plenty of information regarding the likelihood of women receiving equal pay for equal work under his administration. McCain claims to support pay equity but says he opposes the Ledbetter Bill, which essentially extends the right of women to sue for pay inequities if they experience discrimination. McCain opposes the bill because “…this kind of legislation, as is typical of what’s being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems…” Once again the McCain Palin ticket shows its concern for corporate America over the rights of women.
In 2006, Palin vetoed state legislation denying benefits to same-sex couples and said she would support a constitutional amendment to deny same-sex couples the same benefits afforded to heterosexual mates. She also opposes Hate Crime Legislation as does McCain. Legislation like the Matthew Shepard Act that would protect Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender people from bigotry targeted crimes. McCain also voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) legislation that would prohibit discrimination in the work force based on sexual orientation. We can only assume Palin agrees with McCain’s stance since they are “political soul mates.”
It is apparent from Sarah Palin’s conservative anti-woman focus that she is not interested in “empowering” the women of America in any meaningful way, but is in reality primarily interested in controlling our sexual lives. Palin expects women to do without health care, equal pay or protection against discrimination while also believing that more children should be born into the world without those benefits.
Feminists should only be embarrassed or feel guilty if they choose to vote for such an anti-feminist force
Sources: Time, Conservative Believer, Clair Sudduth . The Daily KOs, Palin thinks Pledge written by Founding Fathers , JLFinch , Aug 31, 2008. .AMERICan Psychology Association, Research Shows That Abstinence-Only Programs Have Limited Effectiveness And Unintended Consequences, Pam Willenz, February, 23, 2005.The Washington Times, Panel debates effectiveness of abstinence education, Thursday, April 24, 2008. Think Progress, Palin Supports Parental Consent Laws For Minors Seeking Abortions, Anchorage Daily News, August 14, 2008. Huffington Post, McCain opposes equal pay bill in Senate, Libby Quaid, April 23, 2008. Think Progress, Anchorage Daily News, December 21, 2006. Washington Blade, William R. Kapfer , Oct 1, 2008.Fox News, McCain talks Palin on Fox News Sunday, Mosheh Oinounou, August 31st, 2008.