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Feminism in the eyes of presidential candidates

By Emma Friedman

As the 2020 election gets closer and closer it has become a frequent topic of conversation in my life.  The last year has been a rough one for women in America with talk of overturning Roe vs. Wade, the abortion ban that went into affect this May in Alabama, many sexual assult cases, and the ever haunting wage gap. Being a young female, women’s rights are very important to me, so choosing a candidate that I believe is going to support me as a woman is extremely important to me. 

Throughout my research on a few of the democratic candidates including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden I have found many similarities. Some similarities included upholding Roe vs. Wade, repealing the Hyde Amendment, and giving all women access to women’s reproductive health care

The way in which the candidates plan to go about doing these things and what they prioritize is what creates differences in each of their campaigns for women’s rights. 

Elizabeth Warren

On May 17, 2017, Warren wrote an article in the Medium responding to Alabama’s anti-abortion laws speaking out on her views and plans to help woman during her presidency. Warren’s plans include passing laws to ensure that the government will stay out of women’s medical decisions and their medical records. After repealing the Hyde Amendment, she plans to have federal health care providers such as Medicare cover all abortions. In addition, she wants to pass a law called each Woman Act that prohibits abortion restrictions by private insurance companies. 

I believe Warren is on the right track, but is not there yet. She acknowledges the problems women face and wants to keep government control out of women’s bodies. She has solid plans for some very important issues for women, but does not seem to mention the income inequality women face. 

The wage gap is mentioned very little on Warren’s campaign website and her article in the Medium. She also does not mention giving women access to birth control as a part of her federal health care coverage which I believe should be addressed. 

Bernie Sanders

On Bernie Sanders’ campaign website there is a page entitled “Fight for Women’s Rights” where he discusses his plans for women’s rights during his presidency. 

Bernie’s plans for women’s rights look similar to Warren’s except for two main things. Warren seems to be prioritizing women’s healthcare and the right to an abotion as well as upholding Roe vs. Wade, while Bernie’s first priority is an act to end the wage gap. Bernie also plans to give health care to women through his plan of Medicare for All.

 Bernie has been preaching Medicare for All his entire campaign and is clearly very passionate about it. My concern is if Bernie is unable to get Medicare for All due to lack of funding and his tax plan women’s health care coverage does not get passed as well. If he is unable to get Medicare for All, women’s health care gets pushed aside along with it. 

I admire Bernie’s plans for women’s rights. He includes everything from access to birth control, to safe and legal abortions, to the Paycheck Fairness Act that will end the wage gap.

Joe Biden

According to Joe Biden’s campaign website, Biden plans on increasing the federal minimum from 7.25 to 15 dollars to account for the majority of minimum wage working women. There are several things that concern me about this plan, but firstly he does not mention the words equal pay at all on his plans. The only mention of equal pay is discussed in the efforts that were taken under the Obama- Biden administration. Biden does want to build on Obamacare with a new health insurance provider, but no mention of the government staying out of women’s bodies is mentioned. Despite this, he does want to uphold Roe vs. Wade and wants to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Emma Friedman can be reached at Emma.friedman@spartans.ut.edu

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