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Am I Going to Hell?

October 7, 2008

From Kristen Loveland at Girl with Pen: At a rally on Saturday in California, Sarah Palin offered up what Nico Pitney at Huffinton Post calls a rather "jarring" comment, and which I would term as offensive and mind-boggling on a variety of levels (though given the current McCain/Palin strategy, we shouldn't be surprised). To a cheering crowd, she claimed to be quoting former Clinton Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright when she said:
"There's a place in Hell reserved for women who don't support other women."
In a GWP post last week, Virginia Rutter told us why she wouldn't sign those "women against Palin" emails, as she believes "the 'women against' gambit feeds into the identity politics of Sarah Palin that make her so damn scary. Ironically, by mounting a 'women against' campaign, we make her a 'woman’s candidate.'" And how right she is. In fact she has Albright to back her up, who responded to the misquote (the right word is "help" not "support" and was a comment on society, not politics) with the following: "This is yet another example of McCain and Palin distorting the truth, and all the more reason to remember that this campaign is not about gender, it is about which candidate has an agenda that will improve the lives of all Americans, including women." But given that Palin has herself brought it up, I think it's fair game to point out the significant ways in which Palin has not supported women throughout her political career. I would like to note that this is not a response by me as a woman; it is a response by me as a voter who cares deeply about issues that affect women.
    1. First, the matter of rape kits. As the Associated Press reported in early September, when Palin was mayor of the town of Wasilla, Alaska, sexual assault victims were billed by the town for the cost of rape kits and forensic testing. In a state that routinely has the highest rate of sexual assault, this placed a $300 - $1200 financial burden on women who sought to report their attacks. 2. As a "Feminist for Life," Palin is anti-choice with no exceptions. Women who choose to have abortions come from a diverse range of economic, ethnic, racial, geographical, marital, and religious circumstances. According to the Guttmacher Institute, about half of American women have had an unintended pregnancy and more than a third of women of current reproductive age will choose to have an abortion by age 45. That's a whole lot of women Palin isn't willing to support. 3. Lily Ledbetter, whose case went before the Supreme Court after she discovered that she was being paid $6,500 less per year than the lowest-paid male equivalent at her work, might have something to say about the efforts made on her behalf by the McCain-Palin camp. The Court ruled that an employee had only 180 days claim pay discrimination based on sex, race, religion, or nationality. Last April, McCain opposed a major Senate bill that sought to counteract this decision by seeking equal pay for women. The bill was killed 56-42 by the Republicans. And McCain has a long history of equal pay opposition. What does Palin have to say about this? Given that she hasn't said a word, we can only assume tacit agreement. 4. Finally, given what this woman might have to say about Palin's comment, I think we're left with only one response: "Huh?"
Cross-posted at www.girlwpen.com

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