Yesterday morning, on my way back from the high of the Democratic National Convention, I learned that Sen. John McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential pick.
What might have been encouraging news for women was just the opposite — somehow McCain had managed to find a woman running mate even more conservative than he is on women's rights.
It was heartbreaking news, especially on the heels of such an inspiring week. Right now there is so much shameless rhetoric from the Republicans about breaking the glass ceiling, especially from McCain and his running mate. What good does it do to break a glass ceiling with a woman who wants government to control women's reproductive health? That isn't the world I want for my two daughters.
A day later, and I'm still having trouble expressing the depth of my anger about McCain's choice of a running mate. This shameless pandering to women — with a woman who doesn't trust other women to make their own decisions about childbearing — has really got me going.
My dear friends and supporters, the stakes in this election just got unbelievably higher. More than ever before, the November 4 election is the most important vote for women's rights of my generation. And our actions in the next eight weeks — yours, mine, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund's — have never been more critical. Believe me, I don't say that lightly. It's time to get to work — and hard.
If you can only do one thing, it should be to tell every woman you meet that McCain and Palin are the most anti-choice, anti-women pair imaginable. Don't stop at just telling your friends. You can bet that I'll be telling strangers in the checkout line at the grocery store, the women I see at the gym, parents at my kids' schools.
Women trust other women to tell them the straight truth — and the straight truth is that McCain and Palin would take us back to a time when women had absolutely no right to decide whether or not to have a child ... zero. It's been widely reported that Palin is against abortion even in the cases of rape and incest!
And, yes, money helps us too — very much. That's how this all works. Your donations help the Planned Parenthood Action Fund reach voters person to person — conversations with one million women that tell the truth about John McCain and Sarah Palin. Bear with us over the next two months. We're going to be asking for your help, your contributions and your time a lot. Thank you in advance for doing what you can, when you can.
Times like these, it's hard not to hear my mother's voice in my head. I can tell you that my mother, the former governor of Texas and a remarkable feminist leader of her time, would have been downright outraged right now. What would have offended her most about McCain's decision to put Sarah Palin on the ticket is how utterly calculated, how awfully pandering it is to women. It is the worst kind of politics. Mom would have said, "Women voting for this ticket is just like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders."
We have the opportunity in Barack Obama and Joe Biden to elect a team that have always stood strong with us for women's health — end of story. I'm so excited coming back from Denver — but with this decision by John McCain, I recognize that everything for us is at stake.
Thank you, as always, for standing up with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the women Planned Parenthood health centers serve. We are quite a force, aren't we?
Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Action Fund
And then there's my own state's senator, Barbara Boxer:
"The vice president is a heartbeat away from becoming president, so to choose someone with not one hour's worth of experience on national issues is a dangerous choice.
"If John McCain thought that choosing Sarah Palin would attract Hillary Clinton voters, he is badly mistaken. The only similarity between her and Hillary Clinton is that they are both women. On the issues, they could not be further apart.
"Sen. McCain had so many other options if he wanted to put a woman on his ticket, such as Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe -- they would have been an appropriate choice compared to this dangerous choice."
-- Sen. Barbara Boxer, attacking Sen. McCain's veep pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
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