“Liberating” Women?
GWB assault on women at home

by Sara Smits

While Bush proclaims the liberation of the people of Iraq and women in Afghanistan, he continues to attack women’s rights here at home. Since the beginning of Bush’s term, many changes that disproportionately affect women have occurred. The Bush administration has:

escalated gender discrimination and pay inequality. In December 2002 GWB, through his spokesperson Ari Fleischer, indicated that he considered gender discrimination less serious than that based on race and ethnicity.

rolled back women’s educational opportunity gains. Title IX guaranteeing equal opportunity in education for women is under threat.

severely restricted health care programs for women. Due primarily to reproductive health care needs, women use the health care system more than men. Fewer women are covered by employer-based insurance and must rely on federally funded programs, like Medicaid, which face funding cuts.

sought to undermine Social Security. Bush’s proposal to privatize Social Security disproportionately affects women. Women spend less time in the work force and are paid less, and therefore have less money to invest in a private investment program.

thrown more women and children into poverty. 34.6 million people live in poverty in the US — 12.1 million of whom are children. Approximately 20% of single mother headed households fall below the poverty line.

cut funds to address incidents of violence against military women. A recent Defense Department report revealed approximately 2000 women reported sexual assault by fellow soldiers between 2002-2003 — 118 of whom were serving in Iraq. After legislators authorized $10 million for the creation of an independent office to address sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse within the military, the House Ways and Means Committee reduced the funding to only $1.8 million out of the mind-boggling $417.5 billion military budget.

nominated regressive, anti-women federal judges. Bush seeks to impose right-wing ideology in the federal judiciary. Nominations include William Pryor, who said, “Roe v. Wade was the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”

replaced science with right-wing ideology. FDA delayed converting emergency contraception to over-the-counter status despite recommendations of its own committee. Department of Health and Human Services websites removed accurate information about condom effectiveness.

pushed a discriminatory constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. Denying same-sex couples the benefits of marriage violates the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The proposed amendment undermines fundamental principles women and minorities fought hard for in the women’s and civil rights movements.

restricted reproductive rights and access to contraception and health care for women. Recently, the Bush administration proposed eliminating coverage for contraception, abortion, sterilization, and artificial insemination from federal health care plans — blatantly attacking women’s reproductive rights.

National Organization for Women <www.now.org>, Planned Parenthood <www.plannedparenthood.com>, Stop Family Violence <www.stopfamilyviolence.org>,

The Truth About George <www.thetruthaboutgeorge.org>, Feminist Majority Foundation <www.feminist.org>

Sara, a Syracuse University Maxwell School grad student, recently joined the Peace Newsletter editorial committee.