Along with the rest of the nation, I was shocked with McCain’s choice of a woman, a relatively unkown woman, for VP. As I research more about her, I am appalled by what the election of her and McCain would mean for women’s rights, science and democracy. I believe that McCain chose her to capture womens’ votes, but to fellow women, I say beware…
This article excerpt sums it up:
“A significant part of Palin’s base of support lies among social and Christian conservatives. Her positions on social issues emerged slowly during the campaign: on abortion (should be banned for anything other than saving the life of the mother), stem cell research (opposed), physician-assisted suicide (opposed), creationism (should be discussed in schools), state health benefits for same-sex partners (opposed, and supports a constitutional amendment to bar them).”
And here are my thoughts on those issues:
Abortion — A highly charged topic, it is my belief that it is a woman’s right to choose what is right for her and her own body. Although I have religious beliefs that would prevent me from choosing an abortion, it is MY RIGHT to make that choice. This topic crosses heavily over into religion, and I firmly believe that we should maintain separation of church and state. I also cringe at the implication to women’s rights if Roe vs. Wade is overturned. As has happened in history, when abortions are outlawed, illegal operations crop up, which can severely compromise a woman’s health (if not kill her). Pregnancy is a huge responsibility, in which you can really screw up a fetus/baby if you are not completely bought in to the process — via drugs, unhealthy eating, smoking, alcohol, etc. Why do we want to force those types of people to carry out an unwanted pregnancy?! This country was founded on religious freedom, so we should preserve the right for people with different beliefs to make their own decisions. Especially in situations where the mother’s health or life could be compromised by a pregnancy, I say back off politicians and let the doctors make the decisions!
Stem cell research — In my opinion, this is another instance where the religious views of politicians are getting in the way of science. I don’t understand why we cannot use the cells from embryos left over from fertility treatments that are set to be destroyed anyway. Once you have known someone that is impacted by an infliction that could benefit from stem cell research, you see first hand how frustrating it is that politicians are impeding the progress. I’ve had two very good friends that were paralyzed — one paraplegic and one quadriplegic. For my friend, Heidi Van Arnem (please go read about her), that was a quadriplegic, it is too late to improve her life with stem cell research because she died at age 36 from complications due to her paralysis. I worked with the disability community during my tenure at General Motors, and to hear first hand from these people about the great implications of stem cell research, I just don’t understand why we would choose to protect cells from embryos that would be destroyed anyway over the health improvement implications for existing people already struggling with disabilities. At least McCain isn’t outwardly opposed to stem cell research, as he is quoted as saying, ““This is a tough issue for those of us in the pro-life community. I would remind you that these stem cells are either going to be discarded or perpetually frozen. We need to do what we can to relieve human suffering.”
Physician assisted suicide — I don’t understand why we cannot afford humans the same dignity we offer animals when the pain is just too much. I have watched one of my grandparents suffer with emphysema, and another with dimensia, and both were fates that I just can’t imagine anyone would want to endure. Once again, this is a religious decision that politicians are thwarting. This is a free country. If I don’t have the religious beliefs to stop me from engaging in physician assisted suicide, what right does Washington have to stop me? I don’t think I’d personally do this either, but once again, I firmly believe it should be my choice.
Same sex marriage — The health benefits are tied to the same sex marriage debate. I say if people want to get married and follow the same laws and ties of marriage, then so be it. If they then choose to get divorced, they will then have to endure the same trials as any heterosexual couple. Once again, this country was founded on religious tolerance, so I think politicians should stop making the religious judgement that same sex marriage is wrong, and just let people make their own choices and deal with the ramifications that those choices cause.
So, as we face Decision 2008, once again, I find myself choosing to vote for the lesser of two evils. I’m not convinced either McCain or Obama are the candidates that this country needs.