Published on IPSnews, by Adrianne Appel, Nov. 13, 2008.
“This is the time to finish the unfinished revolution,” said Byllye Avery, founder of the Black Women’s Health Imperative.
Women activists have a long list of recommendations for Obama, who is viewed as much more receptive to women’s rights than his predecessor.
“It’s a great opportunity to think about policies that will strengthen our agenda, like strengthening families,” said Andrea Batista-Schlesinger, of the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy.
George W. Bush, who leaves office Jan. 20, has imposed many policies that harm the quality of life of women inside and outside of the United States, policies he has said are morally correct and that reflect his personal religious beliefs …
… “Think ahead four years from now. How will we know that we were successful?” asked Paula Rayman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts.
Obama’s health reform plan must include access to abortion, and complete reproductive health care, said Loretta Ross, a coordinator of SisterSong, a health collective of women of colour.
“Obama, I assume, has not heard the perspective of black women on this issue. That won’t fly,” Ross said. “Barack needs to know that when you sell out abortion rights, you sell out women. We need to say, ‘The middle ground does not start on my body,”‘ Ross said.
While progressive women are celebrating the possibilities of the next four years, those on the far right are sharpening their agendas as well.
“The potential swing of the Supreme Court to the liberal side is something we need to be very, very aware of. We need to be careful who we let through on these courts,” said Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, at a gathering of conservative women in Washington, DC.
“Democrats are going to try to ram through these policies. We need to make sure we are advocating and our voices are heard. Look at the immigration bill and how talk radio was responsible for undermining that and making sure it did not become the law of the land,” added Kate Obenshain, a Republican Party strategist.
The Catholic leadership wasted no time in vowing to fight abortion rights and funding of stem cell research. Cardinal Francis George, the archbishop of Chicago, denounced the policies as against the common good, at a meeting of U.S bishops earlier this week.
Clear battle lines are being drawn on both sides.
“We should deal the far right wing a major blow,” Smeal said. “We have to make the best use of the next year or two. We must not go back again, so this is our opportunity to move ahead.” (full text).