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Women’s Issues

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There’s a mini-debate going on over at Tapped about whether it was kosher for Edwards to send his wife to the big conversation about abortion in D.C. the other day. Steven White has this to say:

TO BE FAIR. In response to Sam’s comment about how Edwards “didn’t even show up” at the Planned Parenthood event yesterday, it’s worth remembering that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton kind of… work down the street. Edwards, alternately, no longer works in DC and was traveling through poor rural regions discussing poverty, which is also a somewhat important issue not entirely unrelated to women’s reproductive health.

Fair point. And Steven’s right to point out that poverty is “not entirely unrelated” to women’s reproductive health. It’s probably more powerfully tied to women’s health than any of the candidates would acknowledge. That said, I can’t help cringe a bit at the sending of Elizabeth Edwards in John’s stead. Not because of anything personal to Mrs. Edwards. It’s because I think it emphasizes the separating of abortion from all the other issues related to women’s and reproductive health — the very thing that Steven praises Edwards for potentially undoing. To me, Edwards’ decision to send his wife makes me feel like he thinks abortion is just a ladies’ problem. (In fairness, she spoke about tying reproductive health to poverty and healthcare. But why can’t he say it?).

It doesn’t help either that though generally very savvy on reproductive rights issues discussed at the Planned Parenthood forum, she ultimately danced around his support for abortion rights in a way that left me scratching my head.

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