Six Million Women’s Voices Blast Ashcroft and Thompson Nominations
A strong coalition of 120 women’s rights groups unite in opposition to John Aschcroft’s and Tommy Thompson’s nominations. “Women’s organizations are justifiably outraged over Bush’s appointment of right-wing, anti-women’s rights extremists,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “Based on their records, Ashcroft puts ideology over law and Thompson puts ideology over health policy,” added Smeal. “In both cases, women lose big.”
Many cast Ashcroft as extreme, while many cast Thompson as more moderate. “Let there be no mistake about it, both Ashcoft and Thompson want to criminalize abortion and make it a felony,” said Smeal. “Let us not forget that Thompson passed and signed into law a measure so punitive and extreme that it mandated a lifetime prison sentence for physicians who performed an abortion procedure that he deemed late-term abortion,” added Smeal. However, the statute, ultimately declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, was written so vaguely it could have reached all abortions.
Both Ashcroft and Thompson are supported and connected to extreme right-wing figures such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly, Ralph Reed, Bob Jones and Jesse Helms. Both Ashcroft and Thompson are connected to big tobacco. “When it comes to tobacco and guns, both Thompson and Ashcroft argue for the right to choose, but when it comes to a woman’s right to choose, they argue for criminal penalties,” proclaimed Smeal.
Both Ashcroft and Thompson have anti-women’s rights records outside the abortion issue. Ashcroft fought the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and is fighting the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Ashcroft also has an abysmal record of appointing women. He appointed not a single woman to his initial Governor’s cabinet, ranking dead last among all 50 governors. Thompson has harshly penalized poor single mothers with his so-called welfare reform which in actuality is nothing more than welfare elimination.
Both Ashcroft and Thompson have gutted and fought handgun control laws, going so far as supporting laws that allow guns to be carried in public. “Both are in the pocket of the NRA and not at all sympathetic to the Million Mom March,” said Smeal.
“President-Elect Bush has nominated anti-women extremists to the very cabinet positions that can hurt women’s rights and women’s lives the most,” said Smeal.
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