When it comes to reproductive rights and women’s health, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand from New York has staked out one of the strongest positions in the presidential field.
Before she officially launched her candidacy in March, Gillibrand had already declared she was running a campaign focused on feminism.
Since then, Gillibrand has been vocal about issues like the Georgia fetal heartbeat bill and the Alabama ban on abortion that leaves no exceptions for rape and incest. She was the only candidate to visit Georgia after the state passed a bill that would outlaw abortions after a fetal “heartbeat” is detected, normally around six weeks.
“We need to call this what it is: A nationwide assault on women’s constitutional rights, by ideological extremists who have no right to make these most intimate and personal decisions a woman or a family can make,” Gillibrand said in her Georgia address.
At the Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids last week, Gillibrand also made reproductive rights the focus of her speech.
“Now more than ever, our rights are under attack. Whether it’s Georgia or Iowa or Alabama or Missouri. In the White House, at the Supreme Court,” she said. “Across this country, right-wing politicians and a whole lot of men are making decisions about our reproductive freedom.”
In her speech, Gillibrand also reiterated her commitment to repealing the Hyde Amendment, making Roe v. Wade a law and only nominating judges who support the Roe v. Wade decision as precedent.
On that last point, Gillibrand was the first Democratic candidate to propose using support for Roe as a litmus test for Supreme Court justices.
This would mean adopting a similar strategy many Democrats accuse Republicans of, though they appoint justices who disagree with the decision made in 1973.
In a Medium post on May 7, Gillibrand declared her position, writing, “I realize that traditionally, presidents and presidential candidates haven’t drawn lines in the sand on judicial appointments.”
She went on to point out that the tradition was ended when Mitch McConnell blocked Merrick Garland’s nomination in 2016.
Gillibrand wrote that her decision came down to believing that reproductive rights are a basic, non-negotiable human right.
Since then, other Democratic candidates like Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Michael Bennet, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and Andrew Yang have also declared they’ll only nominate justices who support Roe.
Her advocacy goes beyond reproductive rights, too.
On May 22, Gillibrand announced an economic policy called the Family Bill of Rights. The plan would provide resources and access to programs that support those who want to have children and those with newborns and young children.
Gillibrand wrote that the plan would be implemented during her first 100 days in office.
Five major points are outlined in the proposal, touching on different aspects of family life like maternal health, adoption rights for LGBTQ couples, affordable childcare and early education.
The idea behind the plan, Gillibrand said in her post, is to give every child the chance to succeed no matter their economic circumstances.
“We should make it easier to raise a family in America,” Gillibrand said. “And fighting for families should be the number one concern of the president of the United States, too.”
by Nikoel Hytrek