REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Candidates Must Take Stand, Activist Says
Speaking before the Commonwealth Club of California yesterday in San Francisco, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Gloria Feldt announced the organization's "2000 pro-choice initiative," a nationwide program designed to "force presidential hopefuls" to convey their positions on reproductive health issues. In her address, Feldt blasted the candidates for "failing to address the reproductive choice critical to millions of American women." The San Francisco Chronicle reports that reproductive health issues -- particularly the "volatile issue of abortion" --have played crucial roles in California politics -- most recently, for example, the 1998 governor's race, which pitted "pro-choice" Democrat Gray Davis against "vociferously antiabortion" GOP candidate Dan Lungren. According to state polls, nearly 66% of voters are either satisfied with current state abortion laws or favor even less restrictive laws, while a similar number indicate that they would be less likely to support a candidate who opposes abortion rights. Some political analysts believe that those views propelled Davis to a landslide victory. Feldt said that she hoped the Planned Parenthood initiative would prompt candidates to discuss their position on topics such as sex education, access to family planning and funding for contraceptives for low-income women. Feldt concluded, "We all must zero in on every candidate ... If a candidate won't stand up for responsible choices on reproductive health during the campaign, he or she won't do so in office" (Marinucci, 10/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.