U.S. Rep. Maloney, With Coalition of NYC Women Leaders, Details Top Twenty President Bush Policies That Hurt Women
Group Urges Strengthening of Women's Rights, Women's Health Initiatives & Women's Equality by President & Congress
"There's nothing funny about this Top 20 list"
August 24, 2005 (New York, NY): Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14) and members of many of the country's leading women's rights organizations gathered on the steps of New York's City Hall to deliver a scathing indictment of President Bush's policies on women's health care, women's equality and women's rights. As part of the lead-up to Women's Equality Day on August 26th, Congresswoman Maloney presented a list of the Top 20 Bush administration actions that have hurt women.
"Over time, the Bush administration has eroded, bit-by-bit, our
nation's laws, policies and programs that promote women's equality,"
Maloney said. "This quiet, behind-the-scenes maneuvering has left
women here in
"That's why we're here this afternoon: to drag Bush's policies out of the Stone Age and into the light of day. These attacks on women's rights are a clear demonstration that for this administration, no good law advancing women's health and rights will go unharmed."
Congresswoman Maloney's report on the Top 20 Bush administration policies that have hurt women follows.
Bush Administration's Top 20 Policies
That Hurt Women
1. Bush refuses to state his position on birth control: The White
House has refused to comment on whether President Bush supports or opposes
access to birth control. The White House's silence on birth control comes at a
time when women's access to contraception is threatened. Pharmacists across the
country have recently refused to fill prescriptions for birth control because
of personal objections and the House of Representatives has
voted to strike any mention of birth control from legislation on family
planning. If Bush were serious about preventing abortions in
2. Bush imposes the Global Gag Rule on family planning: One of
President Bush's first actions in office was to put in place a global gag rule
prohibiting international health care organizations from providing or advising
on the option of abortion, even in countries where choice is legal and in cases
where the woman's life is in danger. The effects of this policy have been
3. Bush Administration to stop gathering information on women in the
4. Bush actions heighten risk of pregnancy and STDs in women around the
world: At the Children's
5. Rejects over-the-counter status for the "Morning-After
Pill": The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to go against
the recommendation of an expert scientific panel and reject over-the-counter
(OTC) status for the Plan B contraceptive, the so-called "Morning-After
Pill." Additionally, the Department of Justice refused to include mention
of the pill in its recently released guidance on treating rape victims.
The administration took these actions despite the fact that the FDA
Nonprescription Drugs and Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committees had
recommended making Plan B available OTC by a 23-4 vote. What's more, a
recent study by the University of Massachusetts
Medical School found that "the use of safe, effective emergency postcoital contraceptive methods could result in 1
million fewer abortions and 2 million fewer unintended pregnancies each
year in the
6. Bush Freezes funding to UNFPA: In July 2002, President Bush froze funding for UNFPA. UNFPA is an international development agency that provides reproductive health care services and fights the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, UNFPA reduces global poverty while ensuring the safety and dignity of women around the world. The President's decision to withhold funds from UNFPA ran contrary to bipartisan Congressional agreement, the President's first budget request, the recommendation of his own "expert team" sent to investigate UNFPA's activities in China, and the Secretary of State, who had testified to UNFPA's "invaluable work " around the world. Instead of heeding the advice of his appointed advisors, President Bush used his executive power to withhold $34 million appropriated for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In subsequent years, his budget has contained no funding for UNFPA.
7. Withdrawal of support for Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination Against Women: The Bush
Administration withdrew its support for Senate ratification of the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which
is unratified by only a handful of countries,
8. President Freezes $3 million in funding to the World Health
Organization: President Bush froze $3 million in funding to the World
Health Organization (WHO) in an effort to appease anti-choice pressure groups
who oppose the WHO's Human Reproduction Program. His stated reason for taking
this action is that the organization conducts research on mifepristone,
otherwise known as RU-486, even though no
9. Administration attempts to weaken agreements that protect women: At the UNESCAP meeting in Bangkok, Thailand in December 2002, the U.S. delegation fought to change language of a landmark international reproductive health care agreement (the International Conference on Population and Development - ICPD) to reflect the belief that life begins at conception. The Bush administration tried to pressure Asian nations into watering down the global consensus on reproductive health and rights, claiming that the document promoted abortion and underage sex. It also tried to substitute language that would eliminate sex education, undermine condom use in HIV/AIDS prevention, and water down policies that help prevent and treat unsafe abortions. In the face of international outcry, the administration was forced to back down.
10. So-called 'Partial Birth' Abortion Ban: By passing a bill that mirrors the unconstitutional abortion ban overturned in Stenberg v. Carhart, the President and the Republican Congress have privileged ideology over women's health. The Supreme Court made it clear that a ban without an exemption for women's health would not pass constitutional muster. Instead, the Bush Administration pushed for the broadest possible ban, perhaps hoping that a change in the make-up of the Supreme Court would yield a different result.
11. Expands the Global Gag Rule to HIV/AIDS funding: Bush expanded
the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, to include HIV/AIDS
programs. This action mandates that, to be eligible for
12. Bush Administration attempts to deny asylum to women who have fled sex trafficking: President Bush has said that "human trafficking is one of the worst offenses against human dignity." But, in March 2003, the Bush Administration tried to implement regulations that denied asylum to women who have fled trafficking, sexual slavery, honor killing, domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence in their home countries and who are not being protected by their own governments.
13. Bush's Plan to Privatize Social Security is bad for women: Women are more likely than men to depend on Social Security for their financial well-being - not only in retirement but throughout their lives - because of survivorship and disability benefits. The vast majority of Social Security recipients are women -- almost 60 percent of all beneficiaries age 65 and over. This percentage increases as people age. Meanwhile, women are less likely to have pensions than men, and more likely to rely on Social Security for a significant part of their income in their old age. Without Social Security, more than half of white senior women and about two-thirds of African American and Hispanic senior women would live in poverty. Because Social Security helps level the playing field for women, cutting their benefits would make it even harder for women to achieve financial security in retirement.
14. Rape cases in Army's ranks inadequately prosecuted: An Army task force on sexual assault completed a report in June 2004 revealing that sex abuse claims within the Army's ranks increased by 19% from 1999 to 2002. The number of rapes reported rose by 25%. Both numbers far outpace the growth of Army personnel, which grew 6%.
15. President Bush fails America's women in uniform: The Bush Administration cut the membership, staffing, and funding for DACOWITS (Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services); revoked much of the committee's autonomy by giving control to the Pentagon; watered down DACOWITS's attention to women's issues; reduced the number of installations that DACOWITS visits each year; and has hindered its effectiveness by requiring committee members to travel to installations in groups.
16. Unborn Victims of Violence Act gives fetuses same rights as mother: Instead of trying to protect pregnant women from violence, the Bush Administration pushed for legislation that would increase the rights of fetuses. As a result, Congress passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which treats embryos and fetuses as separate individuals in crimes against pregnant women.
17. Bush attacks Title IX: The Department of Education recently circulated a new "clarification" for Title IX compliance that will make it easier for colleges and universities to say they are providing equal athletic opportunities for women without actually doing so. Historically, schools had to prove that they were expanding athletic opportunities for women. Now, schools need only send out an email survey to female students to gauge their interest in sports. If young women do not respond to the survey (and many people treat such e-mails as spam and ignore them), funding for women's athletics will be cut. Title IX has been extraordinarily successful, particularly in promoting women's athletics and expanding women's educational opportunities. Prior to Title IX, women comprised only 2% of college students participating in sports. Thirty years later, women make up more than 43% of college athletes. After the passage of Title IX, sports participation by high school girls increased by 800%. Not only is it healthier for women to participate in athletics, but participation in sports has opened up opportunities for women to obtain scholarships. Now is not the time to obstruct Title IX.
18. Bush's budget cuts hurt women and children: The Administration has proposed deeper and deeper cuts in services for women and their families. Women are more likely to live in poverty and rely on federally funded housing, health, and education programs. Bush has consistently proposed deep cuts in Medicaid, housing programs such as Section 8, HOPE VI, and the Community Development Block Grant. On top of that, Bush proposed eliminating the Women's Educational Equity Act, a relatively inexpensive program that helps women and girls achieve equal treatment in school. Fortunately, two of my colleagues and I were able to pass an amendment and save it. Undeterred, Bush has also proposed cuts to Title I and other education programs that teach technology, improve teacher quality, and provide financial aid for college-bound students.
19. The Bush Administration's policies attempt to cut number of children served under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): The Child Care and Development Block Grant provides child care funds for low-income families. Because CCDBG is severely underfunded, only one out of seven children eligible for federal child care assistance receives help. The first Bush Administration budget would have resulted in a $200 million cut in child care. By the Administration's own estimates, its current budget would result in 300,000 children losing child care assistance by 2009. Without child care assistance, it is much harder for low income women to go to work, provide for their children, become self-sufficient, and end the cycle of poverty.
20. The Administration closed the White House Women's Office: Immediately after President Bush's inauguration in January 2001, the White House Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach was quietly closed. The office, established in 1995, had monitored policy initiatives developed in the White House and cabinet departments for their impact on women and served as a liaison to outside organizations concerned about policies affecting women. In March 2001, the White House confirmed that this office had "expired." Clearly, the Bush Administration is not interested in how its policies affect women.