By: Jonathan Itskovitch
Caption: Hillary Clinton reacts after a woman threw a shoe at her. Source: NBC
There’s no doubt, it has been a bad couple of weeks for women’s equality issues. The following outlines some of the disappointments. In late March, an appeals court upheld Texas’ unreasonably strict restrictions on abortion. It closes nearly all clinics in the state, and requires doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals. Additionally, there are very strict limitations on doctors providing birth control pills. This week, the senate blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act for the third time. The bill would have narrowed the wage gap between men and women (women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn). Every Republican Senator voted against the Fairness Act. Hillary Clinton narrowly dodged a shoe thrown at her during a presentation in Las Vegas. Clearly an insult to a very powerful woman, considered the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination in 2016. In addition, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, resigned over the failed Obamacare website launch. Finally, when David Letterman announced his retirement from the Late Night Show, many were hoping and anticipating a female host replacing him. This was not to be the case.
This laundry list is an indication that women to this date still do not have legal, political, and social equal footing with men. I feel this is something that should have already become a non-issue, and there should be legal equality in every sense. However, traditional political ideology stood in the way once again these past few weeks and put the U.S. backwards on women’s rights issues. In the 1970s, the Roe v Wade decision was non-controversial. Even Ronald Reagan, hailed as a conservative hero, did not act to overturn it. However, these new restrictions on abortions passed in many states do everything except banning them completely. It is clear that Congress won’t do much to advance women’s rights. They blocked equal pay for equal work for a third time. They also allowed the Equal Rights Amendment to expire years ago and there are no signs of re-proposing it. The president can issue executive orders on the matter, but they can only go so far.
At this point, those who support women’s rights should turn to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court should mandate employment non-discrimination and ban the unnecessary, burdensome restrictions on abortion throughout the country. I also believe that there is another avenue to promote women’s rights in this country. Hillary Clinton may run for president. Her presidency would mark a national embracing of women’s rights in this country. I am quite sure she would address the inequalities. Regardless of the legal path that the future holds, I believe it is necessary to fix what is happening right now.