Women and Politics

A blog from WCF about the state of women and politics

Stupak to retire: Can a pro-choice candidate win his seat?

This posted was submitted by Jean Qiao, WCF communications fellow

When you say “Stupak,” I say, “anti-choice!” However, have no fear: The name that has been tainted with numerous attempts to take away women’s reproductive freedoms in the recently-passed health care bill is nearing his final days of legislative power.

Yes, Rep. Bart Stupak, the infamous Congressman from Michigan and legislator behind the Stupak-Pitts amendment will not be seeking re-election in November.

The departure of Stupak makes for an even more interesting election year: It’s clear that Stupak won the seat thanks to his socially conservative and anti-choice views. And now many say that the doors have flung wide open for a Republican victory this November.

Even before his retirement announcement, President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and the DCCC called on Stupak not to retire, in fear of losing the Democratic majority.

Personally, I would much rather have someone in Congress who will vote to protect women’s reproductive freedoms—not someone who, despite his party’s platform on choice, spear-heads anti-choice amendments left and right.

Currently, Connie Saltonstall is the sole woman running for the seat. And unlike Stupak, she is a strong advocate for women’s reproductive rights. Running a campaign in this district should prove to be difficult for her, but we can’t let social conservatives scare women from running. Kudos to Saltonstall for stepping up to the challenge.

A majority of the American population agrees that women have a right to choose their own reproductive choices and options, and we need legislators from all districts who will echo and support this view. But can proponents of reproductive rights successfully fight the health care reform backlash in an especially difficult district? Time will tell, but for the sake of women and all Americans, I certainly hope so.

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