Quantcast
Connect with us

Beto O’Rourke unveils sweeping women’s rights plan

Published

on

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is set to unveil a sweeping plan Wednesday morning in an effort to emphasize that he is committed to prioritizing the needs and concerns of women across the country. A draft of the plan, obtained by Salon, details O’Rourke’s policy proposals, which range from fighting for equal pay and paid parental leave to pushing for abortion rights and better maternal health services.

ADVERTISEMENT

The effort comes roughly a week before O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, is expected to take the stage alongside 11 other Democratic presidential hopefuls for the fourth primary debate of the 2020 race.

“It’s long past time that we level the playing field and fully address the inequalities women still face in America today,” O’Rourke told Salon. “We must continue to call out the barriers and inequalities women encounter every day, champion women in opportunities for advancement, and defend women against targeted violence and discrimination.”

To expand access to reproductive health and rights, O’Rourke calls for repealing the Hyde Amendment — which bans federal funding for most abortions — and guaranteeing private insurance coverage for abortion. He vows to make the right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade a part of federal law, so that it would stand even if Roe is overturned, and “appointing judges who respect Roe v. Wade as the settled law of the land.” He also promises, if elected, to reverse the Trump administration’s “gag rule” and to direct the Food and Drug Administration to remove “labeling instructions that impose barriers to medication-based abortions.”

Other presidential candidates have put forth policies for defending reproductive rights. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said he would create a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would make abortion free to all patients under his “Medicare for All” health plan.

In O’Rourke’s plan, the former Texas congressman promises to champion the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution. The ERA, first proposed in 1923 and passed by Congress in 1972, states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” It has been ratified by 37 states — just one state short of the three-fourths required under the Constitution.

ADVERTISEMENT

O’Rourke proposes to allow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission the ability to require large employers to “automatically impose a remedy to close gaps, fining companies that fail to correct disparities.” He also wants to sign the “Paycheck Fairness Act,” which he alleges would prohibit employers from seeking salary histories, protect workers from retaliation for discussing pay with coworkers, require employers to collect pay data for an annual EEOC report and “prove pay gaps are job-related business necessities.”

The former congressman vows to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, authorize negotiation programs for women and girls and make it illegal for employers to pay their part-time workers a lower hourly wage than full-time employees, and illegal to deny those workers opportunities for promotions or time off.

O’Rourke goes on to call for the passage of the “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act,” which he claims would require employers to make “the same sorts of reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers that they make for disabled workers.” Additionally, he promises to work with Congress to pass legislation enabling low- and middle-class families afford childcare, invest in “child care deserts,” develop universal preschool programs and provide all workers up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

ADVERTISEMENT

Other presidential candidates have put forth proposals to address gender discrimination in the workplace. California Sen. Kamala Harris has proposed closing the wage gap by requiring companies to disclose pay data to the federal government and pay a penalty if they don’t achieve wage parity. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she would sign executive orders to help close the pay gap suffered by women of color and deny contracts to companies with bad records on equal pay if elected.

O’Rourke’s plan suggests he recognizes that women, particularly women of color, have played major roles in elections for years — and overwhelmingly vote for Democrats. In 2008, women of color turned out at a higher rate than any other racial, ethnic and gender group — a phenomenon that helped Democrats seize control of the White House and Congress. In 2012, black and brown women again wielded unprecedented levels of influence at the ballot box and played a significant role in President Barack Obama’s reelection.

ADVERTISEMENT

In order to win over this particularly powerful voting bloc in the Democratic primary, O’Rourke’s plan notes the disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality for black and Native American women across the country. To tackle this crisis, O’Rourke says he will ensure all women have access to mental health services, cervical screenings, midwives and doulas; expand maternal home visit programs through the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program; and support new mothers at risk for homelessness.

He also pledges to lift up transgender women and trans women of color, who are particularly vulnerable and face higher rates of violence, by “overturning Trump’s discriminatory transgender troop ban, including all resulting discharges” and passing the Equality Act to “ensure all LGBTQ+ people may fully participate in public life without discrimination in employment, housing and access to public spaces and services.”

He also plans to direct the Justice Department to investigate crimes against transgender people, ensure law enforcement agencies receive training related to implicit bias and use of force, and allow transgender individuals to update their name and gender identity on documents. To ensure safe housing for transgender people in custody, O’Rourke says he will reinstate the Bureau of Prisons’ “Transgender Offender Manual.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Trump push for ‘middle class’ tax cut ahead of 2020 derided as admission that ‘his first tax cut was a scam’

Published

on

Advisers to President Donald Trump are reportedly working on a plan to slash the "middle class" tax rate to 15 percent, a pre-election effort that tax experts and progressive critics slammed as an admission that the first round of Republican tax cuts did nothing for most Americans while further enriching the wealthiest.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

America’s largest nurses union endorses Bernie Sanders for president

Published

on

Pointing to his tireless advocacy on behalf of Medicare for All, his bold proposals to combat the climate crisis, and his commitment to "putting people above profits," National Nurses United—the largest union of registered nurses in the U.S.—announced Tuesday morning that it is endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

"National Nurses United has endorsed Bernie Sanders because we need a president who will unite all workers to fight for social, economic, racial and gender justice, and who will champion bold ideas on workplace democracy, Medicare for All, and climate change," tweeted NNU executive director Bonnie Castillo, RN.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

‘Warped by runaway egos’: Paul Krugman scorches billionaires like Bloomberg who think America needs them to ‘save the day’

Published

on

Michael Bloomberg is seriously considering running for president as a Democrat; Tuesday, the billionaire former New York City mayor officially filed paperwork for the March 3 Democratic primary in Arkansas. Bloomberg believes that Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders are too left-of-center for 2020’s general election and that former Vice President Joe Biden, a centrist, is running a weak campaign. Liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman isn’t the least bit enthusiastic about a Bloomberg presidential run, and he stresses in his November 11 column that the last thing the U.S. needs is a billionaire coming in to “save the day.”

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image