Candidates' Policies Leave Women Conflicted

By AHMET AKDAG
On October 31, 2016

Photo courtesy of American Life League, Flickr

Women's issues have been in the forefront during this election season, receiving a large amount of press because of the candidacy of Hillary Clinton and the controversial statements made by Donald Trump.

While Trump has stated a pro-life position with limited exceptions for abortion, he has been a proponent for allowing states to determine their respective positions on abortion. Trump has also mentioned combatting sexual assault in the military, emphasizing his position on having a more effective court system in the military to deal with these cases.

“Because I am pro-life and I will be appointing pro-life judges, I would think that would go back to the individual states.” Donald Trump said during the third presidential debate regarding his choice of a Supreme Court Justice and his views on whether Roe v. Wade would be overturned.

Clinton has steadily supported the right of women to have a choice in abortions, and Planned Parenthood has continued to back Clinton since they first endorsed her during the primaries. Clinton has also talked about curbing sexual assault on college campuses, with her position explained on her official campaign website. Her three core principles include comprehensive support, a fair process and prevention efforts to end sexual assault.

“I strongly support Roe v. Wade which guarantees a constitutional right to a woman to make the most intimate, most difficult, in many cases, decisions about her health care that one can imagine,” Clinton said during the debate, regarding a woman’s right to choose.

Both canndidates have taken similar positions on child care, supporting policies to make child care more affordable for working parents - although the methods between Clinton and Trump differ.

“As far as child care is concerned and so many other things, I think Hillary and I agree on that,” Trump said in the first presidential debate regarding the candidates’ similar opinions on affordable childcare.

Trump has not clarified his position on family leave or equal pay, keeping his position vague with only a mention of keeping the U.S. competitive when discussing those topics. He responded to a question on equal pay stating that it should be based on performance.

“And we also have to make the economy fairer ... It means finally equal pay for women’s work ... [a]nd it means affordable child care and paid family leave because families are under so much stress today,” Clinton said at her rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 28 where she reiterated her stance on women rights and equality.

Clinton has also frequently criticized Trump in the process of explaining her views on policies regarding women, pointing out his “hot mic” moment and his previous statements that disparaged women to bolster her support from women voters.

In regard to support from female voters, polling shows that Clinton maintains the lead over Trump, whose attempt to reach out to women voters has been hindered by multiple controversies revealing private statements that appear to degrade women. Trump is also impeded by a growing number of women accusing him of sexual assault as well as a pending child rape case in December, though he has attempted to point out Clinton’s husband’s own reputation to minimize the damage.

However, Trump’s loss of support does not automatically translate to support of Clinton, as many women are still wary of her policy positions and her own controversies.

aakdag@ramapo.edu

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