Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton, is the real feminist candidate for US president

Planned Parenthood has endorsed Clinton, but Sanders would transform the lives of American women

 

Women’s health provider Planned Parenthood has announced it will officially endorse Hillary Clinton in the United States presidential race, according to the Washington Post.

The move will be the first time the organisation has endorsed a candidate for president in its 100-year history, and comes amid a storm of threats and abuse towards PP from the Republican party.

Cecile Richards, president of PP, which provides women’s health services, including cancer screenings, birth control, and abortions, said:

“Let’s be clear — reproductive rights and health are on the ballot in 2016.

We’re proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

No other candidate in our nation’s history has demonstrated such a strong commitment to women or such a clear record on behalf of women’s health and rights.”

However, there is another candidate running for president offering a better set of policies for American women – Clinton’s rival for the Democratic Party nomination, Bernie Sanders.

While Clinton has promised to defend PP from Republican efforts to cut its funding and trash its reputation, Sanders has pledged to expand and increase its funding. He has also promised to only nominate supreme court judges who support the historic Roe v Wade decision on abortion and support women’s reproductive rights.

Beyond that, compare Clinton and Sanders’s policies on pay. Clinton has said she will ‘work to increase the federal minimum wage’, while Sanders is committed to a national living wage of $15 per hour, the equivalent of over £10, by 2020.

While both support passing the Paycheck Fairness Act to close the gender pay gap, Sanders’s national living wage will disproportionately help women workers. He would also raise the minimum wage for workers who rely on tips to $15 per hour by 2023.

In contrast with Clinton’s vague platform, Sanders has made specific commitments on paid parental leave (12 weeks minimum) and providing quality childcare ‘to every American, regardless of income’.

Crucially, Sanders is for free higher education and a free ‘single-payer’ health service along the lines of the British NHS – both policies that would transform the lives of American women.

Planned Parenthood’s decision to endorse Hillary Clinton is understandable given the immense pressure they are under from the Republican party. Funding for PP has been cut in several states by Republican governors, with the party looking to replicate this at the federal level. PP clinics have been the subject of terrorist attacks, and a high profile campaign of defamation has seen Republican presidential candidates take up wild and hysterical positions against PP.

Clinton has made a point of denouncing these attacks and defending Planned Parenthood, for which the organisation is no doubt grateful. Beyond that, PP may have simply concluded that Hillary Clinton has a better chance of beating the Republicans for the presidency in November, (both cases made compellingly by feminist writer Katha Pollitt in The Nation).

But for the reasons above (and others), feminist writers Amber A’Lee Frost in The Baffler and Liza Featherstone in The Nation have argued, persuasively, that Bernie Sanders is the real ‘women’s candidate’ in this election.

Adam Barnett is a freelance journalist and former staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.