03 January 2008

Iowa caucus day

I just wanted to share an interesting article I found about Mike Huckabee on the Guardian website. Huckabee is one of the leading Republican candidates, and looks set to do well in the Caucus today. However, his record on women's rights is diabolical, as Kira Cochrane describes. She points out that whilst his refusal to be drawn on whether or not women should act as ministers is not in itself a big issue, it reveals a great deal about his unwillingness to discuss issues of equality.

One of the things which worries feminists the most though, is his release of rapist Wayne Dumond, nearly 25 years early, despite having received letters from Dumond's victims begging him not to release him. Dumond went on to rape several other women and murder at least one. He died whilst awaiting trial for these crimes.

In general, I don't feel that incarcerating people for great lengths of time is necessarily an answer to anything. I genuinely believe that even the worst criminals can be rehabilitated to the extent that they are able to enjoy a relatively free life. However, what I'd really like to call Huckabee out on here is his hypocrisy. He is a man who supports jail as a punishment for wrongdoing. He is a man that supports the death penalty. Why, then, go against all of your supposed beliefs to release a man who has committed serious and violent crimes, and is likely to commit them again?

But most concerning of all is Huckabee's complete disregard for women's reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. I can't really say it better than Cochrane here;

Staunchly opposed to abortion (which he has compared to the Holocaust), one of Huckabee's first acts as governor was to block Medicaid, the health scheme for people on low incomes, from funding an abortion for a 15-year-old with learning disabilities who had been raped by her stepfather. This went directly against federal law, which requires states to fund abortions in cases of rape.

It is the sheer, unbridled cruelty of this decision that gives the lie to Huckabee's claims that he cares for the vulnerable. If there is anyone more vulnerable than a disabled teenage rape victim, I certainly can't think who it might be. Who hearts Huckabee? Only fools or misogynists.
Cochrane is right in her description of this decision as cruel. Clearly, Huckabee is unable to empathise with anyone who has a uterus. Fingers crossed that Huckabee is not the next American President!

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