Senator Gravel may not be a "front-runner" for the reality-show-we-call-the-2008-presidential-election. In fact, in the July 23rd CNN/YouTube debate, Gravel complained he was not given enough air time. But how do you not love a guy who holds such an unwavering commitment to women's rights?
From his stance on the right to legal abortion to his advocacy on behalf of same-sex marriage and adoption, Senator Gravel models the consistent, authoritative position we'd all like to see the candidates take on women's rights.
Reproductive health for women and men may not be central to his political life or his current campaign, but Mike Gravel clearly holds a progressive stance on most of these issues.
During his twelve-year tenure as Senator for Alaska, Gravel voted for pro-choice legislation 100% of the time – when he was not absent from voting.
What follows is a statement we received from the Gravel campaign on Senator Gravel's position on women's health and rights:
Senator Gravel understands that there are many reasons why a woman might choose to have an abortion; rape, birth defects, accidental pregnancy, threat to her health. His position is that any discussion on abortion should not be based solely on ethics, but rather, the proper role of government when it comes to a women's body and her health.
He issued the following statement on the recent Supreme Court decision limiting a woman's reproductive rights:
"I am opposed to today's ruling that places restrictions on reproductive freedom. Today's decision authorizes federal intervention to prohibit a procedure that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has found at times to be medically necessary. Any decision on abortion should remain between a woman and her doctor. There is no room for interference from politicians and judges."
Senator Gravel believes that supporting reproductive rights is to embrace a "pro-life" position. A woman's right to terminate her pregnancy stems from the fact that she has a right to her life and to do with it as she sees fit.
In supporting women's rights in society, the Senator has always felt that war is a sexist institution. It is estimated that 90% of all war casualties this century are civilian men, women and children. The culture of war perpetuates violence in society, which in turn results in violence towards women. One need only look at the rise in domestic violence cases towards women in time of war to know that violence in the battlefield comes home.
By supporting women's rights, Senator Gravel firmly supports women's rights to love and marry as they choose. He unequivocally supports same-sex marriage and adoption and opposes the Defense of Marriage Act. He also strongly opposes the military's 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' legislation on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, as it restricts the rights of gay men and women. As President, he will issue an executive apology to all service members excused from military duty on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Editor's note: In an effort to feature blog posts from all of the major 2008 presidential campaigns over the next several months, RH Reality Check is extending invitations to all candidates to contribute an article or a statement to our Election 2008 coverage.