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Women's Bodies, Women's Health

Passing of a Heroine: Julia Carson (1938-2007)

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Rep. Julia Carson (D-IN) has died of lung cancer at the age of 69.  She was the daughter of a single mom who made her living cleaning houses, graduating from a segregated high school in 1959.  Married briefly, Carson went on to raise her own two children as a single mom.  She was working as a secretary for the United Auto Workers when Rep. Andy Jacobs asked her to go along with him to his office in Washington D.C.   Later, Jacobs urged her to run for public office herself and she did, serving 20 years in the Indiana General Assembly, then several years as Center Township Trustee, where within six years, she turned a $20 million debt into a $6 million surplus.   In 1996 she was elected to Congress where she served until the time of her death, despite health problems which included diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure.

She never forgot what it was to be poor or to be single mom.  She fought tirelessly for the human and civil rights of women, the poor, the homeless, persons of color.  She was a staunch opponent of the war in Iraq which she referred to as an act of U.S.  aggression and greed. 

Consider highlights I’ve selected from her Congressional voting record:

  • Voted NO on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
  • Voted NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004)
  • Voted NO on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life. (Oct 2003)
  • Voted NO on funding for health providers who don’t provide abortion info. (Sep 2002)
  • Voted NO on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
  • Voted NO on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes. (Apr 2001)
  • Voted NO on banning partial-birth abortions. (Apr 2000)
  • Voted NO on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999)
  • Recommended by EMILY’s List of pro-choice women. (Apr 2001)
  • Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record. (Dec 2003) 
  • Voted NO on restricting bankruptcy rules. (Jan 2004)
  • Get minorities into home ownership & global marketplace. (Jan 2001)
  • Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Jul 2006)
  • Voted NO on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
  • Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
  • Voted NO on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance. (Sep 2004)
  • Voted NO on constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration. (Jun 2003)
  • Voted NO on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)
  • Voted NO on ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions. (May 1998)
  • Ending racial profiling is part of fight for justice. (Jan 2001)
  • Constitutional Amendment for equal rights by gender. (Mar 2001)
  • Supported legislation on violence against women & safety. (Jul 1999)
  • Supported funding for women’s and disadvantaged businesses. (Jul 1999) 
  • Voted YES on allowing stockholder voting on executive compensation. (Apr 2007)
  • Voted NO on replacing illegal export tax breaks with $140B in new breaks. (Jun 2004)
  • Voted NO on Bankruptcy Overhaul requiring partial debt repayment. (Mar 2001)
  • Voted YES on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons. (Jun 2000)
  • Moratorium on death penalty; more DNA testing. (Mar 2001)
  • More funding and stricter sentencing for hate crimes. (Apr 2001)
  • Require DNA testing for all federal executions. (Mar 2001)
  • Voted NO on military border patrols to battle drugs & terrorism. (Sep 2001)
  • Voted NO on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests. (Sep 1998)
  • Legalize medical marijuana. (Jul 2001) 
  • Voted YES on criminalizing oil cartels like OPEC. (May 2007)
  • Voted YES on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted YES on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on scheduling permitting for new oil refinieries. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on authorizing construction of new oil refineries. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted NO on implementing Bush-Cheney national energy policy. (Nov 2003)
  • Voted NO on raising CAFE standards; incentives for alternative fuels. (Aug 2001)
  • Voted YES on prohibiting oil drilling & development in ANWR. (Aug 2001)
  • Voted YES on starting implementation of Kyoto Protocol. (Jun 2000)
  • Regulate wholesale electricity & gas prices. (Mar 2001)
  • Preserve Alaska’s ANWR instead of drilling it. (Feb 2001)
  • Voted YES on increasing AMTRAK funding by adding $214M to $900M. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted YES on barring website promoting Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. (May 2006)
  • Voted NO on deauthorizing “critical habitat” for endangered species. (Sep 2005)
  • Voted NO on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects. (Nov 2003)
  • Supported funding child care, child health, & child housing. (Jul 1999)
  • Voted NO on reforming the UN by restricting US funding. (Jun 2005)
  • Voted YES on keeping Cuba travel ban until political prisoners released. (Jul 2001)
  • Voted NO on withholding $244M in UN Back Payments until US seat restored. (May 2001)
  • Voted YES on $156M to IMF for 3rd-world debt reduction. (Jul 2000)
  • Voted YES on Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. (May 2000)
  • Voted YES on $15.2 billion for foreign operations. (Nov 1999)
  • Multi-year commitment to Africa for food & medicine. (Apr 2001)
  • Double funding for the Peace Corps to $550M. (Mar 2002)
  • Voted NO on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade. (Jul 2005)
  • Voted NO on implementing US-Singapore free trade agreement. (Jul 2003)
  • Voted NO on implementing free trade agreement with Chile. (Jul 2003)
  • Voted NO on ‘Fast Track’ authority for trade agreements. (Sep 1998)
  • No MFN for China; condition trade on human rights. (Nov 1999)
  • Voted YES on requiring lobbyist disclosure of bundled donations. (May 2007)
  • Voted YES on granting Washington DC an Electoral vote & vote in Congress. (Apr 2007)
  • Voted YES on protecting whistleblowers from employer recrimination. (Mar 2007)
  • Voted NO on requiring photo ID for voting in federal elections. (Sep 2006)
  • Voted NO on restricting independent grassroots political committees. (Apr 2006)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits about obesity against food providers. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted NO on limiting attorney’s fees in class action lawsuits. (Feb 2005)
  • Voted NO on restricting frivolous lawsuits. (Sep 2004)
  • Voted YES on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions. (Feb 2002)
  • Voted NO on banning soft money donations to national political parties. (Jul 2001)
    Voted YES on banning soft money and issue ads. (Sep 1999)
  • Election reform is #1 priority to prevent disenfranchisement. (Jan 2001)
  • Allow same-day voter registration on election day. (Jan 2001)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse. (Apr 2003)
  • Voted NO on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1. (Jun 1999)
  • Voted YES on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted NO on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare co-pay. (Feb 2006)
  • Voted NO on limiting medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000 damages. (May 2004)
  • Voted NO on limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. (Nov 2003)
  • Voted YES on allowing reimportation of prescription drugs. (Jul 2003)
  • Voted NO on capping damages & setting time limits in medical lawsuits. (Mar 2003)
  • Voted NO on allowing suing HMOs, but under federal rules & limited award. (Aug 2001)
  • Voted NO on subsidize private insurance for Medicare Rx drug coverage. (Jun 2000)
  • Voted NO on banning physician-assisted suicide. (Oct 1999)
  • Increase funding for AIDS treatment & prevention. (Jan 2001)
  • More funding for Rx benefits, community health, CHIPs. (Jan 2001)
  • MEDS Plan: Cover senior Rx under Medicare. (Jan 2001)
  • Make health care a right, not a privilege. (Nov 1999)
  • Supported funding women’s health needs. (Jul 1999)
  • Supported funding older women’s health. (Jul 1999)
  • Supported funding Prenatal and Postpartum Care. (Jul 1999)
  • Supported funding Family and Children’s Coverage. (Jul 1999)
  • Voted YES on restricting no-bid defense contracts. (Mar 2007)
  • Voted NO on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant. (Sep 2006)
  • Voted NO on federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists. (Feb 2005)
  • Voted NO on adopting the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. (Oct 2004)
  • Voted NO on permitting commercial airline pilots to carry guns. (Jul 2002)
  • Rated 89% by SANE, indicating a pro-peace voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Recognize women veterans; assist military families. (Jul 1999)
  • Voted NO on building a fence along the Mexican border. (Sep 2006)
  • Voted NO on preventing tipping off Mexicans about Minuteman Project. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment. (May 2004)
  • Voted YES on extending Immigrant Residency rules. (May 2001)
  • Voted YES on restricting employer interference in union organizing. (Mar 2007)
  • Voted YES on increasing minimum wage to $7.25. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted NO on end offshore tax havens and promote small business. (Oct 2004)
  • Voted YES on $167B over 10 years for farm price supports. (Oct 2001)
  • Voted NO on zero-funding OSHA’s Ergonomics Rules instead of $4.5B. (Mar 2001)
  • Voted YES on raising 401(k) limits & making pension plans more portable. (May 2001)
  • Voted NO on reducing tax payments on Social Security benefits. (Jul 2000)
  • Voted YES on strengthening the Social Security Lockbox. (May 1999)
  • Rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Supported pension reform and tax credits for long-term care. (Jul 1999)
  • Voted YES on establishing “network neutrality” (non-tiered Internet). (Jun 2006)
  • Voted YES on increasing fines for indecent broadcasting. (Feb 2005)
  • Voted NO on promoting commercial human space flight industry. (Nov 2004)
  • Voted YES on banning Internet gambling by credit card. (Jun 2003)
  • Voted YES on allowing telephone monopolies to offer Internet access. (Feb 2002)
  • Close digital divide with high-tech training. (Jan 2001)
  • Criminal penalties for e-mail spamming. (Feb 2001)
  • Voted YES on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days. (May 2007)
  • Voted NO on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on authorizing military force in Iraq. (Oct 2002)
  • Voted NO on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo. (May 1999)
  • Condemns anti-Muslim bigotry in name of anti-terrorism. (Oct 2001)
  • Voted YES on providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on promoting work and marriage among TANF recipients. (Feb 2003)
  • Voted NO on treating religious organizations equally for tax breaks. (Jul 2001)
  • Voted YES on responsible fatherhood via faith-based organizations. (Nov 1999)
  • Reduce the concentration of wealth & wage inequality. (Nov 1999) 

Carson was beloved of her constituents.  She care about them and she cared about justice.   What might the U.S. look  like had Congress been composed of women like her?   How might things be different had Julia Carson been President of the United States?

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Passing of a Heroine: Julia Carson (1938-2007)

  1. She will be missed. She was one of the very few members of Congress who was from a real working class background, particularly from a pink collar background. I certainly think it gave her a lot of perspective.

    Posted by Metal Prophet | December 17, 2007, 9:26 pm
  2. You’d be surprised at the number of congress people who come from working class backgrounds. More than you’d ever think!

    Posted by Satsuma | December 18, 2007, 12:31 am

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