John Kerry Nomination: Will the New Secretary Of State Be Able to Do What Hillary Clinton Did For Women's Health?

Replacing Hillary Clinton as secretary of state is no joke. Currently, Clinton is polling so well that many suspect that she is gearing up to run for the presidency in 2016. Former presidential candidate John Kerry has a lot to do to catch up besides just padding his résumé with frequent flyer miles, particularly when it comes to women's rights.

In a press release on Tuesday, Planned Parenthood praised Hillary Clinton for her outstanding record on women's rights, stating "Senator Kerry, a longtime supporter of women’s health and empowerment in his own right, has a tough act to follow."

Among Clinton's achievements, according to Planned Parenthood?

During Sec. Clinton’s tenure, the Obama administration:

- Made women’s health a central focus of U.S. global health programs and investments.

- Created the first-ever Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues.

- Expanded policies to promote gender equity and eliminate gender-based violence, created a strategy to address gender-based violence globally and released a U.S. policy on gender.

- Launched a new strategy to leverage women as “Agents of Peace.”

- Issued a presidential memorandum to promote the human rights of LGBT persons worldwide.

- Improved integration of HIV and reproductive health in U.S.-supported development efforts and released the PEPFAR Blueprint: Creating an AIDS-free Generation.

And who could forget Clinton's stirring remarks on women's rights around the world? Actually, anyone probably could, because she's made quite a few.


John Kerry's voting record has earned him a 100% approval rating from NARAL Pro Choice America. Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards congratulated Kerry on his nomination for secretary of state, saying “Secretary Clinton has made incredible strides in promoting the well-being of women and girls and gender equality as a central element of U.S. foreign policy, and has left a clear framework for how to continue this leadership. We know that Senator Kerry will continue this legacy, and we stand ready to work with him to expand access to reproductive health globally, improve the implementation of global health programs, and increase America’s leadership on reproductive rights in the international arena.”

But it remains to be seen if Kerry's reproductive rights and health care advocacy will be enough to stand up to Clinton's aura of cool and continued support for women's health.

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Sam Meier

Samantha Meier serves as the Identities editor at PolicyMic, where she writes on activism, gender, and new media. Sam was profiled in the New York Times for co-founding Sex Week at Harvard, and is currently working on a book about women and underground comix. Originally from Flagstaff, Arizona, she currently lives in New York.

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