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Public Health New Mexico

Voices Behind The Vote: Putting Women's Issues First

Ed Williams

Sexual assault, gender equality and women’s reproductive rights have taken center stage this election season, with controversial comments by Donald Trump galvanizing some voters’ support for Hillary Clinton.

KUNM met with one of those voters at a restaurant in Santa Fe to find out why she’s supporting the Democratic presidential ticket.

"I have always been really interested in reproductive rights and reproductive health for women, and nobody's ever spoken to that," said Sheila Lewis, a retired public defender who now works on sexual assault and domestic violence issues. "It's been like the secret in the closet."

Lewis said Donald Trump's rhetoric on women's reproductive rights, and about women in general, have been disturbing.

"Abortion, and all reproductive rights—the decision whether to have birth control, the decision when to have a child—those are all the most personal decisions you can make. I don't even talk to to a politician about a root canal. Why would I talk to a politician or care what a politician believes I should do about my reproductive rights?" she asked.

Lewis says she's voting for Hillary Clinton in part because of her vocal support of women's rights. But she says she's also voting for the Democratic nominee because it will set an inspiring precedent for young women in America. 

"They don't even know what it would be like to have a woman running something," she said. "They go to colleges where their departments are run by men, they work at internships and unpaid jobs where they're sort of ordered around by men. The opportunity for young women to have other women modeling leadership for them, it's amazing."


KUNM's Public Health New Mexico project is funded by the WK Kellogg Foundation, the Con Alma Health Foundation and the McCune Charitable Foundation. Find out more at publichealthnm.org.

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