WASHINGTON (AFP) — The National Organization for Women (NOW) said Tuesday it had been pushed by the Republicans pick of Sarah Palin as vice presidential nominee to back Democrat Barack Obama for the White House.
"NOW is going to be endorsing the Obama-Biden ticket," NOW head Kim Gandy told National Public Radio (NPR), referring to Obama and his running mate Joseph Biden.
The 500,000-strong women's movement, which "very, very rarely endorses in a general election", broke with its tradition of neutrality after "the addition of Sarah Palin gave us a new sense of urgency," said Gandy.
"She is being portrayed as a supporter of women's rights ... as a feminist when in fact her positions on so many of the issues are really anathema to ours," Gandy said.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain electrified his party's conservative base when he named Palin, a devout Christian and staunch opponent of abortion, as his running mate some two weeks ago.
The move was seen by some as an attempt by McCain to win over disappointed women voters who had backed Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, and also saw her passed over by Obama in favor of Biden.
"There's no question that a lot of women think it's a great thing for a woman to be running for vice president," Gandy said on NPR.
"But they are completely dismayed when they find out her positions.
"The idea that she opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest -- those kinds of positions are completely out of step with American women and once they find out about those positions, they get a little less excited about a woman running for vice president," Gandy said.
NOW was due to formally announce its endorsement of the Obama-Biden ticket later Tuesday at a news conference.