WHERE THE CANDIDATES STAND ON SOCIAL ISSUES. The political battle for America's middle class is being waged in large measure over such concerns as child care, equity for women, abortion, and civil rights. Last in a series on the issues of '88. DUKAKIS
`HE'S on their side, I'm on your side.'' Michael Dukakis claims working-class Americans as his constituency. Their values of ``fairness and compassion'' are his values, he says. One of the great needs of working Americans, Governor Dukakis says, is affordable child care. ``As president, my goal will be to make quality, affordable day care available by the end of this century, to every family that needs it,'' he pledges.
As president, Mr. Dukakis would form a coalition of labor, industry, business, and education to establish a national day-care plan. He would also form a new Office of Child Care and would support, in principle, the Act for Better Childcare (ABC), a $2.5 billion package sponsored by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D) of Connecticut.
The governor's child-care plan would include federal incentives in support of quality standards for all 50 states, increased education and training for child-care workers, and efforts to provide adequate compensation for such workers.
On other major social issues, Dukakis has taken the following positions.
Civil rights. Dukakis says he would use affirmative action as a remedy for ``overcoming past effects'' of race and gender discrimination.
He also pledges to:
``Vigorously'' enforce civil rights laws.
Support minority-business set-asides.
Appoint more judges from the pool of qualified minority lawyers.
Create full employment, including both urban centers and rural communities, through a Fund to Rebuild America.
Women's issues. Dukakis pledges to fight for an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
Dukakis strongly supports a woman's right to choose to have an abortion. ``A choice that personal must be made by the woman herself in the exercise of her own conscience and religious beliefs,'' he asserts. He supports Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's decision legalizing abortion, and federal funding, ``where essential,'' to ensure that poor women have the same power of choice.
Dukakis says that, as president, he would support pay-equity programs like the one he initiated in Massachusetts, which upgraded female-dominated job classifications for state employees.
AIDS. Dukakis wants to bolster education about the AIDS virus. He supports efforts of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts to increase funding for research and education to more than $1 billion this year. Dukakis also says that creative options must be found to distribute the cost burden of caring for AIDS patients among insurances companies, health-care providers, and federal, state, and local governments.
He favors expanded drug treatment for intravenous drug users, who represent the primary AIDS link to the heterosexual population, and whose children are the majority of cases of babies with AIDS. The governor supports mandatory testing at blood, sperm, and organ-donor banks, in the military service, and of immigrants from countries with high a incidence of AIDS.
School prayer. Dukakis opposes mandating prayer at school.