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Miss USA refuses to call herself a feminist and insists healthcare is 'a privilege not a right'

Her opinions have divided people online.

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THE WINNER OF the Miss USA pageant has sparked fierce debate online for refusing to call herself a feminist and saying that healthcare is a privilege and not a right.

Kate McCullough, a scientist working for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, won the contest last night saying she wanted to inspire children to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

But it was her comments in the question and answer section of the pageant that have created the most headlines.

As President Donald Trump and other Republican lawmakers attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which provides health insurance for millions of lower paid Americans, McCullogh was asked about healthcare.

The District of Columbia contestant was asked whether she thinks that affordable health care for all US citizens is a right or a privilege. She said it is a privilege.

“As a government employee, I’m granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs,” McCullough said.

This year’s top five finalists were asked questions that touched on the pros and cons of social media, women’s rights and issues affecting teenagers.

In another question, McCullough declined to identify herself as a feminist saying that she believes in “equalism”.

“I don’t really want to consider myself – I try not to consider myself like this die-hard, you know, like, ‘Oh, I don’t really care about men’, but one thing I want to say is us women we are really equal to men in terms of opportunities,” she said

McCullough was born in Naples, Italy, and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her win means she will represent the US at the Miss Universe contest.

Miss USA Miss USA pageant winner Kara McCullough. Source: John Locher/PA Images

“I love science,” McCullough said after the Sunday event in Las Vegas.

I look at this as a great opportunity to … get to experience worldwide culture, as well as just having the opportunity to be impacted by so many children, hopefully in the math and sciences.

The contestants’ remarks contrast with the controversy that surrounded the pageant in 2015, when then-part owner and now US President Donald Trump offended Hispanics when he made anti-immigrant remarks in announcing his bid for the White House.

Trump co-owned The Miss Universe Organisation with NBC Universal, but the network and the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision quickly cut ties with him, refusing to air the show.

Trump sued both networks, eventually settling and selling the pageant to talent management company WME/IMG.

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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