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Election 2012: Two Visions—Women’s Rights Are at Stake

Oct. 31, 2012
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One of the most striking differences between Barack Obama and the Democratic Party on one hand, and Mitt Romney and the Republicans on the other, is the amount of respect they have for women.

Let’s start with Obama and his fellow Democrats:

  • The first bill Obama signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for those who face discrimination in the workplace to sue their employers.
  • The Affordable Care Act ends the gender penalty so that private insurance companies may no longer charge women more for insurance coverage simply because they are women. Even better? Routine preventative procedures and medications—including common cancer screenings, yearly mammograms and birth control—are now offered without co-pays.
  • Obama and his fellow Democrats believe that rape is rape. It’s not a gift from God, it’s not “so easy,” another “method of conception” or “legitimate,” it’s not something that should be defined down and diminished in any way. It’s a criminal act and must be condemned.
  • Obama believes that a woman has a right to choose whether or not she carries a pregnancy to term. Abortion is always a last resort but it should be her choice. She should not have to jump through any hoops, undergo invasive tests or be treated as if she is a sinner. Same goes with birth control. Her decision if or when to use it should be hers—not her employer’s or a politician’s.
  • Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their fellow Democrats have fought vigorously against domestic violence, including Biden’s leadership on the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Obama has also made combating violence against women a priority in his foreign policy.

But these gains could be totally undone if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win election and their fellow Republicans take over Congress. They’ve vowed to repeal the ACA, which means that its important consumer protections for women would vanish. They’d also allow employers to make decisions about birth control in their insurance policy, which is a huge violation of trust and privacy.

And Romney and Ryan would both like to overturn Roe v. Wade and make most if not all abortions illegal. Ryan’s views on abortion are so extreme that he introduced a “personhood” bill, which would give fertilized eggs constitutional rights that would trump an adult woman’s constitutional rights. It would also jeopardize many types of birth control, in-vitro fertilization and embryonic stem cell research. Ryan’s “personhood” idea is so extreme that voters in Mississippi opposed it when it was on the ballot last year.

Then there’s rape. It’s hard to believe that in the United States in 2012 we are debating whether or not rape is a bad thing. But Republican elected officials and candidates around the country somehow cannot admit that rape is a crime that must be punished—and that rape victims should be treated with compassion. But this is what happens when the radical right wing takes hold of the Republican Party. Therefore, Romney is unable to criticize GOP candidates who hold extreme, anti-woman views on rape. And neither can the running mate he chose, Paul Ryan, because he’s about as extreme as Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock and Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin. None of these men have a clue when it comes to violence against women. If there were candidates from the Republican party of 40 years ago running today, we would be having a very different and much more enlightened discussion. 

The scariest part of all this is that these extremists could end up in control of both the White House and Congress. Do not let that happen. Vote for Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats on Nov. 6.




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