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It’s Nearly September ... Do You Know Where Your Candidate Stands on Women’s Issues?

Moms Talk gets political

Today I’m taking a break from fretting about carpools, kids’ squabbles, what’s for dinner, dentist appointments, and "my time" to get political. Do Los Gatos moms know where the Democratic and Republican “presumptive nominees” for POTUS stand on issues affecting women? (Of course, there are many issues that affect women, men, and children of both sexes, so perhaps Moms Talk Gets Political will be a three-part series … but we’ll start with the more women-specific issues.)

From President Obama’s homepage you can click on his issues pages and find two that speak specifically about women’s issues: “Women’s Health” and “Equal Rights.” 

Here are a few factoids about the president’s positions on women’s issues:

  • The first bill President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to file an equal-pay lawsuit. (According to the president’s website and other sources, women still earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns for the same work.)
  • President Obama also established the Equal Pay Task Force and supports the Paycheck Fairness Act.
  • President Obama created the White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that policy-makers consider the needs of girls and women in developing programs and setting policies.
  • The president also worked to protect victims of domestic violence and reduce violence against women, including increasing funding to strengthen the Violence Against Women Act.
  • He reversed the global gag rule, ending the ban on government aid for international groups that provide abortion information.
  • He fought against Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood.

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) contains these provisions specifically relating to women:

  • Insurance companies will no longer be able to make women pay more for health insurance -- previously women had to pay as much as 150% more for health insurance than men.
  • New health insurance plans will cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, mammograms, birth control pills, and screenings without copays or deductibles.
  • Women will receive insurance rebates if their provider doesn’t use at least 80% of their premiums for patient care.

Governor Romney’s website describes his views on abortion on the “Values” page:

  • Governor Romney believes that life begins at conception.
  • He believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned by the Supreme Court.
  • Governor Romney supports the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions.
  • He has pledged to end federal funding for “abortion advocates” like Planned Parenthood.

His “Health Care” page states:

  • A primary goal of Governor Romney’s is to repeal ACA.
  • The outline of the governor's health care plan includes giving states control of health insurance regulations and promoting free markets in the health care system — and says nothing specifically about women’s health issues.

Beyond abortion, you need to dig a bit to find where he stands on women’s issues … if you Google “Mitt Romney’s views on women’s issues” you get lots of blogs and articles perhaps written by people who don’t like him, and find out things like:

  • He supported the Blunt amendment, which would have allowed any employer the right to deny health insurance coverage for any benefit based on a “moral” conviction.

(From the Planned Parenthood Action Fund site.)

  • He has taken no position on the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act, though he said he had no “intention of changing that law.”
  • Governor Romney supported a budget passed by the Republican House that would have cut childcare and reduced food and health care assistance for 20 million children.
  • In 2005, he vetoed a bill requiring hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
  • He has vowed to eliminate Title X, the federal family planning program that provides family planning and screenings for breast and ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, and similar programs for five million women.

(From Rolling Stone Politics.)

A site that seems to be pro-Romney has this information on his stance on women’s issues:

  • As governor, Romney vetoed the emergency contraception bill that would have required hospitals to offer the morning-after pill to rape victims. 
  • In the 1994 senate race, he said he was against funding for abortion, "except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother's health." And he supported parental-consent laws, opposed taxpayer-funded abortion or mandatory abortion coverage under a national health insurance plan and was against the Freedom of Choice Act.
  • In 1993, as a leader in his church, Romney agreed to make “significant” changes suggested by progressive Mormon women — such as letting women speak in church, after the men.

There you have it, everything you always wanted to know — or at least a tiny bit of what you might want to know — about the presidential candidates’ positions on women’s issues.

Do you know more about the candidates' views on women's issues? Please share!

Erica Goss August 28, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Thank you, Dyan, for this list.
Dyan Chan August 29, 2012 at 04:02 PM
You're welcome, Erica. I hope folks will post more info or raise questions. It's hard to get educated about all the issues ...
Dyan Chan August 29, 2012 at 06:07 PM
A few tidbits on women's issues, from the 2012 Republican platform: Page 33: --Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well- being of women, and we stand firmly against it. Page 34: --We oppose the FDA approval of Mifeprex, formerly known as RU-486. --No healthcare professional or organization should ever be required to perform, provide for, withhold, or refer for a medical service against their conscience. I haven't read the whole 62-page document, so if you find more on women's issues, please post! http://www.scribd.com/doc/104221532/2012-Gop-Platform
Randy VanderHeyden August 30, 2012 at 12:44 AM
I found this from Kay Bailey Hutchison on cnn.com. http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/27/opinion/hutchison-womens-issues/index.html Also, this article and indeed the site might be interesting to some of you. http://www.4thestate.net/men-are-telling-the-stories-of-election-2012/
Dyan Chan August 30, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Thank you for commenting, Randy. Will check out those links!
Dyan Chan August 30, 2012 at 03:26 AM
It sounds like Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has done some good work on women's issues by strengthening protections for rape victims, as well as her joint sponsorships of the homemaker IRA and early detection for breast and cervical cancer program with Sen. Barbara Mikulski. Are there similar examples of women-friendly legislation from Republican congressmen? Anyone know how many Republican women and Democratic women are in the Congress?
Maaliea Wilbur August 30, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Thanks for shedding light on this important topic. It can be hard to pause the everyday grind and spend some time looking in to it...
Dyan Chan August 30, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Thank you, Maaliea. It is hard to get educated on the various issues! It could really be a full-time job! Unfortunately, there's also lots of biased, not always truthful information out there.
Randy VanderHeyden September 12, 2012 at 01:21 AM
This is sort of off topic since it's not about politics, but then again maybe not if you have boys or a man in your life. It's an editorial called "Why Men Fail". There's some startling statistics in it, like "In elementary and high school, male academic performance is lagging. Boys earn three-quarters of the D’s and F’s." And; "In 1954, 96 percent of the American men between the ages of 25 and 54 worked. Today, that number is down to 80 percent. In Friday’s jobs report, male labor force participation reached an all-time low." http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/opinion/brooks-why-men-fail.html?_r=1&ref=opinion
Dyan Chan September 12, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Thank you for posting that, Randy.
Dyan Chan September 14, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Here's a tidbit for you -- Sheldon Adelson has pledged to donate up to $100M to the Romney campaign, and perhaps coincidentally, he could get a $2B (yes, that's a B) tax cut if Romney wins. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/sheldon-adelson-2-billion-tax-cut-mitt-romney_n_1873683.html
Dyan Chan September 18, 2012 at 04:01 AM
And another! Romney thinks people who will vote for President Obama believe that they are victims and that the government has a responsibility to care for them. Oh, and he also says they pay no income tax. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/secret-video-romney-private-fundraiser
Dyan Chan October 02, 2012 at 05:08 AM
Here's a graphic on women's healthcare recently posted by the Obama campaign https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/252941254906769408/photo/1

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