Wednesday, August 8, 2012
It's Not Just the Economy, Stupid...The Take on Women's Rights (August 8, 2012)
Today’s guest blogger is my wife, Wendy, who is very active in volunteer activities for women’s rights (serving on two boards); she also works with underprivileged children. Her post is a wake-up call to all who view the election as only as driven by economics. From her perspective, the social issue choices are even starker, and the consequences potentially greater, than the economic ones.
The economy dominates our headlines and surely Obama and Romney would each steer the economic tiller differently. But make no mistake, which lever you pull in November will affect far more than your pocketbooks -- and for decades to come. On the subject of women’s reproductive rights, this election has the potential either to turn back the clock to the early 70s, or continue to help women to inch forward. Young women of reproductive age – and their partners – have never lived in a time without access to birth control and abortion so they may take for granted rights which didn’t exist a mere 40 years ago. But these rights are under siege right now. This is a call for everyone to take notice and to advocate for candidates, local and national, who will protect women’s health. And make no mistake, family planning is critical to women achieving equality in the workplace and it’s critical to those who live below the poverty level. It seems to me that the people who would deny young women federal funding for birth control are often the same people who oppose the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens. Before we’re too quick to critique people for not pulling themselves up by the bootstraps, I think everyone should spend some time at a school like Children’s Village where Tom and I mentor teens who have been abandoned or abused by their families – many of whom are already fathers themselves; they don’t have any bootstraps to pull up, they don’t even have any boots.
Romney has pledged to rescind the Affordable Health Care Act on day one of his presidency. This would eliminate the requirement for insurance companies to provide birth control without co-pays, it would allow insurance companies to deny coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions such as breast cancer or pregnancy, and it would rescind health care coverage for 12.8 million women of child-bearing age. Romney has supported “personhood efforts” which would ban some common forms of contraception as well as in vitro fertilization. Romney has pledged to get rid of Planned Parenthood, a goal he’d presumably pursue by eliminating federal funding for the services this agency provides: cancer screenings, prenatal care, contraception, STD testing. And of course, Romney has stated that he opposes the right to abortion. If you’re feeling pretty comfortable that Roe v. Wade will never be overturned, just ask yourself who Romney will appoint to the Supreme Court.
If you don’t like reading a lot of words, take a look at this 30 second youtube clip. My only gripe with the video is that it says, “Mitt Romney is wrong for women.” Yes. But he’s also wrong for men: we’re all diminished, men and women, when we deny rights to an entire class of people.
That’s my rant. If you agree, I hope you’ll get out there and start advocating. If you’re not sure, I hope you’ll think about it.
Please pass this link around!