Women’s Rights: How Does the GOP Still Have Supporters?

Posted: August 30, 2012 in Multiculturalism/Social Justice, Politics

While there are a number of vital issues involved in this upcoming election, it is surprising to me how many people are still so strongly against the concept of human rights. GOP members have shown a recent interest on limiting or eliminating the rights of women. Arizona voted to allow doctors to have the right to withhold information from expecting mothers about possible birth defects in order to prevent women from seeking abortion. Mississippi voted to criminalize abortion as murder. Topeka, Kansas lacks provisions for domestic violence that make it non-criminal. Now GOP candidates are saying that women have fewer rights than virtually everyone else.

The first is equal pay. Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker already repealed the his state’s version of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which protects women to earn the same pay as men. Romney already expressed his support of Pete Hoekstra, who called equal pay for women “a nuisance.” Now Paul Ryan as the VP candidate has solidified the GOP as the party that believes women are inferior to men. He has voted on numerous occasions against equal pay, including Obama’s first national bill, which happened to be the Lilly Ledbetter Act.

Next up is health care. Insurance companies are currently prohibited from gender-based discrepancies in their pricing and access. This is all supported by the Affordable Care Act. Paul Ryan is a strong opposer of the ACA, which is just the start of his issues with women’s health care. The most prevalent issue at the moment surrounds women’s rights for life versus choice. Rape is something that is truly a serious matter and causes a significant amount of trauma. One would think that a woman who may have fallen victim to such an attack would have the right to abort the child for both her physical and emotional health. The GOP has decided that not to be the case. Todd Akin, representative from Missouri, came out on record that he believes that a woman’s body has defenses that will protect a woman in the event a “legitimate rape” to prevent pregnancy. His comments also imply that he believes a woman who would become pregnant would not be a true victim of rape because they were accepting of inception.

Honestly that thought is horrible enough, but VP candidate Paul Ryan added a little extra fire to the flame with a combination of his support for HR 358, support for the Protect Life Act and lack of support for Planned Parenthood. HR 358 is a policy that would essentially cut off support for women seeking an abortion anywhere, regardless of her physical condition. Known as the “Let Women Die Bill,” even a woman who is in trauma due to her pregnancy could be denied treatment by anyone for any reason. Add to that the Protect Life Act, which is both the opposite and the same as HR 358. This act allows doctors power to make decisions about human life, including the denial of abortion care. Though only a small portion of Planned Parenthood involves abortion care, he believes that they are undeserving of any federal funding, including the support of basic women’s health care. In the end, Ryan supports the rights of an unborn fetus more than the mother.

There are a number of issues that Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan may have good discourse on, but the issues listed above should be clearly in favor of the incumbents. Anyone who supports equal rights and even the women of the GOP should be appalled by the stances of some of the GOP’s significant leaders. Though I am skeptical about Romney’s business record, he may have some ideas that would be beneficial to listen to regarding ways to support the economy. To be honest though, I still struggle with Romney’s failure to stick to a position and Ryan serving as his significantly polarizing running mate. This should be an interesting next couple of months.

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