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Opinion & Editorial

A Vote for Romney Means a Backslide for Women

Early in his campaign, Romney announced his abandonment of 47% of America in his cutting statement: “They believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled . . . My job is not to worry about those people.” Now America has reason to doubt Romney’s commitment to a different half of voters, women. This presidential candidate seeks to drag women’s rights back to the days of saddle shoes and poodle skirts.

Romney constantly wavers in his position on women’s reproductive rights. He’s dithered from pro-choice as governor to a no-exceptions pro-lifer in 2007 to his current cloudy position on women’s rights that many Americans have spent the last century securing.

When month-to -month updates on the status of Romney’s positions are required, one cannot ascertain his stance if he is elected. A senatorial candidate, Richard Mourdock, readily endorsed by the republican ticket,  justified his pro-life stance by saying, “I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” This is the kind of reasoning that will decide the reproductive future of American women under Romney, who stated, “I endorsed Mourdock, because he supports the Romney-Ryan agenda.” The fact that he is more concerned with passing his own legislation than having the back of women is deplorable.

Paul Ryan supported the notorious attempt of Todd Akin’s redefinition of rape.  Isn’t it comforting that our potential vice president would only recognize rape if it was “legitimate”? Romney’s plans to end Planned Parenthood have rightfully been met with unrelenting protest. Such an act would leave millions without the coverage they need. Many believe Planned Parenthood caters just to birth control and abortion needs, but contraceptive services make up only 34% of its care. This agency educates youth, provides cancer screenings and STD care, and maintains men’s sexual health. As president, Romney will continue to deprioritize and ignore what women need: freedom to choose what is best for their bodies.

Too many women can’t trust Romney. He plans to deny women power over their bodies and  eliminate an agency that serves healthcare to five million men and women worldwide. He is even unsure that a woman deserves equal pay for equal work.

Romney’s claims he will empower women and allow them to be a competitive force in the workplace, but his record doesn’t match up. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act provides women with the opportunity to sue over pay inequity. When asked about this legislation, Romney responded, “I’ll get back to you on that.” Top campaign advisor, Ed Gillespie, announced Romney was “opposed to it at the time” but wouldn’t repeal it. After receiving a national backlash on this statement, it was amended to “he never weighed in on it.” Similarly, Romney refuses to take a stance on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Romney is firm in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which equalizes the cost of health care for women and men.

In this election, it is clear who will deny women pay equality and who will trespass on reproductive rights. A woman’s right to choose is not a peripheral issue; it may even decide this election. The latest USA Today Gallup Poll says 39% of women view abortion as the most important issue, and that’s why America needs a leader that believes in this right.

Barack Obama has done much to advance women, starting with signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay act on day one. Throughout his presidency, he has passed many bills that advocate the progress of women including the Violence Against Women Act, Affordable Care Act, and Fair Pay Act. As fundamental rights are in jeopardy, women need someone upholding their voice. Mitt Romney is not that candidate. He has never fully committed himself to women, so no female should commit to him in the upcoming election.

Written by Maddie Vaziri’16


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