By: Amanda K. Fox
The upcoming presidential election in the US is markedly different from years past based on one major factor – women feel threatened. We’re not going to use buzzwords constantly like the “war on women” or tell you what to think or how to vote. We’re not even going to badmouth the candidates. What we are going to do is take a look at the Republican ticket and help lay bare in plain language what their stated policy is on women’s rights and what their history in politics is regarding the issue. Next week, we’ll review the Democratic candidates and see what their words and record reflects on the same issues.
The Republican ticket is made up of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Each has a voting record to look at as well as plenty of public statements to review which help form a picture of their stance on issues that primarily impact women. We will show the positives and negatives free of editorializing and again, you form your own decision.
Mitt Romney is pro-life and believes that life begins at conception. He is in favor of abortion under limited circumstances such as legitimate rape, incest or if the mother’s life is at risk. Romeny stated he would be delighted to sign a federal ban on all abortions in 2007, but changed his stance no less then three times since that statement. It should be noted his voting record bears out his current stance even though his public statements have swung toward the conservative and liberal side of the issue with no explanation as to why.
Paul Ryan is pro-life to the extreme conservative side making no exceptions aside from a partial-life abortion to save the mother’s life. He voted in favor of the pre-born equal protection act marking life as beginning the moment a woman begins her menstrual cycle. Ryan is opposed to federally funding any medical establishment that provides abortions other than to save a mother’s life.
Romeny has stated he was in favor of stem cell research if privately funded in 2004, but changed his stance in 2007 to a more restrictive view and again in January of 2012 to being against all stem cell research as it breaches ethical boundaries. Romney is opposed to embryo farming related to IVF procedures, or any others, but has no objection to using surplus embryos for the purpose of creating life.
Despite his pro-life stance, Romney has not challenged nor tampered with Roe v. Wade when in office, although, he did veto emergency contraception for rape victims (2005), stated he would overturn Roe v. Wade given the authority to do so (2007) and vetoed availability of RU-486 without a prescription (2007. Romney did, however, vote in favor of abortion laws in 2007 despite voicing strong opposition to them.
Paul Ryan has voted the most restrictive policies regarding reproductive rights possible with no variation since taking office as supported by a NARAL score of 0% and NRLC score of 100%. He is against stem cell research and human cloning for medical and reproductive research and he is in favor of criminalizing the transport of a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion regardless of circumstances.
Mitt Romeny is opposed to the repeal of DOMA and defines marriage as one man, one woman. He is in favor of domestic partnership benefits rather than civil unions. His stance on same sex marriage has varied greatly to either side many times, but his voting record bears out nominal support for some form of legally recognized same-sex unions despite placing a full ban on same sex unions on the Republican platform in 2005. He supported implementing annual reporting on the employment and advancement of women and minorities in 1994.
Paul Ryan is in favor of re-implementing the DADT policy in the military, banning gay adoption and repealing federal gay hate crimes laws (Aug. 2012). He is further in favor of banning ENDA (Apr. 2012), but voted in favor of it in 2007. Ryan believes in leaving decisions regarding DOMA and marriage to the individual states and making the Patriot Act permanent.
Families and Children
Romney supports abstinence only education only for children 14 and under (2012) and has stated the key to a strong country is a strong military, strong economy and strong family based on traditional marriage.
Ryan voted against four weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees (2009), yes on reducing the marriage tax and in favor of establishing the Amber Alert System nationwide. He believes a family is defined by traditional marriages only.
Welfare and Poverty
Romney supported welfare to work initiatives (1994), allowed faith based institutions to provide social services (2005), vetoed MA state studies regarding overcoming workfare (2005), vetoed $220k to support state run homelessness projects (2005). He stated his faith would inform his presidency (2010) and that he is not concerned about the very poor as they have a safety net (2012).
Paul Ryan voted yes on supporting tax breaks for religious institutions (2001), promoting work and marriage for TANF recipients (2003), and was in favor of providing $70m in Section 8 housing vouchers (2006). He has stated he is in favor of ending the federal food stamp program and substituting block grants to each state instead. Ryan is strongly in favor of deregulating and then federally subsidizing faith based charities and ending social/anti-poverty programs that dishonor human dignity.
What They Say
I could have possibly beaten Senator McCain in the primary. Then I could have been the candidate who lost to Barack Obama.
Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution. And whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.
“Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings, my friend.”
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. … My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” -Mitt Romney, in leaked comments from a fundraiser in May 2012
“Our founders got it right when they wrote in the Declaration of Independence that our rights come from nature and nature’s God, not from government.”
“Exploiting people’s emotions of fear, envy and anxiety is not hope, it’s not change, it’s partisanship. We don’t need partisanship. We don’t need demagoguery, we need solutions.”
“I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.” In reference to rape as a “method of conception”
“Rand makes the best case for the morality of democratic capitalism.” (Praising the anti-democratic Ayn Rand, who stated, “Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom.”
“I reject her [Ayn Rand's] philosophy. It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas. Don’t give me Ayn Rand.” – National Review interview, April 2012
We are well aware there are far more issues than those we have covered that are of importance to all people; the economy, health care, national defense and foreign policy to name a few. We aren’t here to delve into each one, only a handful that are of primary importance to many women. We encourage you to understand the proposed policies and real voting records of all the candidates on the full scope of issues and to use that knowledge to form an informed decision come election time.
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