Top Ten Ways the Romney/Ryan Ticket is Wrong for Women
For my appearance on MSNBC today, here is a press release from August 28th on the Top Ten Ways the Romney Ryan Ticket is wrong for women.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
Top Ten Ways the Romney/Ryan Ticket Is Bad
on Issues Affecting Women
August 28, 2012
During the last two years the Republicans have conducted an unrelenting attack on women’s basic rights. Right-wing Republicans have threatened to slash programs that help women, erode hard-fought policies like Title IX which guarantees equality in sports education, and dismantle programs that provide family planning funding. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have made clear that they will lead the attacks if they are elected in November. As a result, reproductive freedom, workplace equality, programs to prevent violence against women and a host of other programs and policies will be in jeopardy if they prevail. Here are the top ten ways in which the Republican ticket is bad for women.
Romney has refused to say whether he would have signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act or to take a position on the Paycheck Fairness Act. His running mate Ryan, however, could not be clearer – he voted against Lily Ledbetter and the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2009.
Romney has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “on Day One” of his Presidency, stripping health care from 19 million American women who are covered because of the ACA.
The ACA ends blatant discrimination by insurance companies, who, through the process of “gender rating,” charge women an extra billion dollars every year. In states that have not outlawed gender rating, 92% of insurance plans charge women more than men.
The ACA requires maternal health coverage in all insurance plans. Currently 62% of all individual market enrollees do not have maternity coverage. What is more, in 25 states, not one plan on the individual market covers maternity services.
Violence Against Women
Romney has refused to take a position on whether the Violence Against Women Act should extend to women in disadvantaged communities such as American Indian women, the LGBT community, and immigrants. Ryan voted not to cover these communities.
Romney announced that he wants to eliminate Title X, the only national program dedicated to family planning. In 2009, Title X services helped 5.3 million patients, 70% of whom were impoverished.
As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney vetoed a bill that would have required hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims – making it harder for a traumatized rape victim to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
The Right to Choose
Romney says he would “absolutely” support a personhood bill and Ryan even co-sponsored one, HR 212: The Sanctity of Human Life Act. This would define life as beginning at conception, completely outlawing abortion, many common types of contraception, and in-vitro fertilization.
Ryan also supported HR 358, the so-called Protect Life Act – or, as critics dubbed it, the Let Women Die Act, which allows hospitals to refuse to perform abortions, even when they were deemed medically necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman. Even worse, it would have let them refuse to transfer her to a hospital that would save her life.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans now have to cover preventative care without requiring a co-payment, including mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and contraception. Romney would repeal the Act.
In an interview with St. Louis TV station KDSK, Romney said that he would ‘get rid of’ funding for Planned Parenthood. Ryan has even co-sponsored a bill to defund the organization. Planned Parenthood provides almost 770,000 Pap tests and 750,00 breast exams per year, helping women catch cancer early, while it’s still in its most treatable stages. Planned Parenthood also provides more than four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections.
Ryan’s 2013 budget would cut $1.9 trillion from food stamps, unemployment, and federal employee pensions, disproportionately affecting American women.
Romney criticized President Obama for wanting to reinvest in American education and public works. Women make up more than 75% of all public school teachers, 61% of local government workers and 52% of state government workers. Cuts to the public sector disproportionately affect women. The Ryan budget proposes to cut 33% of funding for “education, training, employment, and social services”.
Ryan’s budget would end Medicare as we know it, changing Medicare into a defined contribution plan, which allowed the government to give seniors vouchers to buy private insurance without guaranteeing that the voucher would cover the cost of the plan. Health care experts tell us seniors would end up with an average of $6,400 in extra costs annually. Because women live longer, they comprise the majority of Medicare beneficiaries; they also have a much lower annual income, lower Social Security benefits, and are far more likely to live at or near poverty.
The Ryan plan would turn Medicaid into a block grant and fund it far below current levels, leading to massive cuts in the program. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 14 - 27 million people would lose coverage under the Ryan plan. Women constitute 70% of adult Medicaid beneficiaries.
Paid Sick Leave
Romney will not go on record supporting the Healthy Families Act, under which workers could earn up to seven paid sick days each year. Forty percent of private sector workers do not have a single paid sick day – and they are disproportionately employed in industries dominated by women. Women are the most likely to need to miss work to care for a sick child or parent.
The Ryan budget would cut 200,000 children from Head Start and roughly 80,000 children would lose subsidies as a result of cuts to the Child Care and Development Block Grant. As a result, more women will have to choose between working and supporting their families or providing childcare.