Top Ten Issues for Women
Posted in the Columbus Forum
#1 Feb 23, 2013
The Top Ten Issues At Stake For Women In Today’s Election
1) Health care costs. Women tend to have higher medical expenses than men do, and insurers often practice “gender rating” to charge women more than men for the exact same health services.
2) Pay equity. The average woman in the United States still makes just 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man, a wage gap that emerges in the very first year of full-time work after college. President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 to empower women to challenge wage discrimination — but Romney has declined to clarify whether or not he supports that legislation.
3) The Supreme Court. Since four of the nine current justices are over the age of 74, the winner of this election could have the chance to appoint several new members. Romney has said he would appoint judges to overturn Roe v. Wade and revoke women’s legal access to abortion, and his appointments could also chip away at women’s rights in other areas. Justice Antonin Scalia does not believe that the Constitution guarantees protection from gender discrimination, and Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito have suggested they may share that view — so the Supreme Court could be just one vote away from ruling against women who bring forth gender-based discrimination cases.
4) Resources for survivors of sexual assault. The Violence Against Women Act has helped protect countless survivors of domestic assault since its introduction in 1994. But the re-authorization of the bill has been stalled thanks to a partisan fight over whether VAWA should include protections for Native Americans, undocumented immigrants, and the LGBT community — and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan supports the watered-down version of the legislation that strips these groups of women of their protections.
5) Funding for Planned Parenthood. Republican lawmakers have been attempting to defund Planned Parenthood’s health clinics on a state level, denying low-income women access to critical preventative health services in the GOP’s crusade against abortion services.
6) State-level abortion legislation. In several states, voters will decide on proposed abortion restrictions on their ballots today. In Florida, Amendment 6 seeks to ban abortion coverage under state insurance plans.
7) Maternity care. Coverage for maternity care has typically been excluded from insurance plans — but if Obamacare remains in place, the health reform law will guarantee that about 8.7 million women have access to maternity care like prenatal doctor’s visits, emergency care during labor, and breastfeeding support.
8) Medicaid expansion. As governors across the country debate whether to accept the optional expansion of the Medicaid program under Obamacare, women have the most to lose if states decline to expand coverage to more of their low-income resident. Women make up nearly 70 percent of all Medicaid beneficiaries, partly because women are more likely than men to be poor and women tend to qualify for the program when they are new mothers.
9) Marriage equality and adoption rights. For the women who do not identify as heterosexual, this election could mark an important step forward for LGBT equality. Obama is the first U.S. president to endorse marriage equality in office, and he could enact policies in his second term to extend legal rights and protections to all types of female mothers and spouses, not just the women who are part of traditional family structures.
10) Representation in Congress. The number of women in Congress dropped to just 17 percent after the 2010 elections. Today, voters everywhere have a chance to improve women’s representation. This year, 12 Democratic and 6 Republican women are running for Senate, while 116 Democratic women and 47 Republican women are running in the House.
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