When it comes to women’s issues, there is little to distinguish Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney from the more radical elements of his party, which includes his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Here are the top four reasons why women and their families should be troubled by the radical positions of the Romney-Ryan ticket.
Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan would threaten women’s jobs and economic security
The Romney-Ryan campaign promises to cut jobs in the women-dominated public sector, including downsizing teachers. Gov. Romney also says he would not raise the minimum wage for the 2.5 million women who work at the bottom of the pay scale. Nor will he voice support for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes in existing pay equity laws and would empower women by enabling them to better determine their market value and negotiate on their own behalf. Similarly, he has not come out in favor of the Healthy Families Act, which would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days per year. (see Figure 1)
Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan would raise taxes on working women and severely cut essential safety net programs to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy
Gov. Romney pledges to reduce the federal deficit, cap federal spending, and increase military spending, all while extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and adding a new tax cut giveaway of $4.9 trillion for those who least need it. Fulfilling such promises would necessitate raising taxes on the middle class and imposing severe cuts to essential safety net programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Child Care and Development Block Grant, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. These are all programs upon which middle- and low-income women heavily rely. (see Figure 2)
Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan would end Obamacare and its many benefits for women
Gov. Romney promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act “on day one” of his presidency and endorses the budget proposed by Rep. Ryan in Congress, which would dismantle the health reform law in a number of ways. This would mean denying guaranteed maternity coverage to 8.7 million women, allowing insurers to continue charging women $1 billion more than men each year in premiums for the same set of benefits, and denying women insurance coverage for having had a Cesarean section or for being the victim of rape or domestic violence. It would also end no-cost coverage for recommended preventive services— despite the fact that more than half of American women have reported delaying needed medical care because of cost, while one-third of women have given up basic necessities such as food, heat, or rent to pay for health care expenses. (see Figure 3)
Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan would take away a woman’s right to make decisions about whether and when to have children
Gov. Romney supports state constitutional “personhood” amendments that would define life as beginning at conception. Rep. Ryan co-sponsored a similar federal bill in Congress. Such laws would:
- Outlaw abortion in all circumstances with no exceptions whatsoever
- Criminalize certain forms of contraception
- Restrict options for fertility treatments
- Interfere with the ability to treat ectopic pregnancies, a medical emergency where an embryo implants in the ovaries or fallopian tubes instead of the uterus
Gov. Romney also pledges to “get rid of ” Planned Parenthood and eliminate our nation’s family planning program. He supported a law that would have allowed employers to deny women insurance coverage for contraception. (see Figure 4)
The policies promoted by Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan are both extreme and costly. Women simply cannot afford the price of this ticket.
All of the details presented in this fact sheet are documented in our series on Gov. Romney’s plans for America, titled “Romney University,” presented by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Get the facts here.
Jessica Arons is Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress.