This will come as no surprise to those who have followed the Republican War on Women, but for a campaign struggling to keep up with the endless war chests of corporate Republican PACs who appear to be violating the spirit and intent of the “do not coordinate” rules with the Romney campaign, it’s good to hear that the National Organization for Women’s PAC (NOW) is officially endorsing President Obama for re-election.
NOW/PAC Chair Terry O’Neill’s statement highlights the clear contrast on women’s rights between Obama and Romney this November, noting that in President Obama women have someone who listens and responds, and in Romney we have a man who not only is unresponsive but wants to turn the clock back to the 1950’s “if not the 19th century.”
Read her statement below:
NOW PAC is proud to stand behind a president who unquestionably represents the path forward to achieve equality for women. Throughout the past four years President Obama has listened to our concerns and repeatedly stood up for women’s rights against a right-wing juggernaut bent on undermining our access to reproductive health care, our economic security and even our safety from intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
The extremists’ War on Women is all too real, and in order to win this struggle we must have strong allies in the White House who will work with us to implement policies that empower the women of this country to live healthy, safe and productive lives. President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden have shown time and again that they are our allies.
President Obama’s record on women’s issues speaks for itself:
On health care: The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover preventive care without co-pays, including contraception, mammograms, screening for cervical cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and many other prevention measures. The ACA also prohibits sex-based discrimination in insurance premium pricing, stops insurers from refusing coverage because of a pre-existing condition, expands Medicaid coverage to millions of low-income people (disproportionately women, particularly women of color), and will subsidize health premiums for millions more low- and middle-income earners — again, disproportionately women — who don’t get health coverage through their jobs and wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. And the president stood up to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops when they demanded restrictions on birth control, ensuring access to contraception coverage for the millions of women insured through religiously affiliated schools, hospitals and nonprofits throughout the country.
On pay equity: The first piece of legislation President Obama signed in January 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and he continues to support passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill to end wage discrimination against women.
On violence against women: President Obama supports the inclusive, bi-partisan Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, and he has threatened to veto the partisan Republican House version of the bill that excludes key provisions protecting Native Americans, immigrant women and the LGBT community.
President Obama also issued an executive order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls, tasked with ensuring that every part of the federal government takes into account the needs of women and girls in the policies they draft, the programs they create and the legislation they support. He is also a strong supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Meanwhile, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney has consistently spoken out against women’s rights, and he doesn’t appear to have a clue what women really need or want.
Romney has promised to defund family-planning programs, even though access to family planning is essential to women’s basic health and to their families’ economic security. Romney has also vowed to outlaw abortion and even supports a ‘personhood’ measure declaring a fertilized egg to be a human being, which would criminalize all abortions without exception and likely outlaw common forms of contraception as well as stem cell research and in vitro fertilization. He has made it clear that he would overturn Roe v. Wade, saying: ‘Absolutely, it would be a good day for America.’
Finally, Romney supports Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, which takes aim at Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and a range of social programs that disproportionately serve and employ women. And we have yet to hear Romney’s position on equal pay legislation, or where he stands on guaranteeing women’s basic equality through an Equal Rights Amendment.
In the months ahead, NOW will make sure voters understand what is at stake for women in the November elections. In particular, the contrast between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney could not be clearer. Through the president, a leader who listens and responds, we have a pathway toward achieving the goal of real equality for all women. Mitt Romney would not merely block progress — he would actively turn the clock back on women’s rights all the way to the 1950s, if not the 19th century.
Just a few weeks ago, in late June, the White House took another one of its quiet steps in protecting women and girls, with Vice President Biden, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and White House Advisor on Violence Against Women Lynn Rosenthal launching a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) about dating violence as part of the Vice President’s 1 is 2 Many campaign.
Due to the fact that young women today ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rates of violence at the hands of someone they know, the PSA’s target audience is men of this same age group. The PSA, which was produced by the White House, features professional athletes and other male role models who deliver the message that dating violence is unacceptable.
While many are aware of the Republican War on Women, not as many are aware of the forward steps and responsiveness of this White House to the needs, safety and rights of women. Violence against women is a killer. Every step we take to educate and address this issue is another potential life saved.
Vice President Biden has a long track record of advocacy on behalf of women, and President Obama has a natural empathy toward the financial struggles of single mothers, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses women’s rights around the world. This administration has been, without exception, the most pro-women’s rights administration in our history.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has said he’d like to see Roe V Wade overturned, would defund Planned Parenthood, and he refused to answer a question about states having the right to ban birth control. His position on abortion has changed so much that he once called himself both pro-choice and pro-life in the same 2007 South Carolina speech. We already know that he wants to amend the constitution to take away gay rights, and the platform of a feminist includes equal rights for all.
The choice this November could not be more clear. If you care about women’s health, their rights, their safety and the rights of young girls, there is only one ticket – the Obama/Biden ticket.