The phrase “war on women” has come up in the past couple of years and while many claim this is a hyperbole, it is true that legitimate legislation, which could negatively affect women in a variety of ways, has surfaced in Congress.
There are four primary areas where women are being affected: the economy, women’s rights and treatment in the workplace, the controversy over abortion and the issue of contraception.
A recent addition to Mitt Romney’s platform is an idea straight from the Tea Party movement: the repeal of Roe v. Wade.
Romney announced he would like to see it repealed if he is elected president, but he has also said that while abortion would be banned, there would be exceptions in the cases of “rape, incest and life of the mother.”
However, the term “forcible rape” is being thrown around among many conservatives to question the legitimacy and seriousness of an issue such as
rape. This certainly will be problematic for the first two cases Romney cited.
But Romney is not alone in this election season. Former Sen. George Allen, who is running against former Gov. Tim Kaine to replace Sen. James Webb, supports the repeal of Roe v. Wade, as well.
Additionally, the push against the “morning-after pill” and for “Personhood” bills also threatens the authority of women over their own lives and the choice of when to start a family.
The issue over contraception is equally complex, specifically due to the fact that contraception, like abortion, is not a black-and-white issue, and many conservatives turn a blind eye to the grey area in between.
According to NPR, the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute examined data from a survey completed by the National Survey of Family Growth and found that 14 percent of birth control pill users — or more than 1.5 million women — take the medication for a reason other than contraception.
The pill holds a large variety of medical uses other than contraception, including preventing migraines and reducing cramping associated with menstruation, regulating menstruation, controlling acne and controlling medical conditions such as endometriosis. Also noteworthy is only a minority of pill users — 42 percent — cited birth control as the main purpose for their usage.
Often ignored by politicians against contraception, the pill offers great health benefits for women all over the country and is often used for multiple purposes. The pill rightfully gives women control over their own bodies and can be essential to a woman’s health.
In the work force, women are also being impacted. According to Rolling Stone.com, women’s pay increases have stagnated in America, and women make an average of 23 percent less than men. Women, however, hold disproportionately more government jobs. The government cuts Romney has called for would result in a massive loss of public-sector jobs, thus impacting women more than men.
To put it into perspective, since June 2009, 601,000 government workers were put out of work due to budget cuts, and roughly two-thirds of those workers were women.
Politicians — primarily Republicans — have repeatedly voted against legislation proposed by Democrats to help women, such as the Paycheck Fairness Act.
After speaking with several women on these issues, they all expressed contempt for their lack of proper representation on these topics and believe women should have authority over their own bodies and the right to choose. They asserted the idea of more budgets cuts and fewer government jobs is daunting, and the anti-woman approach taken by many politicians and party talking-heads is reprehensible.
Unfortunately, with the exception of very conservative female politicians, legislation regarding women’s rights is constructed and argued over predominantly by men. For this very reason, it is imperative that women call out against these pieces of legislation, research these topics and write letters, columns, and stories to push our politicians away from legislation that could hurt the women of this country.