The good news is that with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Mitt Romney’s running mate we have a very clear idea of where women stand in the current conservative movement. Nowhere.
Ryan’s is best known as the architect of the Republican budget for Fiscal Year 2013. The National Women’s Law Center breaks down the priorities in a budget that would, among other things:
• Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which would allow insurance companies to continue to charge women higher premiums than men, deny coverage to women due to preexisting conditions, and refuse to cover maternity care; deprive about 17 million women access to affordable health insurance and Medicaid; and increase the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries and preventive care services, including contraceptive services.
• Slashing Medicaid by more than 20 percent over the next ten years and converting it to a block grant,causing over 14 million low-income Americans to lose coverage by 2021. Medicaid cuts would especially hurt women, who make up 70 percent of adult Medicaid beneficiaries.
• Raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 and replacing the Medicare guarantee with a premium support voucher for people currently under 55. The voucher would likely be inadequate to purchase traditional Medicare coverage, so costs would be pushed onto beneficiaries – a majority of whom are women.
• Cutting funding for non-defense discretionary programs, many of which women disproportionately rely on — such as child care, Head Start, job training, Pell Grants, housing and energy assistance, and more — by $1.2 trillion over 10 years on top of the cuts needed to comply with the reduced funding caps in the Budget Control Act. The Ryan budget would not only exempt defense programs from cuts but would increase defense spending by about $200 billion over 10 years.
• Cutting the Supplemental Nutritional Program (SNAP/Food Stamps) by more than 17 percent over ten years, the equivalent of cutting more than eight million people. It also would convert this highly effective safety net program, whose recipients are mostly women, to a block grant that would not respond to increased need during recessions.
• Cutting other mandatory income security programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) by about $463 billion. Women represent two-thirds of elderly SSI beneficiaries and 86 percent of adult TANF beneficiaries.
• Putting cuts to Social Security benefits on a fast track and rejecting proposals that would strengthen Social Security by raising revenues from the highest earners. Women are a large majority of adult Social Security recipients and rely on income from Social Security to a greater extent than men do.
Ryan’s record on choice is even more extreme. He voted last year to end funding to Planned Parenthood, has repeatedly said he wants to end all safe and legal abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the woman. He sponsored a so-called “personhood” legislation, which would give full constitutional rights to fertilized eggs and could ban some forms of birth control and fertility treatments.
“Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading women’s health provider and advocate, and sees firsthand the women who are being hurt by the policies that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan support,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “We now have a full picture of this ticket, and it’s deeply troubling for women’s ability to make their own medical decisions and have access to basic health care. Just like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan wants to end safe and legal abortion, would work to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood’s cancer screenings, birth control, and other basic health care, and would repeal the Affordable Care Act, denying access to birth control, well-woman checkups, and other preventive care to millions of Americans.”
Let’s put it this way. Ryan is so extreme and is agenda so dangerous it inspired a group of Catholic nuns to rent a bus and travel around the country to protest its impact on the nation’s most vulnerable. And Ryan’s not shy about his extremism either. During his “acceptance” speech Ryan declared that rights come from God–a position used to justify slavery and limiting civil rights of women and minorities.
The Ryan choice made it abundantly clear that the Republican party has no place for women and no intention on remaining relevant in national politics for much longer.
“Here are the facts: Mitt Romney as President would be devastating for women and families — and Paul Ryan would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him the whole way,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List. “In fact, Ryan’s already gotten his own start, by ramming his radical budget plan to decimate vital plans for seniors through Congress — and do it on the backs of the women and families who need these programs the most.”
“I know I shouldn’t be shocked that Mitt Romney would choose a man in Paul Ryan who has a vision of turning the clock back decades for women, from dismantling Medicare and Social Security that our mothers and grandmothers depend on to denying coverage of birth control and cancer screenings for women across the nation,” Schriock continued. “Women voters all across America waking up to this news this morning now have more reason than ever before to ensure that we return Barack Obama and Joe Biden to the White House with a Senate and House full of prochoice Democratic women who will move us forward, not backwards,” said Schriock.
The Romney/Ryan vision is rooted in a Dominionist misogyny that does not believe, as a matter of principle, that women have rights and autonomy worth recognizing. What better way to prove them wrong then to vote against them.
Photo from gageskidmore via flickr.