Congressman Scott Rigell Has Got a Lot of Brass Hosting a ‘Women’s Symposium’ Given His Record
From Opposing Equal Pay for Equal Work to Co-sponsoring a Bill to Redefine “Forcible Rape”, Rigell’s Priorities are 100% Wrong for Virginia Women
Washington DC (March 11, 2014) – National Republicans have been desperate to close the significant gender gap that has cost them at the ballot box for years, especially in the last election. In 2012, women voters overwhelming rejected the GOP’s extreme positions like opposing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act or extreme proposals like mandatory trans-vaginal probes. Republicans’ rhetoric on the campaign trail didn’t help matters either, whether it was from Mitt ‘Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that’ Romney, or Todd ‘legitimate rape’ Akin or Richard ‘Pregnancies resulting from rape something that God intended' Mourdock, to name a few.
Last year shell-shocked GOP Party leaders released an ‘autopsy report’ recommending its Members rebrand their insensitive image and soften their misogynistic rhetoric on women’s issues. And recently it was reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee is taking a more hands-on approach, “meeting with top aides of sitting Republicans to teach them what to say — or not to say — on the trail, especially when their boss is running against a woman,” including Congressman Scott Rigell (R-VA-2).
In other words: Republican lawmakers shouldn’t talk so openly about what they really believe and what they really hope to accomplish when it comes to women’s freedoms and health. (Unfortunately for them, some GOP politicians just can’t help themselves.) And so during this campaign season, women voters can surely expect Republicans in Congress to hold a lot more ‘women-friendly’ events and pretend like they haven’t continued to vote the same way as they always have to undermine women’s health and workplace equality in the sessions of Congress since the last election. They haven’t skipped a beat.
And so it is perhaps in this vein of that Scott Rigell is hosting his ‘First Annual Women's Symposium’ in Virginia Beach this morning. Unfortunately for Congressman Rigell, he can’t hide from his voting record that is 100% wrong for Virginian women. Not even a former used car salesman can sugar coat this lemon. Let’s Examine Just Some of Scott Rigell’s Lowlights in Congress That the Women at Today’s Symposium Won’t Hear Much About:
#1 Rigell Co-Sponsored Controversial Bill That Only Provided Abortion Funding For Victims Of “Forcible Rape,” Implying That Some Rapes Were Not “Forcible,” and Forces IRA to Audit Rape Victims. Rigell co-sponsored and voted for the "The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” H.R. 3. According to Think Progress, May 4, 2011:
- Redefinition Of Rape: The bill sponsor Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) faced serious backlash after he tried to narrow the definition rape to “forcible rape.” By narrowing the rape and incest exception in the Hyde Amendment, Smith sought to prevent the following situations from consideration: Women who say no but do not physically fight off the perpetrator, women who are drugged or verbally threatened and raped, and minors impregnated by adults. Smith promised to remove the language and while it is not technically in the bill, Mother Jones reports that House Republicans used “a sly legislative maneuver” to insert a “backdoor reintroduction” of redefinition language. Essentially, if the bill is challenged in court, judges will look at the congressional committee report to determine intent. The committee report for H.R. 3 says the bill will “not allow the Federal Government to subsidize abortions in cases of statutory rape” — thus excluding statutory rape-related abortions from Medicaid coverage.
- Rape Audits: Because H.R. 3 bans using tax credits or deductions to pay for abortions or insurance, a woman who used such a benefit would have to prove, if audited, that her abortion “fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions.” Essentially, the bill turns Internal Revenue Service agents into “abortion cops” who would force women to give “contemporaneous written documentation” that it was “incest, or rape, or [her] life was in danger” that compelled an abortion.
#2 Rigell Voted to Block the Equal Pay Act and Maintain Status Quo of Pervasive Gender Based Wage Discrimination. On May 7, 2013, Rigell voted against even allowing a debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act. According to the Huffington Post: Recent Census Bureau data shows that full-time working women make 77 cents for every dollar men make per year. The Paycheck Fairness Act … would expand the Equal Pay Act to close certain loopholes and allow employees to share salary information with their coworkers. It would also require employers to show that pay disparities between their male and female employees are related to job performance, not gender.
#3 Rigell Rigell Voted to Gut Title X Funding for Lifesaving Breast and Cervical Cancer screenings, Restrict Access to Quality, Affordable Health and Reproductive Care for Virginia Women. On February 18, 2011, Rigell voted in favor of the Pence, R-Ind., amendment to a fiscal year 2011 continuing appropriations bill to eliminate Funding for the Title X Family Planning Program and Planned Parenthood. Title X Provides Family Planning and Lifesaving Preventive Care to Millions of Individuals Each Year: Since 1970, the Title X Family Planning Program has been a key component of our nation’s health care infrastructure and an essential element in the winning strategy to reduce unintended pregnancies. Today, Title X serves over five million low-income individuals every year. In every state, women and men rely on Title X for basic primary and preventive health care, including annual exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, contraception, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Planned Parenthood provides nearly 770,000 Pap tests and nearly 750,000 breast exams each year, critical services in detecting cancer. Planned Parenthood provides more than four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Planned Parenthood affiliates provide educational programs to more than1.1 million young people and adults each year. [Roll Call 93, H 1, 02/18/2011]
#4 Rigell Voted for Unconstitutional Twenty-Week Abortion Ban That Ignores A Woman’s Individual Circumstances and Her Health. On Jun 18, 2013, Rigell voted for the so-called ‘Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’ H.R. 1797. According to the National Women’s Law Center: This blanket ban on abortion takes away a woman’s ability to consider her personal circumstances and decide what is best for her — even when her life is endangered. The bill includes two extremely narrow exceptions — which does not change the fact that this bill takes this decision out of women’s hands. For example, the so-called rape exception includes a requirement that rapes must be reported to the authorities — which not only shows a distrust of women, but exhibits the bill sponsors’ complete lack of understanding about the reality of these situations. In fact, only 35 percent of women report sexual assaults. For the vast majority of women, this bill will still bar them from getting an abortion. The so-called exception to protect a woman’s life is limited to physical illnesses only. The bill’s cruelty becomes obvious by the fact that even a suicidal woman would not qualify for this one very narrow exception. Simply put, this blanket restriction ignores the circumstances a real woman may face when deciding whether or not to continue a pregnancy.
#5 Rigell Voted for Ryan Budget That Decimates Programs for Low-Income People and Especially Hurts Women and Their Families. On March 21, 2013, Rigell voted for the Ryan budget that according to the National Women’s Law Center: the budget for Fiscal Year 2014 introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), like his Fiscal Year 2013 budget, proposes deep funding cuts that would devastate programs especially important to women and their families: Medicaid, Medicare, child care, education, SNAP, and much more. At least two-thirds of the cuts proposed in the Ryan budget come from programs for individuals and families with low or moderate incomes– and that means women and children bear the brunt of the cuts. The Ryan budget cuts Medicaid by more than $750 billion over 10 years and converts the program into a block grant, forcing states to restrict eligibility, eliminate benefits, shift costs to beneficiaries, and/or cut provider payments. Medicaid cuts would especially hurt women, who make up nearly 70 percent of adult Medicaid beneficiaries. And they would cost women jobs, since80 percent of Medicaid-supported jobs are held by women. And according to Think Progress: The budget seeks to turn most social safety net programs into block grants to the states that are modeled after the 1996 welfare reform law. That would result in devastating cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), women, infant, and children programs, and other parts of the social safety net that keep millions of people out of poverty each year. Since welfare reform occurred 16 years ago, it has failed to reach many families with children in poverty, particularly during the latest economic recession. Ryan’s budget would make most safety programs equally as impotent.
#6 Rigell Voted for So-Called ‘Let Women Die’ Bill That Lets Hospitals Deny Life-Saving Care. Oct 13, 2011, Rigell voted for the so-called Protect Life Act, also known as the ‘Let Women Die Act’ because, as Huffington Post notes: The bill that would allow federally-funded hospitals that oppose abortions to refuse to perform the procedure, even in cases where a woman would die without it. Under H.R. 358, dubbed the "Protect Life Act" and sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), hospitals that don't want to provide abortions could refuse to do so, even for a pregnant woman with a life-threatening complication that requires a doctor terminate her pregnancy. This provision would apply to the more than 600 Catholic hospitals governed by the Catholic Health Association, which are regulated by bishops and prohibited from performing abortions”
#7 Rigell Has Voted Repeatedly to Repeal the Affordable Care Act and Make Legal Again Insurance Industry Discrimination Against Women. Rigell has voted dozens of times to repeal, delay, and dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which were essentially votes to allow the health insurance industry to resume discrimination against women and go back to the bad old days women were charged one and half times higher premiums than men during their reproductive years. Holding other factors constant, a 22 year old woman can be charged one and a half times the premium of a 22 year old man. According to the National Women’s Law Center: Repeal Would Allow Unfair Insurance Practices. The new health care law includes important protections against discriminatory insurance practices. Repealing the law would end these protections and return women to the days when they were treated as a pre-existing condition. Repeal would allow insurance companies to: Deny women coverage if they’ve had a C-section, breast or cervical cancer, or received medical treatment for domestic or sexual violence; Charge individual women and small employers with a predominately-female workforce more for coverage; Place a dollar limit on covered services, meaning plan benefits could run out just when you need them the most; Drop coverage when an enrollee gets sick.