No War on Women, Speaker Boehner? GOP Sen. candidate Akin: ‘Legitimate rape’ rarely causes pregnancy
August 20, 2012
FLASHBACK: Speaker John Boehner, April 27, 2012: “So called ‘War On Women’ entirely created by my colleagues across the aisle.”
- Todd Akin, GOP Senate candidate: ‘Legitimate rape’ rarely causes pregnancy [Washington Post, August 19, 2012]
- Todd Akin On Abortion: 'Legitimate Rape' Victims Have 'Ways To Try To Shut That Whole Thing Down' (VIDEO) [Huffington Post, 8/19/12]
Congressman Akin’s views against victims of rape and women in general could not be more contemptible and sickening, but do they really come as a surprise coming from a member of the same Republican party that has taken unprecedented steps in recent months and years to undermine women’s health, take away women’s freedoms, and treat women as second class citizens at the work place? Let’s not forget Akin is part of the same Republican U.S. House of Representatives that voted unanimously for an unbelievably misogynistic anti-choice bill that redefines rape and creates rape audits – a bill that was cosponsored by Romney running mate Paul Ryan. Akin's deplorable comments were symptomatic of his party's underlying contempt for women. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were quick to distance themselves from Akin, but what about their own extreme anti-women record and proposals? Speaker Boehner infamously said in April: the ‘so called War On Women is entirely created by my colleagues across the aisle. Let’s Review the Facts.” Yes, let’s examine how much respect for women’s health, equality and freedoms Beohner and his party demonstrate virtually every day in the halls of Congress and in state legislatures across the country.
Todd Akin and Paul Ryan, Two Peas in a Pod When It Comes to Undermining Women's Health
Romney Running Mate Paul Ryan’s Extreme Record Against Women’s Health
- Ryan has cast 59 anti-choice votes on abortion and reproductive rights issues during his seven terms in Congress. From supporting restrictive limitations on abortion services to restricting military women’s access to abortion care, Ryan’s record firmly establishes him as an anti-choice politician. [Think Progress, Aug. 13, 2012]
- Ryan co-sponsored a “personhood” amendment that would give legal rights to a fetus starting at conception. Ryan joined 62 other Republicans in co-sponsoring the Sanctity of Human Life Act, an anti-abortion measure declaring that a fertilized egg “shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” This would outlaw abortion, some forms of contraception and in-vitro fertilization. [Think Progress, Aug. 13, 2012]
- Ryan supports banning all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. In addition to his support of the personhood amendment, Ryan won his congressional seat in 1998 by emphasizing his opposition to all abortions without exceptions. But this puts him at odds with Mitt Romney, who has said he would allow exceptions in cases or rape and incest. [Think Progress, Aug. 13, 2012]
- Ryan voted to ban abortion coverage from being included in the state health insurance exchanges. The Stupak amendment that Ryan backed would have prevented women from purchasing plans that cover abortion services through the exchanges set up under Obamacare — even when using their own funds. [Think Progress, Aug. 13, 2012]
- Ryan compared Roe v. Wade to the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision. “Twice in the past the U.S. Supreme Court—charged with being the guardian of rights—has failed so drastically in making this crucial determination that it ‘disqualified’ a whole category of human beings, with profoundly tragic results,” Ryan wrote in 2010. After the 1857 case, Dred Scott v. Sandford, “the second time the Court failed in a case regarding the definition of “human” was in Roe v. Wade in 1973,” he added. [Think Progress, Aug. 13, 2012]
Congressional Republicans including Paul Ryan Do Not Believe That Women Deserve Equal Pay for Equal Work: They Adamantly Opposed the Anti-gender-based-wage-discrimination Law The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act from the Beginning, Still Think it’s a “Nuisance”
- Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: a total of 7 Republicans in the House and the Senate voted for it. 209 Republicans voted against equal pay for women in 2009. [http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2012/04/war-on-women-is-about-more-than-lady.html; Washington Post, April 24, 2008: “Senate Republicans Block Pay Disparity Measure”]
- National Women’s Law Center: Women today are paid, on average, only 78 cents for every dollar paid to men. And the gap is even worse for women of color – African American women earn only 69 cents and Latina women earn only 59 cents for each dollar earned by males. To help address this unfair and unacceptable wage gap, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on January 29, 2009,1 restoring the protection against pay discrimination that was stripped away by the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. The Act reinstates prior law and makes clear that pay discrimination claims on the basis of sex, race, national origin, age, religion and disability “accrue” whenever an employee receives a discriminatory paycheck, as well as when a discriminatory pay decision or practice is adopted, when a person becomes subject to the decision or practice, or when a person is otherwise affected by the decision or practice.
- “We’ll get back to you on that” - Romney campaign, April 11, 2012, on simple question whether or not Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Act.
- Think Progress, 4/16/2012: “Romney Refuses To Say Whether He Would Sign Lilly Ledbetter Pay Equity Law”
- Romney-Running Mate Paul Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/111-2009/h9
- Huffington Post, 04/13/2012: GOP Senate Candidate in Michigan “Pete Hoekstra On Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: 'That Thing Is A Nuisance'”
- Huffington Post, 04/ 6/2012 ‘Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Quietly Repeals Wisconsin Equal Pay Law”
Senate and House Republicans including Paul Ryan Voted to Water Down the Violence Against Women Act
- Think Progress, Apr 26, 2012: “GOP Tries To Water Down Violence Against Women Act, Expresses Willingness To Tolerate Some Domestic Abuse”: The Hutchison/Grassley amendment will likely leave out some victims who face particularly harsh discrimination. If Senate Republicans embrace Grassley’s earlier objections to reauthorizing VAWA, they will show that they are willing to tolerate a certain amount of domestic violence by ignoring certain victims.
- Think Progress, 4/26/12: The Senate just passed the third reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Though Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) were attempting to water down the bill through amendments, they ultimately failed and the bill passed in its original form.
- Think Progress, May 16, 2012: ‘House Passes Watered-Down Version Of Violence Against Women Act’
Romney-Ryan Would “Get Rid Of” Leading Women’s Reproductive Health Service Provider
- Think Progress, March 14, 2012: “Romney: ‘We’re Going To Get Rid Of’ Planned Parenthood”
- Daily Kos, FRI FEB 18, 2011: “House votes to defund Planned Parenthood, Title X”
- Ryan has supported defunding Planned Parenthood. In 2011, he voted for an amendment that would block Planned Parenthood and the health care organization’s affiliates from receiving any funds in a 2011 continuing appropriations bill. [Think Progress, Aug. 13, 2012]
- Just to Note: 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.
Remember That “GOP Bill Requiring Vaginal Probes Before Abortions”?
- Associated Press, Feb. 22, 2012: ‘GOP Bill Would Require Vaginal Probes Before Abortions’
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was for the mandatory invasive transvaginal probe bill before he was against it:
- Slate, Feb. 22, 2012: “Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Backs off the Invasive Ultrasound Law:” Defenders of Virginia’s proposed ultrasound law, which would require some women to get penetrated by a transvaginal ultrasound before being allowed to have an abortion, say that they support the bill because it’s merely giving women more information about their bodies. As Dahlia Lithwick pointed out late last week in Slate piece about the law, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said on a radio show, “I think it gives full information...To be able to have that information before making what most people would say is a very important, serious, life-changing decision, I think is appropriate.”
After Enormous Backlash Against the Mandatory Transvaginal Probe Bill, McConnell “Compromised” By Joining 6 Other Republican Governors in Signing Into Law a Bill That Still Requires a Mandatory Ultrasound – As If That Made It Acceptable
- Huffington Post, 3/7/2012: “Bob McDonnell, Virginia Governor, Signs Mandatory Ultrasound Bill Into Law:” VA Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a controversial mandatory ultrasound bill into law Wednesday afternoon, making Virginia the seventh state to require women to have an ultrasound procedure before they can legally have an abortion. A previous version of the bill would have forced women to undergo an invasive, likely painful transvaginal ultrasound procedure if she was too early into the pregnancy for a more typical transabdominal one to detect fetal age. After that bill sparked widespread protests, McDonnell and House Republicans worked together to write a new bill that would allow women to opt out of the more invasive procedure in favor of an external one.
Romney Supported Blunt Amendment That Amounted to ‘Contraception Ban’ for Millions of Women
- National Women’s Law Center, March 13, 2012: ‘The Blunt Amendment Takes Away Access to Critical Health Insurance Coverage for Millions of Americans’
- “Extreme Blunt Amendment Could Put At Risk Preventive Care For Over 20M Women – Including Access To Contraception, Mammograms And Prenatal Screenings” [Democrats.Senate.Gov, Feb. 28, 2012]
- AUDIO: Romney: "Of course I support the Blunt amendment”
“House GOP Unanimously Passed Anti-Abortion Bill That Redefines Rape, Raises Taxes, And Creates Rape Audits”
- Think Progress, May 4, 2011: House GOP Unanimously Passes Anti-Abortion Bill That Redefines Rape, Raises Taxes, And Creates Rape Audits: ‘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.
- Talking points memo, FEBRUARY 1, 2011: “Radio Silence On Rape-Redefining Abortion Bill From The Right:” A quick refresher: The House law, also known as H.R. 3, is designed to make permanent some existing bans on federal funding for abortion…But the widest criticism of the bill comes in its exemptions for rape — provisions that would allow federal money or private insurance to be used to cover an abortion. H.R. 3 says those provisions would kick in only in cases of forcible rape, a distinction from other forms rape of that is largely undefined but seems to suggest that a rape that doesn’t include violence wouldn’t count. The bill would also limit the incest exemption to women under the age of 18 — meaning a victim of incest who was legally allowed to vote wouldn’t have her abortion covered by Medicaid and would likely have more limited access to private insurance than she does today.
Romney-Ryan Promise to Repeal ObamaCare on “Day one” and Let Insurance Companies Continue Treating Being a Woman as a “Pre-Existing” Condition, Continue to Deny Coverage to Women or Make Women Pay One and Half Times More in Premiums as a Man If They’ve had a C-section, Breast or Cervical cancer, or Received Medical Treatment for Domestic or Sexual Violence
- 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.
- Women are often charged 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. [HealthReform.gov]
GOP U.S. House, State Legislatures Run Amok
- NARAL Pro-Choice America: In 2011, anti-choice lawmakers in Congress and state legislatures across the country attacked women's health and took every opportunity to restrict further the right to choose. In Congress, the anti-choice leadership of the House of Representatives declared blocking women's access to legal abortion care a "top priority." The House took eight votes on choice - the highest number since 2000. While most of these ultimately failed to advance, anti-choice lawmakers were able to reinstate the D.C. abortion ban by forcing it into in the FY'11 budget deal. Consequently, the city was forced abruptly to drop coverage for abortion services from its health programs. At least 28 D.C. Medicaid enrollees scheduled to receive abortion care just days after the budget was struck suddenly were left on their own to scramble for funds.
Total anti-choice measures enacted in 2011: 26 states enacted 69 anti-choice measures in 2011; Arizona, Florida, and Kansas enacted the most antichoice legislation in 2011, with five measures each; Since 1995, states have enacted 713 anti-choice measures.
- The U.S. House of Representatives held more choice-related votes in 2011 than in any year since 2000.
- The House voted to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate the Title X family-planning program. And Mitt Romney has vowed to do both of these things should he ever reach the White House.
- Anti-choice lawmakers pushed the Blunt amendment, which could have allowed employers and corporations to block their employees from getting insurance coverage of birth control. Every Republican senator but one voted for this measure--and Gov. Romney voiced his support for it.
- They held a House committee hearing with an all-male panel attacking birth control.
- At the state level, these politicians enacted twice as many anti-choice laws in 2011 as they did in the previous year.
- And I guess we imagined it when you said the "rape-audits" bill, which manipulates the tax code to advance anti-choice policies and could spur the IRS to audit rape and incest survivors who choose abortion care, was one of your"highest legislative priorities"?
- Speaker Boehner, you can't deny a War on Women that you started.
Romney Refused to Condemn Rush Limbaugh -- the Foulest Misogynist in America and Republican Party Grand Poobah – Over Deplorable Sandra Fluke Smears
- Limbaugh Calls Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" on his nationally syndicated radio show. [Media Matters, February 29, 2012]
- “Romney Declines To Criticize Limbaugh — Again” [Think Progress, Mar 7, 2012]
- Think Progress, Mar 5, 2012 : “Mitt Romney’s Corporate Ties To Limbaugh” : Mitt Romney has drawn criticism for remaining largely silent on Rush Limbaugh’s sexist attacks against Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, saying only, “it’s not the language I would have used.” What has gone largely unnoticed, however, is Romney’s corporate connection to Limbaugh. While Limbaugh owns the company that produces his show, it’s syndicated and broadcasted by Premiere Radio Networks, which also handles Limbaugh’s advertising. Premiere is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Clear Channel, the radio and outdoor advertising behemoth. Clear Channel, meanwhile, is owned by a partnership of two private equity firms, Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners — the same Bain Capital that Mitt Romney once ran.
- Huffington Post, 3/7/2012: David Axelrod: If Romney Can't Condemn Limbaugh, 'How Can He Stand Up To Ahmadinejad?'
BOTTOM LINE: The record is clear. There is no denying that women’s health, equality and freedoms have been under relentless attack from a Republican Party that grows more conservative, more extreme with each passing year and there is no denying a Romney-Ryan administration would be more than happy to sign their radical anti-woman bills into law.