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What the Romney-Ryan ticket would mean for women’s health and women’s rights

With Mitt Romney at the helm, the GOP has been steadily chipping away at women’s health and women’s rights. They oppose abortion rights and have pledged to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood funding. Even worse, Rep. Todd Akin—in explaining his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape—said victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.”

Akin’s egregious, false, and deeply disturbing view only exemplifies how extreme the Republican Party—led by Romney and Ryan—has become on issues important to women. Take a look at where the GOP ticket stands on women’s health:

  • Redefine rape: Ryan co-sponsored a bill that, among other things, narrowed the definition of rape to “forcible rape.” As the National Women’s Law Center explained, the proposal “speaks to a distinction between rape where there must be some element of force in order to rise to the standard, and rape where this is not ... it takes us back to a time where just saying no was not enough.”

  • Ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest: Romney backed a proposal to outlaw all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. He also supports the Republican Party platform, which includes a Human Life Amendment that bans abortion without those exceptions. Ryan co-sponsored a personhood bill that defines life as beginning at conception—a definition that would mean “abortion and some forms of birth control could be construed as murder.”

  • Employer control over birth control coverage: Romney said “of course” he supports a bill that would’ve allowed any employer to deny women coverage for birth control. Ryan co-sponsored a similar proposal in the House and called the Obamacare rule that provides access to contraception without out-of-pocket costs “an affront to religious liberty.”

  • Defund Planned Parenthood: Romney pledged to “get rid of” funding for Planned Parenthood. Ryan repeatedly voted to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides crucial health services to women across the country. All federal funding goes towards medical services like reproductive health services, birth control, cancer screenings—but not abortion services.

Every day, women across American grapple with extremely difficult and deeply personal health decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor, not dictated by politicians. While President Obama is committed to protecting a woman’s right to make her own health decisions, the Romney-Ryan ticket would “take us back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century.”

That is the stark and clear difference in this election.