Mitt Romney’s recent “binders full of women” blunder may have pitted some college women against the candidate, but there should be more behind your vote than silly debate faux pas. Read on to find out where President Obama and Governor Romney stand on four issues that affect college women significantly. College students and women are powerful interest groups, so get informed, become empowered, and – no matter which way you swing – rock the vote on November 6th.
Tuition and Student Loans
- Barack Obama: In his Presidency, Barack Obama doubled the funding for Pell Grants and created a college tax credit. He has voted to keep the federal student loan interest rate down, and capped the loan repayment at 10% of student income after graduation. His most recent proposed legislation would be a contest to reward states with funding for cutting tuition.
The cost of higher education has, in fact, increased significantly since Obama took office, but it is important to note that this increase began long before Obama’s term began. What students pay after grants and tax credits has grown at a much lesser rate.
- Mitt Romney: In a recent visit to Manchester, Romney informed voters not to expect him to increase Pell Grant Funding. His rationale? That Obama’s policies are like “taking money from one pocket and moving it to another.” His plan, rather, is to encourage the private sector to participate in the student loan process. This will “replace burdensome regulation with innovation and competition.”
He criticizes Obama’s proposed competition as being a “blank check to universities to reward their tuition increases.” Rather than giving so much funding with so little stipulation, Romney plans to support schools where he sees create ways to drive down costs. This, according to Romney, is how to reverse the “nationalization” of the student loan market, and return it to the hands of private lenders.
- BO: In 2009, Barack Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Act addresses that women still earn 77 cents to a man’s dollar for the same job with the same level of experience. The LLFPA allows women more time to file wage discrimination lawsuits. President Obama also supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, which makes it easier for employees to share their salaries, and pressures employers to prove salary fairness.
- MR: Mitt Romney has yet to disclose whether or not he would have signed the LLFPA had he been in Congress. Paul Ryan, his running mate, voted against it. Romney’s approach to fair pay shifts the focus to job creation. His spokesperson issued the following statement on the issue:
Governor Romney supports pay equity for women. In order to have pay equity, women need to have jobs, and they have been getting crushed in this anemic Obama economy, losing far more jobs than men. As President, Mitt Romney will create a pro-jobs business climate that will put Americans back to work.
Women’s Health Care
- BO: Obama’s contribution to our healthcare system is known as “Obamacare”, a comprehensive health care reform statute. Since its passage, the program has been a controversial and defining feature of his Presidency. What are its implications for young women? Many of the reforms are aimed at combating the common practice of charging women more than men for healthcare coverage. The program adds millions of women to insurance rolls, and in August 2012, began to require that insurance companies cover women’s wellness visits such as mammograms and domestic violence screenings.
- MR: Governor Romney has promised that he will issue an executive order to allow the states Obamacare waivers on his first day in office, and that he will repeal the full legislation as soon as possible. By repealing Obamacare, the power to design a health care plan would fall under each state and its citizens. This “allows innovation at the state level, and promotes competition.” His makes little mention of women’s healthcare specifically.
Contraception and Abortion
- BO: Obamacare is now beginning to cover many forms of birth control without co-pays or deductions. This includes the morning after pill and sterilization, and has been criticized by many employers whose insurance plans cover the costs. While there are exceptions for churches and synagogues, there are none for religiously affiliated schools or hospitals. Certain institutions have filed suit that the requirement violates their First Amendment freedom of religion.
Concerning abortion, President Obama opposes any state or federal effort to restrict a woman’s right to choose.
- MR: A full repeal of Obamacare would mean no more required contraceptive coverage. Governor Romney’s policies on contraception and abortion are in line with the GOP Platform. He supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood because certain branches provide abortions. As Governor, he vetoed the Emergency Contraception Bill in 2005 because it authorized a bill that could terminate fetal life. He has made no comment concerning the “personhood” movement that a fertilized egg has the same rights as a human being, but Paul Ryan supports the movement in Congress.
Concerning abortion, Romney is pro-life with exceptions for rape, incest, and threat to the life of the mother. The Republic Platform has long stood in firm opposition of abortion.
We may be college women, but these are just four of the issues to look into. Research where each candidate stands on what is most important to you, your family, your beliefs, or the field you want to go into after you graduate! There is no need to get an absentee ballot or avoid the polls here in Durham. In New Hampshire, you can register on Election Day, and do not need to be a state resident.