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Obama, Romney and their views on women’s issues

With the presidential election nearing a close, fellow collegiettes will be looking forward to casting their vote for president with a burning question in mind; What do the presidential candidates think about issues concerning women today?

Employment, health care, homeland security, education, energy and of course, the economy, are crucial issues for voters in the 44th presidential election this November, but, women’s issues are rising to the forefront in this year’s election. In this ballpark, candidates Barack Obama (Dem.) and Mitt Romney (Rep.) must confront civil issues for women such as equal pay and access to birth control and abortion.


President Obama seeks a second term this year and has quite a history in facing women’s issues during his
stint as president. A key issue for women is equal pay, which has been long challenged by the biased business practice of pay discrimination.

According to Whitehouse.gov, it is estimated during the course of her career, a typical woman working full time in the US will lose over $431,000 due to the gender pay gap.

During his presidency, Obama passed a number of acts to alleviate economic gender gap and a push for equal pay.

To alleviate this economic gender gap, Obama passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act  in 2009 to allow all women to be paid the same as men during employment.

In addition, he passed the Equal Pay Task Force to enforce these equal pay laws. If re-elected, Obama plans to continue the push for equal pay and seek more support for the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill defeated by the Senate in June 2012, which would have further strengthened equal pay by expanding the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Fair Labor Standards Act.  

In regards to women’s health, Obama also signed the Affordable Care Act , which allows women to receive preventive services and access to contraception through their insurance without co-pays or deductibles.

According to Planned Parenthood, estimated birth control costs with the absence of the bill would be around $18,000 in a lifetime. To compromise with more traditional beliefs, the bill makes an exception for certain religious associations.

Obama has taken the position of pro-choice when it comes to abortion. This may indicate that he would favor reform that would allow women more access to abortion services as well as reforms that give women further access to preventative health.


Mitt Romney, previous governor of Massachusetts in 2002, has a more conservative stance on women’s
issues. As stated in his campaign website, Romney is pro-life and “believes life that begins at contraception.”

He would like to overturn the Supreme Court decision Roe vs Wade, which gave abortion its legality with restrictions placed only during pregnancy in the later months, according to his campaign website.  He also favors legislation that gives states more control over their own abortion laws, resulting in less federal control over the decision.

In addition, Romney supports the Hyde Amendment which would eliminate federal funding for abortions, including funding for programs like Planned Parenthood that provide preventative women health services especially to those with low income.

Romney expressed his opposition on birth control as a “violation of conscience” in a public gathering of nearly 3,000 people in Centennial, Colorado and plans to repeal Obama’s Affordable Care act and eliminate the guarantee for insurance to cover contraceptives according to the Huffington Post.

Although Romney didn’t restrict birth control during his term as governor, he vetoed an emergency contraception bill in 2005, according to the Huffington Post.

As for equal pay for women, Romney has not taken a specific stand on the topic. In response to a request for comment on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, a spokesman said, “Gov. 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 all Americans back to work.”

For SFSU collegiettes, it is important to consider each candidates’ stance on women’s issues when making their decision to vote for the next president. There is one thing for certain however, the topic of women’s issues will continue to be a hot topic and a forefront issue for both presidential candidates.

*Photos from http://www.flickr.com/photos/newshour/7899958248/

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