A Closer Look At Paul Ryan & Women’s Rights

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Aug. 27 2012, Published 11:41 p.m. ET

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With the Republican National Convention taking place this week it’s worth taking a closer look at the newest politician to enter the race for the White House, Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Romney. But first let’s back track a bit.

On Saturday August 11 in Norfolk, VA, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced that he had chosen Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate in the general election in November. “The Comeback Team,” as they have named themselves, ended months of speculation and helped to re-energize and shift the topic of conversation around the entire election. However, not enough of the discussion has been focused on Ryan and his record with women.

Ryan has made very controversial moves when it comes to women’s rights, specifically health related issues such as abortion and Medicaid. Since taking office in 1999, Ryan has supported legislation such as the Protect Life Act that would prevent women from being able to receive an abortion in hospitals if needed in emergency situations.

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Ryan has voted on four separate occasions to pass legislation that would remove funding for Planned Parenthood. Ryan has also been a firm supporter of “personhood,” which would give a fetus the same rights as an individual, making abortions equivalent to that of 1st degree murder.

Additionally, according to an article by pro-choice political action committee (PAC) EMILY’s List, Ryan’s most recent budget proposal would cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) grants by 18%. This program, more commonly known as food stamps, provides food for 3.9 million Americans, who would otherwise go hungry.

The harshest parts of Ryan’s impact on women are his views and proposed policy towards Medicare. According to EMILY’s List, Ryan’s budget proposal would repeal health care reform, making it more difficult for elderly women to have access to affordable health care. This is seen as a huge issue because women currently make up 56% of all Medicare beneficiaries.

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Many politicians have voiced their concerns for women since the selection of Paul Ryan as the Republican vice presidential candidate. For example, New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney wrote an editorial for The Huffington Post shortly after the VP pick was made. Among other things, Maloney stressed the important impact that Ryan could have if “The Comeback Team” makes it to the White House this November.

“His proposed policies would march us backward and would impact millions of American women at every stage of life. Their futures would be endangered, their opportunities diminished, their choices constrained and the implicit guarantee that women and men in their senior years may look forward to a modicum of dignity and security, would be torn to pieces.”

Although the economy may be an extremely important factor in this upcoming election, it will most certainly not be the only deciding factor. Currently, Mitt Romney trails President Barack Obama 39% to 54% when it comes to women. Paul Ryan as presumptive VP for the Republicans could possibly make the gap even wider, especially since women play a very influential and central role in many households and families. In order to win over women, Romney will have to be able to establish his own set of beliefs and policies that balance out the rather extreme views of his running mate.

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