[Columns, letters or cartoons published are the work of the attributed author and do not necessarily represent the offical views or opinions of “The Highland Echo.”]
If you have yet to figure it out, women’s issues are an important in this presidential election. The questions in the second presidential debate often seemed to relate to women’s issues in some way. Both campaigns are focusing on undecided female voters. They are considered to possibly be one of the most influential demographics in this election.
Much talk has been centered on the “binders full of women” comment that republican Mitt Romney made in the second debate. Of course, each side has their own interpretive spin on this comment, but the fire that was started from this comment helped emphasize just how important women’s issues are in this election.
Now, where do democrats stand on the broad term “women’s issues”? President Obama, in the second debate, continuously explained how Romney wished to eliminate financing for Planned Parenthood. Obama explained that women do not only rely on Planned Parenthood for contraceptive care.
“They rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings. That’s a pocketbook issue for women and families all across the country,” Obama said.
This is one of the many ways that Obama tied women’s issues into the economy. Planned Parenthood provides a number of important services to women that they would not be able to afford otherwise. How is taking these services away from them fair or acceptable to women voters? Obama also explained how Romney would let employers choose whether or not to provide contraception coverage to their employees through their insurance plans.
Romney denied this; however, in the past he has said that he would support this choice of employers based on religious grounds. “Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives,” Romney said. For comments like these, he has been criticized for flipflopping on the issue of contraception and abortion. This seems to be an attempt by the Romney campaign to lead undecided female voters towards his cause. When asked about pay equity for women, Obama explained, “This is not just a women’s issue. This is a family issue. This is a middle-class issue.
And that’s why we’ve got to fight for it.” Once again, Obama tied women’s issues, especially in the case of families where a woman is the primary breadwinner, back to the economy. Obama went on to remind viewers that the first bill he signed as president was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This act makes it easier for women to sue employers if they believe that they are not being paid fairly. Obama explained how fair pay was a major problem in many cases for women.
“So we fixed that,” Obama said. “And that’s an example of the kind of advocacy that we need because women are increasingly the breadwinners in the family.”
Romney would not say whether he would have supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Romney’s response is what led to his infamous “binders full of women” comment. Romney explained how he wished to have more qualified women on his cabinet. “And so we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet,” Romney said. Why did Romney have to go looking for qualified women?
The Obama campaign seemingly has had no problem in finding qualified women to support him and work on his campaign. It is possible that this is because many women, in most issues, tend to lean towards the liberal tendencies of the Democratic Party. Because of this, many women tend to vote democrat. Democratic campaigns do not have to go looking for female supporters.In this election, it seems that Obama will manage to keep his double- digit lead among women voters.
After all, he actually has policy to defend his support of women’s issues while all Romney seems to have is a vow to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and a “binder full of women.”