Alexa Petersen | Jeminist: A Jumbo Feminist
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 00:10
Absentee ballots are out, people. Early voting has started. Joe Biden’s about to hit the lectern. It’s go time. Before you check those boxes on your ballot, I have one last plea.
Consider women. If you identify as a woman, consider yourself — the rights over your own body, your own life and your own health. There are so many issues to think about each voting cycle, but I urge you — I just about beg you — to consider women. Our worst−case scenario is an anti−abortion and anti−contraceptive administration that is overly concerned with religious doctrine and under concerned with women’s empowerment and women’s health. That’s the Romney−Ryan administration. Here are the facts.
A researcher could find it quite difficult, in all seriousness, to pin down technicalities of Romney’s thinking on women’s issues because he just simply has spent very little time on it. Mitt Romney’s top strategist said on ABC’s “This Week,” “Mitt Romney is pro−life. He’ll govern as a pro−life president, but you’re going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people’s attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election.”
Little problem, Romney top strategist — I am not a shiny object. Neither are half the people in this country that you just insulted. This quote, while clearly stated inelegantly, demonstrates Romney’s stance on women without a shadow of a doubt. He just really doesn’t care that much. On another note, Romney plans to get rid of Planned Parenthood, which serves 5 million Americans per year. They have 76 percent of services dedicated to preventing unwanted pregnancy with birth control, family planning and other sources. They provide 770,000 pap tests per year and 750,000 breast exams, both geared towards cancer prevention. You’ve heard it a million times, but hear it again: Planned Parenthood is the sole source of healthcare for millions of Americans. We simply cannot afford to sacrifice it to ideological quibbles. That’s a small sample of what could come.
Paul Ryan’s stances on women’s rights are more horrifying than Romney’s. Here’s a sprinkling. First, Ryan co−sponsored a personhood bill in the House of Representatives which would have given legal rights to a fetus starting at the moment of conception. This bill would render a number of FDA−approved birth controls illegal for a number of scientific technicalities. In fact, my own birth control, which I’ve taken for six years, would have been outlawed with this bill. It indeed held a particularly urgent and terrifying clarity to me. The additional consequences of the bill are numerous. Second, Ryan supports banning all abortions, without exception for rape or incest. Ryan is either taking a page from Republican Todd Akin’s book, where rape does not cause pregnancy because the woman’s body “shuts it down,” or he is taking a page from Republican Rick Santorum’s book, who thinks that a woman should be forced to keep the baby of her rapist because it’s a beautiful thing that has come out of something awful. Third, in 2010, Ryan compared the Roe v. Wade case to the Dred Scott v. Sandford case, equating the injustice of ruling that slaves were not people to the injustice of ruling that unborn fetuses were not people. That is just blatantly appalling.
So for those who are planning to vote based on the economy or foreign policy or simply because you don’t vote based on social issues, I implore you to consider what will happen to women in this country if the Romney−Ryan ticket comes to office. Don’t let Romney throw us on his roof with the dog and run away with the election. We are not, and never will be, shiny objects of distraction.
Alexa Petersen is a senior majoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She can be reached at Alexa.Petersen@tufts.edu.