What the Paul Ryan Choice Means for Women

By Nancy L. Cohen, August 12, 2012

It’s official. With his selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney has made the campaign to strip Amerian women of our freedom, equality, and economic opportunity a top priority of his presidency. Any ambiguity about Mitt’s personal investment in the antiwomen extremism that infects the Republican base and congressional delegation has now been cleared up.

Paul Ryan is a full service right-winger, a a far-right anti-birth control/ anti-abortion zealot and Grover-Norquist Ayn Rand style anti-government fanatic rolled into one.

Ryan is rightfully known for his budget “blueprint” (and wrongly known as a fiscal conservative.) His Robin Hood in reverse budget, it is critical to note, would have a devastating effect on women in particular. Consider health care. Between 9 and 18 million women would lose their health care from Ryan’s proposed cuts to Medicaid. Add to that the roughly 5 million women who receive their reproductive health care and cancer screenings through Title X—which Ryan calls for eliminating. Romney/Ryan’s central promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act would deprive 17 million uninsured women of the health care they would be eligible for under health care reform. Analyses of his proposed tax breaks for the wealthy estimate that 2/3 of the cuts to pay for the boondoggle would come from programs, such as nutritional aid and food stamps, that serve low-income Americans who are disproportionately women and children. Ryan is giving the expression ‘from the mouth of babes’ a whole new meaning.

Working women too have much to dread from Ryan. Remember how Romney and his campaign danced around the question of his view of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? Well, Ryan voted against it. So now we know. Ryan has also voted against raising the minimum wage. The Ryan-Romney promise to shrink the size of government means eliminating government workers—disproportionately women. Ryan’s budget cuts aid to the states by 20%. Goodbye teachers and nurses.

On the social issues, Ryan rivals the best of the religious nuts. He has voted against stem cell research and for carrying guns in the national parks. He voted for a constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriages and against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

The tell on Ryan’s extremism is his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother. He was a co-sponsor of a federal fetal Personhood bill defining life as beginning at fertilization, which would have made some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization illegal. He supported a bill that would have allowed hospitals to deny emergency care to pregnant women. As he himself has said, “I’m as pro-life as a person gets.” (See Michelle Goldberg’s must read for more on this.)

Take Romney-Ryan’s slashing of the social safety net, evisceration of equal pay laws, and attacks on birth control and abortion, and you see what the Romney-Ryan team wants for American womanhood.

Pregnant, underpaid, and dependent on men. That’s the GOP’s vision for us, ladies.

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Nancy L. Cohen