Republican Women’s Policy Committee Members not Great for Women’s Policy

In another attempt to prove that they don’t hate women, yesterday the GOP announced the formation of the Women’s Policy Committee, a caucus consisting of the 24 female Republican members of the House of Representatives.

Committee Vice Chair Representative Anne Buerkle (NY) claimed that the “Women’s Policy Committee will further enhance our ability to serve women everywhere by educating Members on the issues that impact women.” The video announcing the formation of the committee is below:

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past year, you know that the GOP is being charged with attacking women’s rights in the areas of healthcare, domestic violence, and equal pay protections. This committee seems to be an attempt by the Republicans to prove that this is not, in fact, the case; however, after watching the video, I couldn’t help but notice something was missing: any mention of pro-women legislation or any sort of response to the accusations that have been dominating the political scene for the past few months. The only mention was a quick sentence spoken by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS) at about 1:30: Republican women are working to “put healthcare decisions back into your hands.”

Oh really now, Mrs. Jenkins? Let’s have a quick look at how these ladies are working to put healthcare decisions back into our hands. According to ThinkProgress:

  • 22 out of the 24 women on the Committee voted against new provisions in the Violence Against Women Act that would have expanded protections to Native Americans, undocumented immigrants, and LGBT individuals.
  • 21 out of 24 co-sponsored the “Respect for the Rights of Conscience Act,” which allows any and all providers to refuse to provide contraception coverage if they object to it on religious grounds, despite Obama’s added exceptions for religious institutions.
  • In 2009, when the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law, all 15 of the women who were in the House at the time voted against it. This Act extends the amount of time in which a women can file suit against her employer for pay discrimination based on gender.
  • 13 of those 15 women also voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which sought to close loopholes still left open by the Fair Pay Act and strengthen incentives to avoid pay discrimination (women still earn on average 77.4 centers per every dollar earned by men).
  • 20 of the 24 women have earned a score of 0 from Planned Parenthood based upon their voting record on reproductive rights. A score of 0 means they have “voted against reproductive health at every opportunity.” The scorecard is available here.

After reading all of that, it seems pretty obvious why these women are avoiding any mention of women’s issues in their video: it’s because their voting records seem to imply they have no interest in protecting women’s rights in the workplace, at home, or in the doctor’s office.

While it is indeed important to remember that there are more issues facing our country than our reproductive health, this glaring omission speaks volumes about where Republicans actually stand. Yes, it is important to create jobs and boost the economy, but what good are all those new jobs if women have no legislation effectively protecting them from discrimination? What good are all of those jobs if a woman can’t work because she has an unexpected pregnancy due to lack of access to contraception? What good are those jobs if a woman gets beaten to death by her abusive spouse because she lacked the necessary outlets for reporting him?

Dramatic, I know, but it just goes to show how far-reaching women’s issues are. They affect everyone, not just Rush Limbaugh’s imaginary group of slutty women who pop birth control like candy and get abortions every other Tuesday. Until these women, and the Republican party overall, recognize this, they are not going to be able to convince anyone that they are, in fact, pro-woman.

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