Mitt Romney Missed His Chance to Support Women

You must read the book Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and consider the fate of women around the world. It's a hell we cannot imagine in this country. We don't really want that sort of second class citizenship here, do we? We live where we all have a voice and rights. Many in the GOP want to change that.

It's horrifying, and if you really believe there is no war on women, you must also believe there was no Holocaust. It's that extreme and real IMHO. The inimitable Eve Ensler captures it perfectly. Todd Akin is an offensive, ill-informed extremist. Few people on either side of the political aisle would disagree. Many of my conservative friends have decried his stance on rape and pregnancy. However, what many people don’t realize is that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, though quick to write off Akin to separate themselves from his extremism, have an inextricable link to his ideologies.

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In fact, Mitt Romney trumpeted the endorsement of Dr. Willke in 2007, the same doctor behind Akin’s original claim that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate” rape. Romney and Ryan have both supported banning abortion in all instances, and Ryan even tried to narrow the definition of rape. Ryan co-sponsored a bill with Akin that would re-define rape. Let me tell you from personal experience, rape needs no redefinition. Click over to Violence Unsilenced and spend some time reading firsthand accounts from victims of sexual and domestic abuse. The stories are harrowing, heartbreaking, and worse than anything Hollywood could write.

Romney simply denounced Todd Akin’s remarks but missed an opportunity to comment on ways he supports women or even underscore what a horrific crime rape is. He really had a chance to speak up and out for women; instead he spoke out to protect his own campaign. His words were empty because they were simply water on the fire that evaporated instantly. Where is this supposed call for exceptions? Certainly not in black and white on Romney’s website. But of course the hot buttons like defunding Planned Parenthood and overturning Roe v. Wade are front and center. The simple fact is that Mitt Romney does not really support women’s issues. The Republican platform, penned under Romney’s eye and to be ratified at his crowning this week, cements the GOP’s sharia-like philosophy to relegate women to second class citizens.

It just seems ironic (and disingenuous) that Romney and Ryan are now trying to seem somewhat moderate on women’s health, while at the same time their party is voting on an extreme platform. Be informed. Please. The women and girls in your life are counting on us. In closing, I just want to share some words from my 60-year-old friend, who has had her own religious, social, and political epiphanies. She has raised two daughters and now has two granddaughters. Her paradigm is different from mine, yet her words carry a weight and power and credibility that stem from experience.

In her words:

It would totally boggle my mind (and disappoint me greatly) if any woman I know would vote for ANY republican in ANY race this November. I lived through the sixties and the fight for women’s rights, and these people are trying to take it all away. I won’t tell you what they called us back then, but it wasn’t even as polite as today. Our fight was so that you could be able to make decisions about your own body and be anything you wanted and not be pigeon-holed by men. Sandra Fluke is my new hero. I left the Catholic Church (joined the Lutheran Church -- Martin Luther & I had so much more in common than the Pope and I) because of the oppression of women. I had two daughters, and they were relegated to the “back of the church.” So when these candidates try to make the contraception issue a religious freedom issue, I cannot contain my anger. The Church must have been giddy to have all this support from Republicans.

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