A GOP War on Women?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A woman votes in the New Hampshire primary at Bedford High School. (Andrew Burton/Getty)

In recent weeks, the Republican Party has found itself entrenched in battles over women’s health and lifestyle issues; most notably, over access to contraception. At the same time, many female voters, regardless of party affiliation, are finding themselves disenchanted with the Republican candidates.

According to a new poll conducted by CBS and the New York Times, only about a third of the women polled said they would vote for Mitt Romney over President Obama. When asked if they would vote for Rick Santorum over Obama, the president held the same advantage. Do the Republicans have a serious female problem on their hands?

Joyce Kimball is a retired secretary who has voted Republican in every presidential election, with the exception of the year JFK ran. Meredith Warren is a Republican strategist who is supporting Mitt Romney in this election.


Joyce Kimball and Meredith Warren

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [11]

Mary from Denver

So basically, when enough Muslim's become elected officials it will be their turn to freely practise their religion and Sharia Law will be the way we all get to go, and so on and so on. Winner calls the shots. But wait! When all those different groups of pilgrims got on their boats to come to this place, weren't they coming in order to get away from a central government that told them how to belive and how to practise their particular brand of Christian faith (i.e. state religion, The Church of England, etc.)? So now conservatives say, in the name of that freedom, they can pass laws that dictate private activity of everyone according to their conservative faith constraints? No matter how contrary these dictates are to the faith of others? I guess we had better start getting straight on the religious faith and practises of who we elect. Cuz it's how we're going to be living. Right? Just like it always has been since the constitution was ratified by all those quibbling colonies in the name of 21st Century conservative evangelical Christian practises and no others. Wow, they were prescient.

Mar. 15 2012 07:35 PM
Kitty from New York

To Meredith Warren: You're for smaller government but also for the government staying out of your private life. So is Romney lying to get an endorsement of the far right? Or is the smaller government he brings worth it for the increased government involvment in your private life? I'm amazed to hear Republican women keep says things like the candidates "shouldn't say these things, I don't think they realize how it sounds." They shouldn't say it if they don't believe it. And if they believe it, they should say it because we should know that is that we are actually voting for in the candiate.

Mar. 14 2012 08:14 PM


First, you are mistaken in thinking that all private insurance plans cover "vasectomies and Viagra." Many don't; and I would personally be opposed to any federal mandate that those medical services be covered. So that is a non-issue and an illegitimate debating point.

Second; nowhere in the Constitution will you find the phrase "separation of church and state," although it is a principle that I don't mind too much. I don't like the idea of a government establishing any religions or religious laws. But of course we are not talking about establishing any religious laws in this case. What we are talking about is a government order telling a religious organization how to run its private health insurance program.

You left out the next phrase of the text of the First Amendment; "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion, OR PROTECTING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF." So you see; I can, and I did, read the Constitution.

Mar. 14 2012 07:43 PM

So typical of MALE conservatives... those who don't have to deal with the consequences of this religious take over of government policy, are the most ardent defenders of it. Never mind that basic coverage includes viagra and vasectomies, until some religious institution objects to that anyway - then we'll see if they change their misogynistic tune.

Charles & Ed say this is a 1st Amendment issue and I would agree, since it actually says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" - as in, SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE! Obviously, these boys are just regurgitating what pundits are telling them to say, instead of actually READING the 1st Amendment for themselves.

Mar. 14 2012 11:53 AM

A real "War on Women" will be if a woman is selected as a VP on a Republican ticket and the ferocious sexism and hate of the left will be gleefully directed at her like it was at Palin with the media chortling their hypocritical approval.

This issue is about a President violating the Constitution again that he swore to defend and is acting more like Pope than President. If the US Congress doesn't call him on it who will as the Republican opposition is deliberately defamed and derided by a political motivated media that seeks to misdirect the public.

Mar. 14 2012 10:59 AM
Jack of Corona from Corona, Queens NY

There is nothing new about the Republican Party finding itself entrenched in battles over women’s health and lifestyle issues.

As a result of Nixon’s Southern Strategy’,( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy), The Republic has been flying to the ultra conservatism since late 1960’s.
In the 1970’s there was the rise of the anti – “ women’s lib”, ultra conservative doctrines of Phyllis Schafly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllis_Schlafly) , and the anti-gay movement of Anita Bryant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Bryant ), to name a few.
Then there are the culture wars that exploded in the 1980’s during the Reagan presidency, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_war . The GOP was in your bedroom, your private life, your schools, classrooms, etc. THEY had all the right answers on how you should think and live, everyone else was WRONG!
This extreme Rightward movement was intense. The party purged its moderates.
After loosing the 1992 election to Clinton’s “It’s the economy stupid”, their fiscal voice starting rising to a scream. In 1994 Newt Gingich introduced his Contract for(on) America. And about that time the Republicans took on Grover Norquist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover_Norquist , http://www.atr.org/about-grover as their fiscal and tax spiritual leader.
Since their takeover of the House in the 2010 election, the GOP has been most visibly demonstrating its faithful devotion to its most extreme principles - in the U.S. Congress and throughout many states and municipalities. It is a total war against taxes, government at all levels, labor, women, American civilization.

Mar. 14 2012 08:13 AM
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Mar. 14 2012 03:07 AM

I used to be a Republican too, back when they seemed to really want to reduce government spending and influence. However, once the social conservatives began to hold sway, I found it harder and harder to find Republican candidates worth supporting. Now I proudly vote for Libertarian candidates and I tell everybody who liked the Republican party before it was corrupted by the "moral majority", that they really need to take a good look at the Libertarians.

I voted for Ron Paul in the Michigan primary because he is a Republican cut from the old cloth, even if I don't agree with everything he does. At least he is far more concerned with fiscal matters than social AND he does not have a track record that demonstrates a lack of fiscal sanity (like Mitt and Rick.)

Mar. 13 2012 03:55 PM

If I were to start a business and decided I was morally against teeth cleanings and blood sugar screening, does that mean I could decline to offer that in my health plan?

Put that way, it starts to sound pretty ridiculous, doesn't it?

These people are aware that there are women out there for whom pregnancy could have serious health consequences, including death, right? That for any woman-- because yes, women do still die in childbirth these days, as well as suffer from illnesses and disabilities that can range from gestational-only to lasting the rest of their lives, and no one can know for sure whether she'll be affected or not-- contraception is a medication used to prevent serious dis-health, same as blood-pressure or heart medication?

When men have to face the fact that they could spend almost a year with their activity and eating restricted, physical ailments, the need to buy new clothing, hormonal fluctuations that can lead to severe depression, and difficulties getting around (symptoms of even the healthiest pregnancy), then they can tell me whether I have the right to choose whether I get pregnant. Until then, they have no clue.

Maybe these religious employers should start hiring only women who aren't interested in contraception, then. After all, why should they have to support the lifestyle of people who are interested in family planning, right? Hey, if they want to spend that much time with much of their workforce off on maternity and paternity leave for three months out of every year, more power to them. I'm sure the temp agencies in their area will be ecstatic.

While they're at it, they can pony up the extra public funds for maternity care and delivery for women who find it difficult to afford contraception, let alone the tens of thousands of dollars required for pregnancy and childbirth.

Mar. 13 2012 12:12 PM

Ed is right. The national mainstream media, and quite significantly including public radio, has made an argument out of "access to contraception," when in fact it is hardly an issue.

There seems to be very significant, measurably broad support for a religious exception to forced contraception insurance coverage on religious organizations. By 21 points in a recent poll:


And Ann Coulter (wouldn't she be a good person to ask about any supposed conservative 'war on the rights of women'?) has firmed up her support for Mitt Romney, noting that Rick Santorum's campaign of social-issue conservatism is better left to a campaign for state office, like governor, in which our system of federalism addresses those issues first and foremost -- not the federal government:


Mar. 13 2012 12:07 PM
Ed from Larchmont

The administration has largely succeeded in framing the health care religious freedom issue as a contraception issue (see Ms. Fluke). In reality it is a constitutional issue on whether the government can force a religious institution or person to act against their conscience. It's a first amendment issue.

There is no question about the availability of contraception: this is all but guaranteed by Title X legislation. Plus contraception is given out for free through other government programs, and why does the government give all that money to Planned P.? For the last 30 years religious institutions have not been forced to fund contraception in their health care plans. Why make a change? Because they want to crush the influence of religion in public life - even if it has a constitutional right to be there.

Mar. 13 2012 08:04 AM

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