Whether you believe that the war on women is real or imaginary, one thing is certain: Women's rights could be devastated by this next election.
In February, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., convened an all-male panel evaluating contraceptive provisions for private health insurers. After Mr. Issa determined that Ms. Sandra Fluke was not qualified to speak on birth control, Rush Limbaugh called Ms. Fluke a "slut" and "prostitute." Foster Friess, the billionaire backing Rick Santorum, recommended that women hold aspirin between their knees to avoid pregnancy. Rep. Kelly compared having the Affordable Care Act pay for women's contraceptives to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin recently commented that "legitimately" raped women rarely become pregnant.
This comment supported the platform forbidding termination of all pregnancies - even those resulting from rape or incest. Mr. Akin and his cohorts believe a woman should bear the child of a rapist. They believe it is all right to force a minor to birth her sister or brother. Last year, the House passed the "Let Women Die Act," which not only allowed hospitals first refusal to perform an abortion to save a woman's life, but also OK'd denial of a transfer to save the dying woman.
More than 900 bills have been introduced in 2012 limiting women's constitutional rights based on the 14th Amendment, which guarantees personal privacy. It does not give the primarily men convened in Congress decision power over how women should live. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 99 percent of all women have used birth control (98 percent if you are Catholic). According to the Scientific American, not controlling the population with birth control may be a death-sentence for the human race.
Next, let's examine the latest analyses of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, which was a negotiated bipartisan effort. American Medical Association President Jeremy A. Lazarus stated that his organization supports the ACA. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) also supports it. The law promises ample affordable health-care coverage for all older adults which are predominantly women, but especially for those with low incomes and pre-existing medical conditions. The Congressional Budget Office analyzes the fiscal impact of a bill. Recently, the CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the Affordable Care Act combined with HR 4872 will result in a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion from 2010 to 2019.
The Congressional Budget Office found that eliminating the Affordable Care Act would increase the deficit by about $230 billion. Repealing the law would also negatively impact millions of women and children. The act provides affordable health insurance, including preventive health care. ACA would not allow women to be denied affordable coverage due to pre-existing conditions including pregnancy and domestic violence. Women can have their birth control paid. Yet most Republicans want it repealed despite a Harvard study calculating that several thousand deaths annually result from lack of coverage.
The Catholic Bishops have deemed Ryan's Plan as devastating to the needy. Nonetheless, Mr. Ryan has arrogantly dismissed this. When it comes to Social Security, Ryan believes he knows best despite Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and many others' affirmation that Social Security is one of the most successful and efficient programs in American history. The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee found that women in their retirement years are more likely to rely on Social Security. After age 65, Social Security typically accounts for more than two-thirds of women's income. Moreover, many of the long-term shortfalls of the program could be bridged IF the RICH pay their share of taxes.
Ryan's Budget would convert Medicare into a voucher system that would not keep pace with the rising costs of health care. Consequently, seniors relying on Medicare would absorb the economic burden. By contrast, ACA reduces payments to medical providers, drug companies and hospitals and does not impact Medicare benefits negatively according to Dr. Robert Reich, Time Magazine's "one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century." In fact, it also closes a "donut hole" which would lower prescription drug costs for seniors. Finally, 115,461 disabled West Virginia adults rely on Medicaid. Almost 200,000 West Virginia children get insurance through Medicaid. Most of the state's seniors who need long-term care use Medicaid. "Ruthless Ryan" has aggressively assaulted this program with $1.4 trillion in proposed cuts over the next 10 years.
According to Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Ryan's budget would cut education, training, employment, and social services spending by 33 percent. Subsequently, 100,000 children may not have Head Start, and 80,000 children might go without child care. Reductions to Pell Grants could leave one million additional students unable to attend college.
The Great Recession has been repeatedly linked to two sources: funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Bush-era tax cuts for the rich. This tax-cut measure expires again this year, but do you know that another extension passed the House recently? These same legislators have the nerve to tell average Americans they are concerned over the "deficit" problem.
According to Reich, Ryan would push public debt to over 175 percent of GDP by 2050. The Ryan Budget would boost unemployment. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Ryan's plan would mean 1.3 million fewer jobs next year and 2.8 million fewer the next. Dr. Reich further states that Ryan's Plan would raise taxes on families earning between $30,000 and $40,000 by almost $500 yearly. At the same time, Ryan would reduce taxes on millionaires by approximately $500,000 yearly on average. The rich would receive more in tax cuts yearly than most Americans, especially women, earn for several years of hard work.
If you get Social Security, public assistance, Medicare, Medicaid (as approximately 20 percent of West Virginians do) or think the wealthy should pay for their fair share of taxes, then fight back. Women, it is time to send congressional leaders a message. We have the same constitutional guarantees as any man. Vote for yourselves and vote against any candidate who voted to extend tax cuts for the rich AGAIN, voted for the Ryan Budget and voted against the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is absolutely guilty on all counts!
Vogt, of Great Cacapon, is a member of the West Virginias National