The Presidential Candidates: Why Barack Obama Is a Wise Choice
By Martin Brown
When all the rhetoric has ended and the last attack ads have been aired, America’s women will be left to decide between two very different visions for their future.
Elections have consequences. Arguably for women, this presidential election is an especially critical one. Let’s look at just a few of the issues at stake come November 6th:
A Woman’s Right to Choose
Mitt Romney has waffled back and forth over the years between pro life and pro choice. Today he is committed to supporting an anti abortion candidate for the next vacancy on the Supreme Court. The loss of one vote, perhaps the elderly cancer survivor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Roe Vs. Wade is likely to be reversed.
Naturally a host of other decisions regarding the advancement of women’s rights will come before the court in the next four years, and one more conservative judge will create a six to three super majority that is likely to consistently vote against legislation that attempts to level the playing field between men and women both inside and outside of the workplace. In Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, we have a very good idea of the future choices that Obama is likely to make. Another one or two vacancies, created by the departure of a Scalia or a Kennedy, both of whom are approaching 80 during an Obama second term, would help secure a woman’s right to choose for a generation to come.
Access to Healthcare
Obama spent a lot of his political capital securing essential healthcare reforms during his first two years in office. The political beating he has taken over Obamacare has brightened the future for all women.
First, for young women, because they can now stay on their parents health plan until twenty-six, rather than having to secure their own coverage, starting at age nineteen.
Second, for women of childbearing age, beginning in 2014 insurance companies will not be able to exclude or charge additional fees for maternity coverage.
Third, insurance companies will soon be prohibited from refusing care based on “pre-existing conditions.”
Romney has pledged to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” Governor Romney, however, has never given voters an overview as to what rights this “replacement” legislation would continue and what benefits will end. Considering the significant strides forward contained within Obama’s health reform legislation it’s reasonable to assume that Romney’s “replacement legislation” would reverse many of these improvements..
Equal Pay for Equal Work
The first piece of legislation President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Currently, the Obama administration continues to push for additional assurances with the Paycheck Fairness Act. The simple fact is that for all the talk about a level playing field a woman today receives 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man performing the same job. There’s been a lot of progress over the last four years regarding maternity leave and other workplace issues that directly impact a woman’s interests. Obama has moved these important issues forward it’s highly unlikely that Romney would keep that forward momentum going.
We’ve heard a lot during this campaign cycle about millionaires and billionaires putting huge sums of money into political action committees, aka, PACs. These are not acts of altruism. They are investments made with the direct intent of supporting issues, like capital gains that are essential to the one percent. The middle class voter has very little left over after the bills are paid to even dream of playing in the high stakes game of politics.
For men or women who make up the “99 percent,” our vote is the only currency we have to advance our own self-interest. Regardless of what you think of President Obama or Governor Romney, or their wives, their families, their personal likes and dislikes, I would suggest your choice be determined by your own self-interests. Protect your wages, your healthcare options, and the Social Security benefits you’ve been paying into, since your very first job.
I might aspire to the one percent, but for my life and for the issues that really matter to me and my family, the choice is clear. I’m hoping that, come January 20th, Barack Obama begins his second term of fighting for those issues that matter most to me, my wife, our son and our daughter.
The Obama campaign is right: now is not the time to go back. It’s time for us to continue moving forward.
Which means also voting for a Congress and Senate (and its “super majority” of sixty votes) who will give him the support he needs, so that he can best fight for those things that are important to you.
Martin Brown is SingleMindedWomen.com’s Health Channel editor. He is also the author of Fit in 50 Days: Creating the Habits that will Keep You Lean for Life