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GOP Presidential Candidates Ignore Half the Population

Washington, DC -- Tonight’s GOP debate was supposed to focus on the economy. But there’s one important issue that never came up --- the devastating economic impact these candidates’ policies on women’s health.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Tonight, Republican presidential candidates laid out an economic plan for America that would ignore fifty percent of Americans. Not one person on tonight’s stage supports policies for paid family leave, nearly none supports an increase in the minimum wage, and all of them oppose access to birth control, want to ban safe and legal abortion, and would block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers --- taking our country back decades. No matter which way they spin it, these candidates’ policies would leave women devastated."


The GOP’s $502.4 Billion Price Tag for Women:

Repealing No-Copay Birth Control

The Affordable Care Act has meant a lot of changes for women, but one of the most immediate was its birth control benefit --- thanks to which,more than 55 million women are now eligible for birth control without a copay.

Arecent studypublished in Health Affairs found that the Affordable Care Act has saved women $1.4 billion a year on birth control pills alone — showing the clear economic impact that access to no co-pay birth control has had on women’s lives. The study found that the mean out-of pocket expense for the pill declined by 38 percent between June 2012 and June 2013 and declined 68 percent for IUDs in the same time period.  The study also found that before the birth control benefit went into effect, contraceptive costs accounted for between 30 and 44 percent of women’s total out-of-pocket health care costs.

Unfortunately, every single GOP candidate on the main stage tonight has advocated for a repeal in the Affordable Care Act --- many, such as Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio and John Kasich, targeting birth control specifically.

………………………….......Cost per year for women:$1.4 billion

Lifting Provisions to Prevent Gender Discrimination in Health Care Costs

The Affordable Care Act also includes a provision that prevents insurance companies from using what’s called a “gender rating” to charge women higher premiums than men for the same benefits. Before this provision went into effect in 2014,women paid an estimated $1 billion more than men for the same health care plans.

All GOP candidates taking the stage tonight would repeal this provision, sending women back into an era where they paid more for health care, simply because of their gender.

………………………….......Cost per year for women: $1 billion

Opposing Equal Pay for Equal Work

While it’s getting better for some, women still earn less than men every year ---costing women an estimated $500 billion each year. Everyone agrees that women should get paid the same as men for the same work, right? Wrong. Inexplicably, the GOP field is opposed to that idea.  

Look no further thanGovernor Kasich’s office, which had the highest wage gap among male and female employees according to an investigation on the issue.  It found that women working in Republican Gov. John Kasich's office earn $9.81-an-hour less, on average, than men. The pay gap in governor Kasich’s was the highest gender pay gap among the all statewide officeholders that were investigated.

The rest of the field isn’t much better. Fiorina hasdismissed legislation that would address wage disparity based on gender. And Jeb Bushdoesn’t even know what the Paycheck Fairness Act is.  

Marco Rubio voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, and went as far to say that this bill was about scoring“political points.” There is nothing political about working to ensure that women are paid equally -- it’s just the right thing to do.  

………………………….......Cost per year for women: more than$500 Billion

Blocking Access to Birth Control

Access to birth control has meant more educational and economic options for women. Since the 1960s when oral contraceptives became availablethe number of women in the U.S. labor force has more than tripled, women’s income now constitute a growing proportion of family income, and the number of women who complete four or more years of college is six times what it was before birth control became legal.

How else has birth control helped women’s economic opportunity?

  • Birth control has helped women move closer to economic equity.Research finds that availability of the pill is responsible for a third of women’s wage increases relative to men. By the 1980s and ’90s, the women who had early access to the pill were making eight percent more each year than those who did not.

  • Women who have access to the Pill at a younger age are twenty percent more likely to go to college and make more money later in life. According to astudy on early access to oral contraceptives, younger teenagers are more likely to choose to attend college as well as earn higher wages over their extended lifetime if they incorporate the Pill into their daily life.

  • Women who have early access to ‘The Pill’ make 8% more each year.Research finds thatavailability of the pill is responsible for a third of women’s wage increases relative to men. By the 1980s and ’90s, the women who had early access to the pill were making eight percent more each year than those who did not.

  • Voters recognize the inextricable links between reproductive health and economic stability. The PerryUndem Research/Communication grouppolledvoters about women’s health, and the vast majority said that a woman’s ability to control whether or when she has children affects her basic measure of equality and economic opportunity. Over 80% of voters surveyed agree that a woman’s ability to control the timing of her job and family is a fundamental component of women’s equality. 72% believe that reproductive health access and planning is directly related to financial stability.

  • Women who use birth control are more economically secure. A2012 report from the Guttmacher Institute confirmed that women use contraception to better achieve their life goals, with the majority of participants reporting that contraception has had a significant impact on their lives:

    • allowing them to take better care of themselves or their families (63 percent);

    • support themselves financially (56 percent);

    • complete their education (51 percent), or keep or get a job (50 percent).  

    • Other reasons for using contraception, reported by a majority of respondents, include not being ready to have children (63 percent), feeling that using birth control gives them better control over their lives (60 percent), and wanting to wait until their lives are more stable to have a baby (60 percent).

Yet despite this, every single GOP Presidential candidate has opposed making it easier for women to access birth control --- with some wanting to block women’s access to birth control all together.

  • Jeb Bush: Jeb Bush has compared the Obama administration's effort to mandate health insurance coverage for contraceptives to “Big Brother,” and has said that the Affordable Care Act is “flawed to its core.” [USA Today, 5/9/15;POLITICO, 10/20/13]

  • John Kasich: Kasich, when serving in the House of Representatives, voted against an amendment to require the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan to cover prescription contraception just as they cover other prescriptions. [H. Amdt. 728 to H.R. 4104, Roll Call Vote 290, 7/16/98]

  • Marco Rubio: In opposition to the birth control benefit, Rubio said, “We must stop the unconstitutional mandate under Obamacare that requires church-affiliated organizations to offer their workers private-insurance coverage without out-of-pocket charges for birth control….” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/30/14;Sen. Marco Rubio, 3/1/12]

  • Rand Paul: Paul praised the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision that would give employers a permission slip to deny their employees access to birth control coverage. Paul also voted for the Blunt amendment, which would have extended an already expansive refusal provision in the health care law, allowing employers and health insurers to object to providing essential health care coverage on the basis of religious belief and moral conviction. [RAND PAC, 6/30/14; ,Blunt Amendment to S. 1813, Roll Call vote 24, 3/1/12]

  • Ben Carson: Ben Carson supported the Hobby Lobby ruling, calling it “fortunate” and in an op-ed published in the Washington Times, Carson called the ACA’s birth control benefit symptomatic of an “entitlement society.” [The Washington Times, 7/8/14]

  • Donald Trump: Says he wants to repealthe Affordable Care Act saying he would kill the Affordable Care Act with the stroke of a pen on his first day in office if he were president. [The Daily Caller, 1/15/14]

  • Ted Cruz: Ted Cruz has said that he believes that birth control is an “abortion-inducing drug.” Cruz also introduced a measure to strike a DC law that prevents employers operating in DC from discriminating against workers based on their personal reproductive health care decisions. The law that Cruz unsuccessfully tried to get rid of prevents employers from firing an employee for using birth control, having an abortion, or using in vitro fertilization. [Salon, 9/26/14;The Washington Post, 3/18/15]

  • Carly Fiorina: Fiorina supported the Hobby Lobby case and said that women “had plenty of access to birth control both before and after” the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, dismissing the impact that this case had on women who can now be denied birth control by their employers. [ThinkProgress, 2/28/15]

It’s clear that, whether for their stance on access to birth control, opposition to equal pay, or simply because of how radically they’d roll back access to basic reproductive health care --- women just can’t afford to elect these GOP candidates.

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