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TO:           Interested Parties
DATE:      Thursday, January 14, 2016


In tonight’s GOP debate and Saturday’s Democratic debate, candidates will continue to show Americans where they stand as the clock winds down to the Iowa Caucus.

As we continue to see this week, the differences between Democrats’ and Republicans’ plans for the nation could not be more stark. This is especially true when it comes to the policies that affect women the most.

On one hand, there is Hillary Clinton. No other candidate demonstrates as strong a commitment to women or has such a steadfast record on behalf of women’s health and rights. And on the other hand, there is every single Republican candidate -- all pushing dangerous policies that would block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood, wanting to ban safe, legal abortion, aiming to slash insurance coverage of birth control, and opposing paid family leave and equal pay legislation.

Tonight you will see Republicans grandstand on their opposition to women’s health care access. But it’s bad policy and bad politics.

  • Every single candidate on stage tonight opposes access to safe, legal abortion --- in some cases  with few or no exceptions. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz would ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, even though a solid majority of the American public opposes such an extreme position, and supports women’s access to safe, legal abortion.


  • Every candidate on stage has prioritized repealing the Affordable Care Act -- many vowing to repeal the law on their first day in office. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates has allowed nearly 8.2 million women to gain coverage.  And more than 55 million women now have birth control coverage without a copay.

  • Republicans want to cut access to care at Planned Parenthood.  2.5 million people rely on Planned Parenthood for care for birth control, STI testing, cancer screenings, sex education, and other preventive services.  Many of them come from low-income households, communities of color, and from areas where Planned Parenthood is the only available provider.

  • The GOP candidates oppose equal pay legislation and paid maternity leave. In fact, John Kasich has resorted to blaming new mothers for the pay gap between men and women -- concluding that if women didn’t take maternity leave, then they wouldn’t fall behind in employment and there would be no wage gap.  

The bottom line is that the GOP candidates are out of touch with women and reality, and would take us far backwards.

More Background on GOP candidates’ positions on women and the economy:

Jeb Bush

  • Cut funds for women’s health, and funnelled money into ineffective abstinence-only programs. Jeb Bush funnelled millions of taxpayer dollars into abstinence-only programs, while cutting funds for crucial family planning programs that health centers like Planned Parenthood provide.

  • Jeb Bush didn’t know what the Paycheck Fairness Act was when he was asked about his stance: “What’s the Paycheck Fairness Act?” asked Bush when confronted with a question on whether he supported the major bill aimed at eliminating the wage gap between men and women. [The Hill, 10/15/14]

Marco Rubio

  • Rubio supports denying women birth control and emergency contraception. Rubio would allow hospitals or health care providers to deny women emergency contraception, a safe and effective form of birth control, and would also allow bosses to deny their employees insurance coverage for birth control.

  • Rubio would cut access to health care. He would repeal the Affordable Care Act and its historic advancements for women, and has voted multiple times to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide health care to nearly 80,000 people in Florida, with 61 percent of health centers providing care in rural or medically underserved areas.

  • Rubio voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, saying the bill was about scoring “political points.” According to the Miami Herald, “The Paycheck Fairness Act requires businesses to show that wage discrepancies between men and women are not based on gender. The measure also bans retaliation against workers who reveal their wages or try to get wage information from their employers. Rubio called the legislation more about ‘scoring political points’ than solving any problems.”  [Miami Herald, Naked Politics Blog, 6/5/12]

  • Rubio likened the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which expanded workers’ rights to take gender-based pay discrimination cases to court, to “an effort to help trial lawyers collect their fees and file lawsuits.” [CNN, 4/7/14]

  • Marco Rubio has introduced a paid family leave plan that would not guarantee that paid leave is afforded to all workers:  According to the New Republic, “His plan would do little to change the country’s status quo. It could, in fact, make things even more unequal when it comes to who can get some compensated time off to recover and bond with a new baby and who has to scramble to afford unpaid time away from work….Rubio’s plan probably won’t change this landscape. It might entice some companies that are on the fence about offering paid leave to make the switch and get a nice tax break in the process. But what he’s proposed wouldn’t cover the cost of providing leave on its own.” [New Republic, 9/29/15]

John Kasich

  • John Kasich opposes abortion and has signed 17 anti-women’s health provisions into law as governor of Ohio, including a provisionbanning publicly funded hospitals and clinics from performing abortions, and a measure requiring the Ohio Department of Health to annually apply for federal funds for abstinence-only programs.

  • Signed into law the 2013 state budget that defunded Planned Parenthood. A provision in the two-year state budget effectively blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving an estimated $1.4 million in funding to provide affordable family planning and preventive care to women, men, and young people. He also increased funding to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” which provide misleading or medically inaccurate information to women seeking counseling about their pregnancy options.

  • Gov. Kasich’s office had the highest wage gap among male and female employees according to an investigation on the issue: The Dayton Daily News did an investigation into the average salary of employees in the offices of five Ohio elected statewide officials found that the pay gap between men and women was almost $10 an hour. 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. [Associated Press, 4/21/14]

Donald Trump

  • Won’t protect access to affordable birth control. Donald Trump says he wants to repeal the 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 Affordable Care Act ensures that women have access to birth control pills without a co-pay.

  • Would shut down the government rather than fund Planned Parenthood. Trump has also said he would defund Planned Parenthood, go so far as to say he he believes that Republicans should shut down the government rather than fund Planned Parenthood.

  • Regarding equal pay legislation, Trump has said he likes the “concept” of it but he has not indicated any policy he would support to address it: “The concept of it, I love. I just don’t want it to be a negative where everybody ends up making the same pay because that’s not our system.” [POLITICO, 8/11/15]

Mike Huckabee

  • Would use federal troops to prevent women from accessing safe and legal abortion. GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has said he is open to the idea of using federal troops and the FBI to stop women from having abortions. Mike Huckabee has said a lot of insulting things about women, most notably his comment that the Affordable Care Act’s provision giving women access to no-copay birth control was created because women “cannot control their own libido.”

  • Advocated for personhood legislation. Mike Huckabee has advocated for and endorsed extreme “personhood” legislation which would ban abortion and could interfere with access to some of the most effective forms of birth control.

Ben Carson

  • Supports denying women access to birth control. Ben Carson supports allowing for-profit businesses like Hobby Lobby to deny their employees access to birth control.

  • Wants to eliminate Medicaid. Ben Carson says he wants to eliminate Medicaid and Medicare, which would have a disproportionate impact on women, specifically women of color and low-income women already struggling to make ends meet.

Ted Cruz

  • Voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2014: Introduced by Sen. Mikulski, and was killed due to a failed vote for cloture. The bill would have provided more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes. [S. 2199, Roll Call Vote 262, 9/15/14]

  • Criticized Obama’s efforts to push equal pay legislation: When President Obama announced that he would use an executive action to strengthen equal pay laws for employees of federal contractors, Senator Cruz said he was just pushing the issue to gain “political show votes.” [FOX News, 4/8/14]

Chris Christie

  • Christie was not worried about the impact of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision on New Jersey women: following the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision, which allowed employers to deny health care coverage of birth control to its employees, Chris Christie was asked if he was concerned that some New Jersey women could lose birth control coverage. Christie’s response was: “No.” When asked why not, he added, “Because I’m not.” [Politico, 7/13/14]

  • Chris Christie has repeatedly killed proposed reforms that would support equal pay for women: Back in 2012, Christie killed two bills that would make it easier for women to learn if they are being discriminated against and recover the back pay they are owed. He did the same thing again in 2014. One bill, called the Wage Transparency Act, would have required state contractors to make their gender, race, and wage information publicly available, as federal contractors will soon have to — Christie called the bill a “senseless bureaucracy." The other bill, the Unfair Wage Recovery Act, would allow a woman who discovers she is being paid less than male co-workers to have the opportunity to seek all the back pay she is owed. [NJ.com, 4/9/13; NJ.com, 8/14/14]


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