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Under a Mitt Romney presidency, American women could very well lose reproductive rights, contraception coverage in health care, any chance at achieving pay equity with men and many other advances made in the last four decades.
Of course, discovering where Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, really stands on any issue is like playing Three Card Monte on a street corner. But based on his effort to win over right-wing extremists during GOP primary, we know Romney has made a lot of promises to social conservatives. Romney told them he would:
For more on what Romney’s policies would do to American women, follow the life of “Julia,” a fictional character developed by the Obama campaign that explains the consequences of Romney’s extremist policies at every stage of her life.
“President Obama has made fighting for the rights and needs of American women a cornerstone of his campaign,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, who directs the union’s Women’s Department. “His agenda for women moves us forward. Mitt Romney’s agenda sets us back 50 years.”
Estrada pointed out some of President Obama’s accomplishments for women, including:
Maybe the best way to tell the difference between the candidates is with the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the first law Obama signed as president. The law amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by making it clear that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each discriminatory paycheck, an important point for women who have been discriminated against in pay for years.
In 2007, the conservative wing of the Supreme Court, led by Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas, ruled that the statute of limitations begins on the date the employer makes the initial discriminatory wage decision, not the date of the most recent discriminatory paycheck .This had the effect of invalidating many discrimination claims because women often didn’t find out about the discrimination until years after it started.
To date, Mitt Romney has refused to say whether he would have signed the measure into law. When asked on CNN whether he supported the law, there was an awkward six seconds of silence before a campaign worker told a reporter that, “We’ll get back to you on that.” Later, in an interview with Diane Sawyer, Romney still refused to say if he would have signed the bill into law, although he now says he won’t seek to change a law that helps women get some measure of fairness. Of course, if he gets to appoint justices like the ones above, he won’t have to change the law – the justices will do it for him. For all of candidate Romney’s bluster about being on the “economic side” of women, he just doesn’t get it about the economic hardships they face through paycheck discrimination.
“Anyone who wants to be president of the United States shouldn’t have to think about whether hardworking, responsible middle-class families deserve the opportunity to succeed,” Ledbetter said in a opinion piece for cnn.org. “We know all too well what it's like to hear silence when we fight for fairness – and we've heard enough.”