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Amy Lazenby

By Amy Lazenby || Once again, South Carolina’s first female governor is pontificating on what she believes women care about. First, it was contraception.  Now, it’s abortion, the economy, and whether the Democratic party is the better party for women voters in this election year.

Addressing reporters at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida last week, Governor Haley said ”these debates [abortion] that you fellas keep talking about, that the Dems keep talking about, is just not where women are …”

As a matter of fact, Governor Haley, it’s exactly where quite a few women are. We are pro-choice. We are active defenders of Roe v. Wade, and we are pushing back against the multiple recent laws in many states – including our own signed by you two weeks ago – that attempt to limit that choice for women.

We would prefer to make that very intimate decision for ourselves.

Haley did preface her abortion remark with, “women are not one issue voters, we care about the economy.”  That’s absolutely true.  But abortion and the economy are not mutually exclusive issues.  Often, a woman who chooses to terminate knows that having a baby will limit her choices in an economy with so few employment options already, and that the child she brings into the world will live in poverty.

Haley also said, “The only people that are saying that the Democrats are the better party for women are Democrats. And they think if they say it enough, we’ll believe it, and that’s probably about as offensive as it gets.”

Why are Democrats saying that theirs is the better party for women?  Let’s revisit that “we care about the economy” quote from the governor again. The first piece of legislation President Obama signed after taking office in January 2009 was the Democratic sponsored Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (an amendment to the Civil Rights of 1964), which makes it easier for women who make less than men for doing the same job to challenge unequal pay practices.

In a statement at the bill signing, President Obama said, “equal pay is by no means just a women’s issue – it’s a family issue. It’s about parents who find themselves with less money for tuition or child care; couples who wind up with less to retire on; households where, when one breadwinner is paid less than she deserves, that’s the difference between affording the mortgage – or not; between keeping the heat on, or paying the doctor’s bills – or not. And in this economy, when so many folks are already working harder for less and struggling to get by, the last thing they can afford is losing part of each month’s paycheck to simple discrimination.”

That’s how what one can call “women’s issues” are intertwined with the economy that you insist, and we agree, that women care about, Governor Haley.

A Republican led filibuster blocked a 2012 bill, The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would give women new legal tools in the fight for equal pay for equal work, after the House passed it in June, handing the Democrats another reason to insist that they are the better party not only for women, but also for families, for those economic reasons that the governor rightly insists we care about. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) said, “This is an issue … that not only affects women, but our families and our economy. You would see the economy stimulated because middle-class families would spend those dollars, they don’t hoard those dollars.”

A discussion of why the Democrats are saying theirs is the better party for women must also include the Affordable Care Act, a piece of legislation staunchly opposed by Republicans, who are vowing to overturn it, that contains such woman friendly provisions as …

  • Not being denied insurance due to the pre-existing condition of pregnancy
  • Receiving preventive care such as mammograms and pap smears without copays
  • New baby and well child visits with no copay
  • Not being charged more for an insurance policy just because you are a woman (before the ACA, women could be charged more for individual insurance policies – up to 150 percent more – simply because of their gender)

Plenty of women, and their families, need those provisions, Governor Haley.

But the kicker at Haley’s pre-convention speech press conference was this statement, given when she was asked if the official Republican party platform for 2012 calls for a total ban on abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest: “I have no idea,” Haley replied, “I haven’t been paying attention.” For the record (and for those of us paying attention), the platform endorses the Human Life Amendment, which would give constitutional rights to fetuses, thus equating abortion with murder and having the effect of overturning Roe v. Wade, not ending abortions, but sending them back to the alleyways and other dangerous places where they have always occurred.

That, Governor Haley, as well as your lack of knowledge of your own party’s platform, is “about as offensive as it gets.”

Amy Lazenby is a commentator for FITSNews. Follow/ contact her on Twitter @Mrs_Laz.