Moderated by Rick Badie
Is there a “war on women” or a mere focus on women’s issues going on these days? Women on both sides of the political aisle are revved up this campaign season. The state director of Maggie’s List writes that Republicans are leading the charge against government overreach, while an official for the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women pledges that voters will remember politicians who supported legislation that harmed women and families.
GOP propels women’s values
By Suzi Voyles
The real reason Democrats manufactured “Julia” and the “war on women” is because women don’t support their policies. It’s Republican women leading the charge against the overreach of government into our lives. In 2010, Republicans won the women’s vote for the first time since Ronald Reagan.
We fired the first woman speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, because we didn’t like the direction the Democrats were taking our country on the economy, health care and especially on the debt. We still don’t like it today.
“Julia’s” life is not typical of American women. Nor is it something to which we Republicans aspire. We don’t see our lives as a product of government handouts.
In fact, we resent the idea that we owe our success to bureaucrats and not to our own initiative. When Republicans talk about freedom, entrepreneurship, patient-centered health care and fiscal responsibility, most women respond positively.
We refuse to be enslaved to the myth that we are “entitled” to something. We know by the example of other countries that have gone down that path that we surrender more personal liberty than we can ever gain in what the government can give to us.
We also believe that government should practice fiscal responsibility and allow individuals to keep more of the money we earn. And when Republicans propose policies grounded in those principles — reducing taxes on small businesses, shrinking the deficit through the Ryan plan and repealing “Obamacare” — women see that it’s the Republican Party that’s advancing their values, not the Democrats. GOP women believe that encouraging individual initiative through free enterprise is what brings opportunity, economic growth and prosperity to our state and country.
When it comes to the empowerment of women, Republican women have always stood on the front lines. GOP women believe in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity regardless of race, sex, age, creed, national origin or disability.
We would never spend our time in a party that did not believe the same. We believe strongly that the strength of our nation lies with each individual and that each person’s liberty, dignity, ability and responsibility must be honored.
Republican women believe that America is the most exceptional nation because of our founding principles, recognizing that our rights come from God, not from government. While retaining these principles that have made us strong, we must also develop innovative ideas to meet the challenges confronting each generation. GOP women believe that American values are worth preserving.
We believe the United States must retain its national sovereignty. And we know the Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles and policies from which to govern.
Republicans don’t merely “talk” a good game. A look at our record shows that we produce upon these principles. Republicans were founded on the precept of personal liberty. A Republican woman was the first woman to be voted into Congress, before she could vote for herself (translation: GOP men elected her).
It was a GOP Congress that twice passed women’s suffrage to override the veto of President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat. The GAGOP chairman is a woman, Sue P. Everhart. Jan Jones is the first female speaker pro tem and Republican majority whip in Georgia. In 1892, Ellen Foster and two other women were elected alternates to the GOP Convention, a first for either major party.
We absolutely do not believe Republicans have mounted a war on women. Foster declared it best: “We are here to help you. And we have come to stay.” Our growing numbers attest to that fact.
Suzi Voyles is Georgia state director of Maggie’s List and serves on the organization’s national board of directors.
Fallout of health law looms
By Elaine Davis-Nickens
“We will remember in November.”
That was the chant of women who walked around the Georgia State Capitol during the 2012 legislative session. Women carpooled to Atlanta from every end of the state because they wanted their voices heard by legislators who were considering bills that were crossing the line of common sense and erasing current recognized health care practices.
During the march, one woman asked me if I thought legislators inside the Gold Dome would pay us any attention. The actions of those who were engaged in the Republican War on Women answered this question loud and clear.
House Bill 954, authored by state Rep. Doug McKillip, R-Athens, was passed in the final minutes of the session and then signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal. When this new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013, there will be major interference with the patient-physician relationship because of the removal of current standards for medical procedures.
The new law forces obstetricians to perform C-sections on women who go into labor early even when standard medical practice doesn’t call for it. According to an article written by Ruth McClatchey Cline, president-elect of the Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology Society, the new law … “complicates the routine practice of obstetric care.” The C-section “… would involve a vertical incision of the entire length of the uterine wall. Thereafter, the mother would be at a high risk of uterine rupture in future pregnancies.”
Another major change will place a 20-week limit for abortions. The current standard for viability is 23 to 24 weeks when a fetus has a 50-50 chance of surviving outside the womb. There was testimony from medical organizations that births at 22 weeks have less than a 10 percent chance of survival. At 26 weeks, the current law mandate for a cutoff date, the survival rate is 85 percent.
The concerns raised by these issues have been voiced by women and men who are Republicans as well as Democrats. McKillip now faces a tough primary contest by Regina Quick, a Republican attorney who practices family law and who is anti-abortion. She has stated that the issues that McKillip and those who voted for his bill have created has moved into “a legal and medical gray area where decisions are best left up to women and their doctors.”
Then there is the issue of the comparison of women giving birth to stillborn babies to that of livestock on a farm delivering stillborns. That jewel received national attention through various outlets and has received almost 32,000 YouTube hits.
Georgia leaders need to be focused on creating jobs, improving education and transportation — things that can move our state forward. Instead, we are reduced to hearing about issues that go against acceptable medical practices and further harm the emotional and physical well-being of Georgia women and families.
My heart breaks for those women and men who must deal with the medical procedure of abortion. Their decision should not be complicated by highly questionable decisions by lawmakers when they should be relying on their doctors to help them make the right decisions.
It is reasonable to believe that we will remember in November.
Elaine Davis-Nickens is the public relations chairwoman for the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women.