Paul Ryan Will Spark the Next War on Women

When Meghan McCain heard about Mitt Romney’s presidential running mate choice of Paul Ryan, she tweeted “Paul Ryan is an inspired and exciting choice. Sincerely. I am a big fan of his. He will make an excellent vice president.” 

It seems that this 27-year-old blogger — whose socially liberal views juxtapose her GOP affiliation — is off. Like many Republicans, McCain sees Ryan as a breath of fresh air in this stalemated economy. And, unfortunatley, like many Republicans, she is focusing too much on Ryan's nascent financial proposals — she seems to forget his record on women's issues. However pleasing Ryan is to conglomerates and conservatives, his intrepretations of abortion, equal pay, and Planned Parenthood couldn't be more archaic. His Phyllis Schlafly-esque positions will reignite (if they haven't already) the War on Women.

Ryan’s budget proposal looks to end Medicare completely and replace it with vouchers. Although I have my doubts with the current state of Medicare, obliterating the very organization that benefits thousands of female seniors is not the answer. Women already have “lower income, assets and retirement benefits” compared to men; they even make up “70% of beneficiaries who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid,” according to a Department of Health & Human Services website. Seniors, and female ones especially, are in need of guaranteed health retirement plan. The eradication of Medicare would, as the National Organization of Women stated, “doubl[e]down on the disastrous policies of the Bush-Cheney years that … pushed relentlessly to turn back the clock on women’s basic rights.” 

Furthermore, Ryan’s anti-abortion opinion shows us neither mercy nor retaliation. His Roman Catholic upbringing was evidently stringent: He believes life originates at conception, and thus killing an embryo is as nefarious as killing a human. However, unlike most contemporary Catholics who understand exceptions, Ryan obstinately remains pro-life in cases of rape, incest or medical disability. There are no buts or what-ifs. Any pregnant woman, according to the potential Veep, must keep her fertilized egg — regardless of whether or not she can physically or financially handle a child.

Such a livid stance on abortion has instigated Ryan’s criticism of Planned Parenthood. He doesn’t merely wish to curtail funding to the program; he desires to abolish it wholly. For most American women, this is devastating. Planned Parenthood only dedicates 3% of its funding to abortions; the rest of its services fund STD testing, cancer screening and contraception. As Elizabeth Banks alluded to in an Obama endorsement, “95% of [the services] don’t involve anything controversial.” Teenagers who have suffered sexual abuse, pregnant women who can’t afford a doctor’s appointment, young girls whose parents think sex education is immoral — all have benefited from Planned Parenthood for over 70 years. And Ryan, I’m afraid, couldn’t care less. As the satirical Twitter account @PaulRyanGosling has said, “Hey girl, I know I’m only 42, but my ideas on women’s rights are over 500 years old.”

This election, as it has been repeated by everyone from NPR to the president himself, is a choice between two different political ideas. It expands beyond the realm of political personalities, and instead focuses on pure ideologies — Democrat or Republican. This means that in October, we’re voting for the whole candidate, and everything that he represents and stands for. We’re voting for the candidate who has a killer economic plan and knows his foreign policy. But if that candidate can’t understand gender equality, then we’re skyrocketing ourselves straight back to the ‘50s.