Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Obama supports women’s choices

On Aug. 26, 1920, American women were granted the right to vote. Ninety-two years later, we are witnessing an election reliant on the support of the “woman vote.”

Currently, women hold around 17 percent of the seats in the U.S. Congress, but despite this political discrepancy, we are faced with two male candidates making decisions that pertain strictly to American women. The candidates must show an understanding for not only women-centered issues like contraception and abortion, but also an understanding of how to address these issues in a representative way.

In the second presidential debate, a young female voter asked the candidates what they would do to shatter the glass ceiling and pay inequality that American women face throughout the workforce. Governor Romney’s highly “memed” solution involving “a binder full of women,” shows how unaware he is about the needs of women voters. Our next president must do more than statistically equalize women. He must seek a society that treats women as equal to their male counterparts in politics, the workforce and medical decisions.

President Obama understands that female equality requires freedom – freedom that is synonymous with choice.

Obama’s health care law includes a mandate that requires that contraception be covered by employer insurance. And while many label the contraception mandate as an attack on the freedom of religion, it is quite the opposite.

Separation of church and state is vital to the equality our country sits on, and the federal government cannot make exceptions for religious associations. And besides, as Americans, we have the freedom of choice. So, while the choice of contraception is available, it does not mean contraception is by any means forced.

Birth control is exceptionally expensive, running around $70 a month, and without the financial support mandated by President Obama, many women would not even have the opportunity of choice regarding contraception. Every woman has the right to decide for herself, and Obama’s mandate protects that freedom.

Like contraception, the issue of abortion is not based on a morality argument but rather the option of choice. No woman wants to face the prospect of abortion, as it is undoubtedly a last resort. But ultimately, it is the decision of the individual, not the government.

President Obama is pro-choice, and maintains that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare,” but, ultimately, the choice of the woman and her doctor.

And a quick biology lesson for you: men can’t get pregnant. So it’s hard to listen to a man determine what women can and cannot do with their bodies. And where President Obama has given women the ability to decide for themselves, Governor Romney would strip females of that right.

Romney opposes abortion, with the exception of rape and incest, and wants to overturn Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. He also plans to end funding to Planned Parenthood. Those who benefit most from Planned Parenthood? Low-income women, who often risk turning to other, far more dangerous alternatives out of desperation.

Like contraception, abortion has created a religious enemy. But, in the words of Vice President Joe Biden, while he is a practicing Catholic, as a lawmaker, he could not impose his religious beliefs on others.

Another social issue the two parties have stark opinions on is that of same-sex marriage and civil unions.

Since being in office, President Obama has signed the Matthew Shephard Act, has repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and has denied support to the Defense of Marriage Act. And, in May 2012, President Obama announced his support for gay marriage, something inconceivable four years ago.

President Obama’s decisions reflect his priority to protect the rights of a minority that has historically been brutally discriminated against. And while there are still bounds to be made, policy support is the first step to changing the cultural norms that surround social issues.

Sexual-orientation discrimination is archaic, and denying rights like marriage or civil unions to same-sex couples is reflective of an outdated society. The United States lags behind fellow first-world countries, and President Obama is aware of the remnants of American discrimination.

President Obama has made strives to move our country forward socially. Electing Mitt Romney risks moving socially backwards, to a period of accepted discrimination and a paternalistic society.

President Obama’s decisions do not force a certain choice upon individuals but provides them with the opportunity to make one. Governor Romney and Senator Ryan, on the other hand, seem adamant to make these choices for us.

As Americans, we have the privilege to make decisions for ourselves. Being denied these choices is a restriction on our individual freedoms. I refuse to let that be denied to me, and so should you.


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