Guest Post from Indiana: Mitt Romney Is Dangerous to Women's Health
Editor’s Note: As voters in Indiana head to the polls, women in the state are speaking out. Check out our guest post from Women are Watching volunteer and Planned Parenthood Action Fund Supporter, Ashley Plummer, on why she believes Mitt Romney is out of touch when it comes to women’s health.
Mitt Romney has a problem with keeping women healthy. At least that’s the conclusion you would have to draw from the statements he’s made and the people he has aligned himself with over the past few months. This week as Indiana holds its primary and Mitt Romney has a big fundraiser in the state, let’s take a closer look at how dangerous Mitt Romney is for women’s health.
In March, Romney promised, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.” Romney also signed a pledge to prohibit Planned Parenthood health centers from providing preventive health care through federal programs. Translation: he supports cutting off nearly three million women from birth control, cancer screenings, well-woman exams, and STD tests from their preferred and trusted health care provider.
But this isn’t the first time we have heard this kind of talk. It was a little over a year ago when Romney’s pal, Indiana’s own Rep. Mike Pence, led the attack on women’s health by pushing legislation that would have barred Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds that go to providing essential and lifesaving services to millions of women each year. Soon after, Romney-endorser Mitch Daniels became the first governor in the country to sign state legislation defunding Planned Parenthood, barring the nearly 75,000 women who rely on Planned Parenthood in Indiana from having access to the care they want and need.
But the dangerous rhetoric doesn’t stop there. In November, Romney authored an op-ed in USA Today calling for an end to the national family planning program – Title X – which provides preventive health care, such as birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings and well-women checkups to nearly five million women each year. Signed into law decades ago by Republican President Richard Nixon, the program consistently has bipartisan support because it saves lives, keeps women healthy, prevents unintended pregnancies and detects cancer early when it can best be treated.
Romney claims he would end this program to reduce the deficit. But the truth is, family planning is a sound investment for the American economy. In fact, for every $1 invested in family planning, taxpayers save $4. And in Indiana alone, contraceptive services provided via Title X helped women avoid 8,300 unintended pregnancies in 2008, according to a report by the Guttmacher Institute. So, since the economic argument doesn’t hold water, one can only assume that Mitt Romney simply has a problem with keeping women healthy.
Mitt Romney’s national plan for women’s health was on display in several states that made national headlines last week as they moved forward in efforts to restrict women’s access to health care. The extreme legislation being proposed in Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Ohio, and Texas is appalling and dangerous for women and their families.
Additionally, Romney had multiple appearances last week with Bob McDonnell in Virginia, an endorsement from Michele Bachmann, and a meeting with Rick Santorum – three of the far right’s leading opponents of women’s health. So one has to wonder, who is he trying to appeal to?
It gets even worse. Last year, the federal government announced that birth control would be covered by insurance under the new health care reform law – the Affordable Care Act – with no co-pays or other out-of-pocket expenses. This is a huge step forward for helping reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the United States. But Romney wants to repeal the new health care law, which would eliminate that new benefit.
Throughout his race to the bottom on women’s health, what Mitt Romney forgets, is that women are watching, and women will be voting in November. So as we all go to the polls, how can any of us possibly trust Mitt Romney when it comes to health — ours, our mothers’, our wives’, and our daughters’. Because the attacks on women’s health that we’ve seen right here in Indiana are exactly what would happen in all 50 states if Mitt Romney has his way.