The Republican Party Is Taking a Long Hard Look in the Mirror
By Kim Smith, Republican Outreach Manager at Planned Parenthood Action Fund
As the dust settles on last week’s election, there has been a growing number of Republicans calling for the party to do some soul searching on the direction it takes in the coming years. The power of women voters as a major demographic and women’s health policies are two topics that continue to be added to the chorus of calls for change within the GOP. And after an election year where there were so many attacks on women’s health and degrading comments from high-profile candidates it is no wonder that many within the party are coming out so publicly calling for change.
Here are just a few comments that have come out in the past week from leaders within the Republican Party:
Meghan McCain, daughter of 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain and columnist for The Daily Beast, writes on the need for the party to modernize:
“For the last four years, I’ve been calling for Republicans to stop concentrating on social issues. I am a single woman in my 20s and that fact alone gave me the perspective that I don’t want to regulate a woman’s right to choice. I am pro-life, but because life is complicated, that choice is between a woman and her idea of a higher power. I believe if Roe vs. Wade were repealed, abortion would still go on. I care more about my economy, national security, and fiscal conservatism than I do about what other woman do with their bodies. It’s not my place, and I don’t believe it’s the government’s place, to make such decisions.”
Karen Hughes, Former Advisor for the Bush Administration, laments multiple Republican candidates’ outrageous comments on rape:
“And if another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue. The college-age daughters of many of my friends voted for Obama because they were completely turned off by Neanderthal comments like the suggestion of ‘legitimate rape.’”
Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) wants Republicans to return to their roots, keeping the government out of people’s lives:
"…you know, my wife's a Democrat, and she was so close to voting for Mitt Romney, but then Mourdock and Akin opened their mouth and we sent them running back to the Democratic Party because they think we're nutty. We have the right message on the finances. We have to get out of people's lives, get out of people's bedrooms, and we have to be a national party, or else we're going to lose."
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison knows women do care about their health issues:
“When we talk about women’s issues and the social issues, people have to stop acting like the woman is a throw-away here. We’ve got to talk to women about the issues they care about.”
These are all strong statements and, as a woman and member of the Young Republicans, I hope that the party leadership listens to their colleagues as they come together to build a stronger foundation for their party’s future. To me, last week’s elections were a clear signal that women want to make their own medical decisions and are willing to vote against politicians who seek to limit those decisions.