Five Top Women’s Issues That Hang in the Election Balance

On Tuesday, each of us will have the opportunity to take a stand about our rights. The War on Women is frighteningly real, and when you walk into the voting booth you’ll also be stepping to the front of the firing line. Here is a reminder of five of the key issues at stake for women (and men and families!) in this election:

1. Reproductive rights

The threat to birth control and abortion rights is a most salient battle for women in this election. There has been an orchestrated effort by anti-abortion advocates to roll back abortion care and contraceptive care, the endgame being to bring a case to the Supreme Court and overturn Roe v. Wade.

2. Health Care

The sweeping reforms of the Affordable Care Act were a major triumph for women. The act also bolstered Medicare, 56 percent of whose beneficiaries are women. Provisions in the ACA provide preventive care for women (such as mammograms) without copays, forbid sex discrimination in insurance policies, support victims of domestic violence and provide affordable prenatal care–but conservatives want to overturn the ACA.

3. Court appointments

No decision made by a U.S. president has such far-reaching consequences as Supreme Court appointments.  Four of the nine justices are over 70 years old, so it’s possible one or more could retire during the next administration. Your choice for president will determine who makes the next lifetime appointments to the Court.

4. Violence Against Women Act

VAWA has had bipartisan support since it was introduced in 1994, but the rightwing-controlled House is countering with a new version of the bill that would diminish the protections of the act. That bill would deny support to LGBT survivors of domestic violence, fail to continue protection of Native American women abused on tribal lands and eliminate the visa process that helps immigrant survivors of violence.

5. Economic security

Women still make just 77 cents on a man’s dollar. The Paycheck Fairness Act is just one of the bills that would help right that injustice, by protecting employees from retaliation if they inquire about pay differences and allowing them to sue if they discover gender disparities in wage. Conservatives have strongly opposed the legislation.

Anti-women agendas are no accident. This election is a vital one for women, and we need to all make our voices heard. Get yourself to the polls this Tuesday to ensure that the progress women have made won’t be rolled back and will continue to move forward.

Photo courtesy of Alan Cleaver via Creative Commons 2.0


Associate editor of Ms. magazine