Where are the #RealRepublicans?

As we approach the third GOP debate, recent polls show Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson running far ahead of their more conventional rivals. And not surprisingly, both candidates have made headlines this week, not for their polling success, but for their arguments about abortion rights. This is not the first time Carson has garnered media attention for his extreme comments on abortion. He supports overturning Roe v. Wade and opposes exceptions even for women who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest. This week, Carson went as far as to compare abortion to slavery.

Alarmingly other top candidates are taking similarly extreme positions, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who said he would force all women to bring their pregnancies to term, “irrespective of the conditions by which that life was conceived or anything else.” This is an extreme position, even for these anti-choice contenders. Polling shows 83% of voters, including 76% of Republicans, object to this position and believe women should have the right to have an abortion if the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest. Others in the GOP have responded with similar concerns, including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham who recently said, “Anybody with that position will get creamed,” and Trump who said, “That’s an unusual stance.”

Barely free of a summer full of scandal, this top tier GOP infighting only contributes to the continued perception of the Republican Party as being both anti-women and obsessed with women’s reproductive health (and parts!) Over and over we hear anti-choice candidates pontificate about stopping abortion — yet they refuse to take proven effective steps towards reducing the rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. Instead these politicians use women’s health to score points, while simultaneously targeting programs that would actually help women and families. Programs like the Title X family planning program and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs ensure that low-income women have access to preventive family planning services, and that at risk youth have proper education on sexuality and contraception (that yes, includes abstinence!) In the past year, some Republicans have targeted these programs for drastic funding cuts in the 2016 budget. 

10.28.15 blogpostThe good news is RMC is on the Hill non-stop, educating Republicans about the real solutions to high rates of unintended pregnancy and abortions. We are armed with facts on the social AND economic impact of preventive reproductive health policies. And more and more Republican Members of Congress are getting it – they are recognizing that women’s health is NOT just a ‘social issue.’ And that women’s health is not just abortion. Women’s reproductive health is a pocket book issue. Women are increasingly the heads of the Household in the U.S. They are providing for their families, working their family budgets, and fighting to make ends meet. They are the ones making decisions about when and whether to grow their families, about what birth control they need, and what to teach their children about sex. These are their decisions to make. The Republican Party is the party of family values and fiscal responsibility. It’s time for these Republican candidates to drop the anti-choice war cry and start focusing on the solutions. 

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