October 18, 2012 — Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is unaware of how to address his "problem with female voters," which stems from "his positions on abortion, contraception, health services and many other issues," according to a New York Times editorial.
During the second presidential debate on Tuesday, "President Obama attacked Mr. Romney for vowing he would end federal support of Planned Parenthood and for criticizing the provision in the health care law that requires employers -- except churches and religiously affiliated institutions -- to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives," the editorial states. Romney responded that he does not believe "bureaucrats" or "employers" should determine whether women can use contraception, adding, "Everyone woman in America should have access to contraceptives."
The editorial questions if "Romney forgot that he vetoed a bill as Massachusetts governor in 2005 that would have given women who were raped access to emergency contraception, or that he supported an amendment this year that would have allowed any business to opt out of the contraceptive mandate." Romney also overlooked the fact "that he has said he would support a state constitutional amendment that would declare that life begins at conception -- potentially making some kinds of contraceptives illegal," the editorial adds.
The editorial also notes that "you cannot untangle access and money." Romney's pledge "to 'defund' Planned Parenthood is either a rote ideological posture or a belief that it is right to end the federal support that gives many poor women access to mammograms, cervical cancer screening, family planning and other services," the editorial states.
Romney "made things worse" by answering a question about pay equity by explaining how he gave a female employee flexible hours so she could take care of her children in the evening, the editorial continues. "True equality is not satisfied by allowing the little lady to go home early and tend to her children," the piece concludes (New York Times, 10/17).
Columnist Collins Responds to Debate
"[B]oth candidates tried to score points with women" in Tuesday's debate, writes Times columnist Gail Collins.
"Women enjoy a good pander as much as anybody else, and it was great to have the candidates tackle issues like equal pay and reproductive rights," she continues.
However, "it was a little weird that the two men vied for female favor by interrupting and barking at one another like a Worst Boyfriend." In fact, Obama's "best moment of the debate" was when he was talking about national security, an issue on which Americans of any sex "expect clarity and sobriety," according to Collins (Collins, New York Times, 10/17).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership