Melissa Miller: Women’s issues matter this election

How many times have you heard, “I’m fiscally conservative but socially liberal,” from one of your friends? Chances are, too many to count.

Up until recently, social issues like gay rights and abortion were dealt with on the state level – not in the White House or on Capitol Hill. But now, these issues have made their way to the national stage.

And depending on Congress’ budget, Americans will be directly affected by how much funding social programs like Planned Parenthood, welfare and Medicare receive.

Let’s start with Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and his infamous budget. If enacted, the plan will curtail women’s reproductive rights through a series of cuts related to women’s health care. Additionally, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would repeal the Affordable Care Act, preventing women from having easy access to birth control, STD and HIV screenings and mammograms.

Normally, Romney’s plan to cut Planned Parenthood funding wouldn’t fly, but tough economic times and high government debt gives Romney an excuse to justify policy changes that would be detrimental to women’s health.

Ryan also cosponsored a bill with Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., known for his “legitimate rape” comment, which haphazardly made the claim that women’s bodies have a way of preventing pregnancy following some sexual assaults. If we elect conservatives like this, the definition of rape will likely be narrowed, and legislation might bar women from integral reproductive health services.

You want to significantly cut the budget and avoid raising taxes, even for the wealthiest Americans? But you also support women’s reproductive rights and other social issues? I’m sorry, but you can’t be on both sides.

So the next time you hear someone proclaim they’re fiscally conservative and socially liberal, please ask them, “No, really, which one are you?”

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