August is a historically significant month in terms of equal rights. The 19th amendment was ratified on August 19th 1920. The Civil Rights March on Washington was on August 28th 1963 and in 1972 Congress declared August 26th Women’s Equality Day. To celebrate all this; on August 24th, a coalition of women’s rights groups announced a new campaign called HerVotes to encourage women to vote in the 2012 elections. According to the HerVotes press release their top priorities are to “educate and engage more women to use their voices and their votes to urge lawmakers who seek to represent them to:
-Stop the attacks on historic advances for women;
-Preserve successful policies, such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act;
-Respect women’s contributions to the economy; and
-Act on jobs at livable wages and equal pay for our families’ economic security.”
They released a list of 10 laws that are currently being attacked by conservative politicians to show why it is important that women be involved in the 2012 elections; without female participation, more conservatives may end up in the driver’s seat and they will continue to chip away at our basic rights. Some of these laws are related; for example the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Medicare all focus on health care. All are important in women’s lives and face their own individual attacks. The House of Representatives has already voted to repeal the ACA and passed a budget that creates deep spending cuts on Medicaid and essentially terminates Medicare. These cuts would have impacted women the most since the majority of Medicaid and Medicare recipients are women.
In addition to attacking health care in general; conservatives have placed an extra special focus on women’s health. The House voted to completely defund Title X funding, a federal program that provides money for family planning organizations. 9 states have reduced family planning funding in their budgets and New Jersey completely defunded it. On top of that, unless it is renew through Congress, the Violence Against Women Act expires this year; yet nothing has been done to start that process. Attacks against abortion rights have been rampant throughout state governments as an historic number of antiabortion laws were passed this year.
Health care is just one aspect of how the conservative politicians are seeking to override women’s rights and opportunities to be active members of American society. It is time for us to take a stand and fight for our rights. We need to become active in the political landscape; the HerVotes campaign is seeking to do just that.