Stakes on Women’s Rights in the Election

Hannah Kiges, Variety Editor

You can say we live in a country that’s beyond sexism, but I disagree. We still live in a country where statistically, I as a woman, make only 70% of the income that my male counterparts make. We also live in a country where the right over what I can do with my own body and how I take care of my own body is debated by people who have never lived in the same social class of most of the woman they are arguing about. We live in a country where the rights of biological women, transgender women, and any person with a vagina, uterus, and ovaries are at risk.

The definition of rape has been a controversial topic among lawmakers recently. Missouri Congressman Todd Akin recently said that women can’t get pregnant through rape, and if it’s a “legitimate rape” the body has a way of “taking measures to ensure conception doesn’t occur.” Akin also supported a bill to redefine rape and the laws surrounding it. The bill, when first proposed, said that only “forcible rape” should justify abortion, and all other “lesser rapes” that result in pregnancy should be illegal to end. The bill, which also was proudly supported by Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan, was shot down. But I’m concerned about the prospects of rape involving date-rape drugs, sex with minors, and the mentally impaired not being considered “forcible rape,” and are treated differently judicially as well as medically. But I ask you, what rape isn’t forcible? Rape is rape.

Another big issue on the reproductive rights front is medical contraceptives like the birth control pill, shot, and patch.  Though presidential candidate Mitt Romney has given unclear answers and recanted previous answers about contraception, VP hopeful Paul Ryan has claimed that the Obamacare administration’s mandate on free contraceptives through insurance providers and low cost contraceptives without insurance would be “gone on day one,” of the Romney/Ryan administration. Contraception and lower abortion rates allow women to choose when they want to start a family (and let them finish school, further their career), and provide some women with medical treatment outside of just contraceptive services. I, personally, take contraception to help with the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which is a common problem among women that can lead to ovarian cysts that can rupture ovaries and cause infertility. Without birth control, I might not be able to have children one day. The bottom line is taking contraception away would not only be economically dangerous to America, but physically and financially dangerous to the women of America.

Unfortunately, these aren’t the only problems women in America face today. Domestic violence, transgender inequality, hate crimes, wage gaps, and unfair treatment of pregnant woman are all solvable problems. While President Obama has done more for gays and lesbians than any other president, we can hope if elected a second time, he will extend a helping hand to other discriminated peoples, such as transgender folks. Obamacare has already helped biological females with low cost contraceptives and low cost preventative care, such as mammograms and pap smears.

As a woman, you should vote, whether you agree with my stance or not. Women have only been able to vote since 1913, but the rights to our body have been up for debate long before that.  You must take a stand, no matter what your opinion, and fight for the rights you feel entitled too. As a woman, I refuse to have men policing my medical concerns. I believe that every woman has the right to safety, equality, healthcare, and justice no matter their class, race, biological sex, or religion. So this election, remember what our next president has done, will do, and wants to do for you as a woman.