Women's issues play a key part in presidential campaigns

Aug 8, 2012

When voters go to the polls this fall, their vote for President will not only determine who leads the country but also who will decide the makeup of the nation’s highest court. That point is not lost on groups that take sides on issues involving women….like contraception and abortion. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports.



Progressive groups say it’s important to think about which presidential candidate to support this fall.  People for the American Way’s Seth Bringman says whoever is elected will have the important task of appointing new members to the nation’s highest court.

Bringman - In the words of mitt Romney, as many as half of the seats on the court could be filled by the next president.  This is something that we believe Governor Romney has thought quite a bit about.  In fact, he has brought on a campaign advisor for judicial nominations by the name of Robert Bork.  And judge Bork would assist Mitt Romney in selecting supreme court justices should Mitt Romney become president.

Bork himself, a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court more than 20 years ago, was not confirmed by the senate, in part, because of the fear that he would work to overturn Roe –v- Wade, the ruling that allows legalized abortion throughout the United States.  Kellie Copeland of NARAL Ohio says abortion isn’t the only issue affecting women at stake in the next Supreme Court appointment.  She thinks women could lose access to birth control too if Romney becomes President.

Copeland = His judicial advisor Robert Bork even went a step further.  He once said politicians should be able to outlaw birth control all together.  This is the guy who would help Mitt Romney select the next Supreme Court justices if he becomes president.  And guess what….the issue of birth control coverage is already in the courts.  And it will undoubtably wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming years.  Yes, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide on women’s access to birth control.

Copeland says lower courts are now considering whether religious hospitals and institutions should be forced to cover birth control for employees as part of their health care plans.  Copeland ticks off a long list of restrictions on abortion that have been made or attempted in recent years.  She says if Romney wins, women could find themselves without the ability to get an abortion….even in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.

Copeland – From restricting a woman’s right to choose to attacking birth control access or trying to repeal the affordable health care act, anti choice politicians from across the country are trying to push an agenda that is harmful to women.

Ranade Krider – To me it’s offensive that they frame this as a women’s rights issue….as a birth control issue.

That’s Stephanie Ranade Krider with Ohio Right to Life.  She says her organization does not take a stand on birth control issues.

Ranade Krider - I obviously agree that women have guaranteed rights under our constitution.  I disagree that women have the right to an abortion. I think a child’s right to life trumps that.

Ranade Krider says she takes issue with the way NARAL and progressive groups presents women’s issues.

Ranade Krider – They have this tactic of fear that they use that suddenly if Roe V Wade were overturned, abortion would be illegal in this country.  What would women do/ where would women turn?  And the reality is if Roe V Wade were overturned then states would have the opportunity to decide what to do with the issue of abortion.  It would become like gay marriage where states can decide what to do with it on a state to state basis.

Ranade Krider says it is likely that Ohio, given its current makeup, would vote to restrict or totally outlaw abortion but other states might not.  But there’s one point on which Ranade Krider says she agrees. 

Ranade Krider – When they talk about the makeup of the court, the importance of this election, even just down to their count on the court…..4 liberal votes, 4 conservative votes, where is this going to go?  I agree with them 100 percent – this is a pivotal election.