Obama vs. Romney: A Comparison Of Women’s Health Issues

A woman wrapped in the American flag, with the word vote typed across the front

While the economy, immigration, Libya, job creation and gun control figured prominently in the 2012 U.S. presidential debates, it has been women’s issues-related questions that have prompted lots of attention. The battle for women’s votes has helped to shape each candidate’s platform.

As we quickly approache the homestretch, here’s a look at where Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney stand on women’s health.

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1. Abortion & Birth Control

Obama: Supports abortion rights. Health care law requires contraceptives to be available for free for women enrolled in workplace health plans, including access to morning-after pill, which does not terminate a pregnancy but is considered tantamount to an abortion pill by some religious conservatives. Supported requiring girls 16 and under to get a prescription for the morning-after pill, available without a prescription for older women.

Romney: Opposes abortion rights. Previously supported them. Says state law should guide abortion rights, and Roe v. Wade should be reversed by a future Supreme Court ruling. But says Roe v. Wade is law of the land until that happens, and should not be challenged by federal legislation seeking to overturn abortion rights affirmed by that court decision. “So I would live within the law, within the Constitution as I understand it, without creating a constitutional crisis. But I do believe Roe v. Wade should be reversed to allow states to make that decision.” Said he would end federal aid to Planned Parenthood.

2. Campus Sexual Violence

Obama: His administration introduced guidelines clarifying colleges’ obligations for preventing sexual violence, declaring that schools receiving federal funds must investigate sex-assault charges “promptly.”

Romney: Has not indicated whether he’ll make fighting campus sexual assault a priority.

3. Maternity and Child Care

Obama: His stimulus bill provided $2 billion for child care and development, and the PPACA mandates that employers provide nursing moms “reasonable break time” and a private place to pump milk at work.

Romney: Says he wants to raise the work requirements for mothers receiving welfare benefits and that he’ll increase federal funding for child care to help make this happen.

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