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Women’s rights may have been key deciding factor in this year’s election

Elections yield more results than just the next presidential candidate. The decision to elect comes down to deciding on economics, foreign policy – even the rights of women.

With women feeling the strain of having their rights impacted being one of the largest faces of the election this year, many are likely wondering what the recent results of the election will do for them.

Democratic nominee President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney both faced the challenge of what they would each do for women and whether or not they would be the candidate to take federal funding away from family planning services.

Marie Rose, a sophomore at Michigan State University, feels that the outcome of the election held two very different possibilities for the future of rights for women.

“I think that since Obama won, it’s a huge relief for women, especially for women’s issues,” said Rose. “There’s no more threat against Planned Parenthood. For many women, this means they get to keep their health care.”

Under President Obama, the family planning service Planned Parenthood, which received much attention this election, will see a budget of $104,790,000 for teen pregnancy prevention, according to Planned Parenthood’s website. This hot topic issue was the source of seeing a potential cut by Romney. 

Jordan Shawver, a sophomore at Western Michigan University, believes that whether or not Planned Parenthood would be affected played too large of a portion in which way women voters would swing.

“I feel as though some of the issues were blown way out of proportion,” said Shawver. “In my opinion, I believe in less government. I believe the fewer funded programs the better.”

Shawver, a sales and marketing major, felt that although women’s rights were a large part of the debates that occurred throughout the fall, monetary and fiscal policy would have remained at the highest concern.

Paul Abramson, political science professor at MSU, values the difference between each candidate and the different places they each held within the realm of women obtaining their rights.

“I think the type of nominee Obama will make will be substantially different than Romney would have made,” said Abramson.

Abramson said that Obama held the power to impact women’s rights with his Supreme Court nominations over the last four years, though it is too early to see if Obama’s next term will impact women’s rights.

“What you’ve had are pro-choice nominations that will fly under the radar as to their position on ‘Roe versus Wade’,” said Abramson

Roe v. Wade, brought to the Supreme Court in 1971 according to appeal records, solidified current laws allowing abortions to take place.

“We know women were substantially more likely to vote Obama,” said Abramson.

Rose, a social work major with a minor in women and gender studies, feels passionately for the Democratic Party’s stance on the rights of women.

“If Mitt Romney were to shut Planned Parenthood down like he said, that would force a lot of women to even lose access to cancer screenings,” said Rose. “I think we would lose a lot of access to women’s reproductive rights.”

Rose, said she believes that women need to have control over their reproductive rights, the face of the women’s rights issue, and that it should be federally funded to an extent.

With Republican Party members crafting comments on pro-choice versus pro-life, most notably Congressman Todd Akin’s (R-MO) comment about legitimate rape against illegitimate rape, the issue of abortion could not escape media attention.

“I don’t know why it has been blown up so much lately,” said Rose. “No woman wants to have an abortion. People who are pro-life don’t understand that. I don’t know how people can call themselves pro-life when it can potentially kill the mother.”

Although the issue of abortion is not the only issue in the realm of women’s rights, it seemed to be the face of the debate.

“I do not believe that this position of life versus choice will change anytime in the near future,” said Shawver. “Nor do I see congress taking steps in changing it at all.”

While it is well known that social issues typically align more with the Democratic Party platform rather than the Republican Party’s, the issue holds importance for all involved.

“I feel as though many more women voted for Obama to protect their rights, especially on the reproductive side,” said Shawver. “With some of the Republican pressures on women, it seems as though they felt like they were being attacked and, rightfully so, they voted oppositely.”

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