Progressives Advise GOP: Back Off On the War on Women

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It was clear in both the lead up to and the aftermath of the November 2012 election that Republican candidates are not faring well among women voters. From Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin to Mitt Romney’s 11-point loss among women voters, it became painfully clear that the GOP has a lady problem. A new memo from a pair of liberal groups that pulls together some of the polling figures makes a strong case for paying more attention to this divide.

The memo, from Stephanie Schriock of EMILY’s List and Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, notes that even the Republican National Committee’s own post-election report found that, “[Women] represent more than half the voting population in the country, and our inability to win their votes is losing us elections.” But while Republicans have made some effort to soften the party’s positioning on issues like immigration and LGBT rights, the party has not moderated its stance on reproductive rights or other issues of interest to many women voters.

The memo points to the unprecedented attack on access to abortion underway in states like North Dakota and Arkansas, the 160 Republicans that voted against the Violence Against Women Act at the federal level, and the ongoing fights over both contraception coverage and cuts to the federal family planning budget.

NARAL Pro-Choice America’s polling right after the election found that Romney’s view on abortion was the top reason for voting against him that swing-voting women cited in their survey. Planned Parenthood also used this issue to attack anti-choice politicians.  Planned Parenthood also used this issue to attack anti-choice politicians. Another post-election poll from Democracy Corps found that 33 percent of unmarried women listed the attacks on Planned Parenthood and women’s preventative health services as a top reason for voting against Romney.

While I’d guess that Republican politicians aren’t looking for advice from CAP and EMILY’s List, the memo ends with some. “If the GOP wants to move forward, help its image and win elections, it should halt its embrace of extreme and out-of-touch policies that attack women and their families,” Schriock and Tanden write. “Ending attacks on abortion rights in the states would be a start.”

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