Obama and Romney never really got to face off on reproductive rights and family planning last night; Obama mentioned his opponent’s vow to defund Planned Parenthood and Romney fumbled around with his straw man “bureaucrat” in Washington, D.C., that wants determine who should and should not use contraception. More meaningful was when the two candidates chose to broach their wildly different views of how the government can improve the lots of women and children. For Obama, a question about women’s wages — still only 72 percent those of men — was a point of entry for his strong record on contraception and child care. For Romney, a question about gun control was an opportunity for him to blame violence on poverty caused by single parents who irresponsibly choose not to get married.
Question: What will you do to close the wage gap?
Paraphrased Answer: Continue to protect insurance coverage of contraception, child-care tax credits, and other instruments of self-determination — not necessarily abortion, but, you know, wink, wink — that enable women to achieve parity with men.
Subtext: Good mothers use family planning before conception. Tax credits and fair workplaces support them.
“Now, there are some other issues that have a bearing on how women succeed in the workplace. For example, their healthcare. You know a major difference in this campaign is that Governor Romney feels comfortable having politicians in Washington decide the health care choices that women are making. I think that’s a mistake. In my health care bill, I said insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage to everybody who is insured. Because this is not just a health issue, it’s an economic issue for women … It makes a difference in terms of how well and effectively women are able to work. When we talk about child care, and the credits that we’re providing. That makes a difference in whether they can go out there and — and earn a living for their family. These are not just women’s issues. These are family issues. These are economic issues. And one of the things that makes us grow as an economy is when everybody participates and women are getting the same fair deal as men are.”
Question: What will you do to get assault weapons out of the hands of criminals?
Paraphrased answer: Eradicate violent criminal behavior by encouraging women to get married before they get pregnant — or marry their impregnator, or anyone, but no abortions — because what kid with two, heterosexual, married parents grows up to be a killer?
Subtext: Single mothers should get married, to men. Financial support comes your from the husband.
“What I believe is we have to do, as the president mentioned towards the end of his remarks there, which is to make enormous efforts to enforce the gun laws that we have, and to change the culture of violence that we have … And I believe if we do a better job in education, we’ll give people the hope and opportunity they deserve and perhaps less violence from that. But let me mention another thing. And that is parents. We need moms and dads, helping to raise kids. Wherever possible the benefit of having two parents in the home, and that’s not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone, that’s a great idea. Because if there’s a two parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will be able to achieve increase dramatically. So we can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence and give them opportunity, and bring them in the American system.”