Several weeks ago, I issued an invitation to Representative Roskam to join me in a series of debates about the issues. Voters deserve to hear us both because the contrast between our views and the policies we are likely to pursue is quite dramatic. Those differences are especially stark when it comes to the issues that many women care about.
On Sunday, August 26, we celebrated Women's Equality Day. It commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. Now, 92 years later, extreme politicians like Peter Roskam have embraced an agenda and molded a party platform that would send women's rights back to the 19th century -- chipping away, piece by piece, at a woman's right to choose, a woman's right to decide her own healthcare needs without government interference, and a woman's right to equal pay for equal work.
Instead of trying to get Americans back to work in keeping with his party's "jobs, jobs, jobs" campaign rhetoric during the 2010 election, Peter Roskam has used his leadership position in Congress to oversee bill after bill to restrict women's rights. Mr. Roskam has voted for Amendment 95 to HR 1 to defund Planned Parenthood. He was a co-sponsor and voted for HR 3 which initially included the now infamous "forcible rape" language.
More significantly, Mr, Roskam has voted 33 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). There is no bigger women’s issue than making health care affordable for all, particularly children, so that families do not have to suffer without treatment or go bankrupt if a child or adult falls ill. This was movingly demonstrated by Stacey Lihn, a mother who praised the Affordable Care Act at the Democratic National Convention. Its provisions will prevent her young daughter, who has congenital heart disease, from being denied treatment by her insurance company because she will soon pass her ‘lifetime cap’ on insurance benefits. Under Obamacare, lifetime caps are prohibited, and Stacy Lihn’s daughter can’t be denied coverage she needs to get treatment.
In the area of equal pay, Mr. Roskam voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007 and 2009. He voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2008 and 2009 hich revised the Equal Pay Act to include remedies for and enforcement against sex discrimination in the payment of wages.
I can only conclude from these votes that Mr. Roskam does not believe that women are competent to handle their own lives and decisions about their bodies. What will he want to take away from women next – the vote? In fact, yes. He voted for an amendment to HR 5326 that would prevent the Justice Department from spending funds to overturn any of the voter ID laws that have the effect, in some states, of taking away the vote from elderly women who tend not to have government-issued IDs. That amendment passed.
What’s next on your agenda for women if you are re-elected, Mr. Roskam? We’ll never know for sure unless you agree to debate me.