Washington (CNN) - House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi told a summit of female activists she believes Republicans are engaged in a war on women and women's rights.
"There is actually a war on women," the minority leader told several hundred activists attending the Women Money Power Summit sponsored by the Feminist Majority Foundation. "Abortion is one issue but contraception and family planning and birth control are opposed by this crowd too. Understand what is at risk here," Pelosi said, referring to proposals promoted by the new House Republican leadership.
Pelosi's criticism echoes warnings by other progressive activists who argue the new House Republican leadership's budget cuts disproportionally target programs for women's health and low-incomes women's services.
Pelosi identified three bills pending before Congress which she said take aim at women. One, HR-3, would restrict women's access to abortion and eliminate federal funds for abortion in all circumstances. A second, the stop gap spending measure passed Thursday by the House, would eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, including for health checks for sexually transmitted diseases. And the third, the House Republicans' proposed budget for next year, would completely overhaul Medicare and Medicaid. Pelosi argued that proposal will end Medicare altogether.
"This is not reform. This is the same old ideological turn back the clock for women- end Medicare, end Medicare. Are you ready for that?" Pelosi asked the crowd.
When asked for comment, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee dismissed Pelosi's remarks as obstructionist. "These are more scare tactics and demagoguery from Democrats who are trying to distract from the serious conversation Republicans are having about our unsustainable budget. They weren't willing to have the conversation when they controlled the entire federal government and they are continuing to attempt to obstruct it now," said RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.
Republicans argue that they are advocating painful cuts now to save programs for the future. When he unveiled his proposed budget earlier this week, Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said, "We owe it to our country, to our kids to fix this problem."
In an interview with CNN Thursday, Pelosi maintained that women will bear the brunt of Ryan's Medicare fix saying, "Women are predominantly the recipients of Medicare, and they are going to be hurt by this. Medicaid they are going to be hurt by this."
The House Republican budget would convert Medicare from a fee-for-service program into a "premium-support" system for anyone under 55 today. When those individuals become seniors, they would choose from a Medicare-approved list of private insurance plans and the cost of that plan would be partly subsidized by the federal government. The Republican proposal would also gradually raise the age at which an individual is eligible for Medicare from 65 to 67 by the 2030s.
Speaking with CNN, the former speaker insisted the Republican agenda does harm to women saying, "If you are talking about jobs, their pay in the work place, health care, making-no longer is being a woman a pre-existing medical condition. They want to change all of that. So in every aspect – whether it is employment, whether it is education, whether it is health care, whether it is retirement, whether it is collective bargaining which affects women as well women have a lot to lose with the ideological old style agenda of the Republicans."
The women's vote will be key in next year's election, and analysts expect a battle for their allegiance. Since 1984, according to CNN exit polls, women have been a majority of voters in both presidential and congressional mid-term elections. By a 56 to 43 percent margin, the female vote in the 2008 presidential race went to President Barack Obama while in the 2010 midterm elections women voted for Republicans by a 49 to 48 percent margin for the House - helping them to re-gain the majority.
Pelosi urged the assembled activists to get involved ahead of the 2012 elections insisting the stakes are high.
"We have a big fight on our hands, in terms of respect for women, and our, what is right for our country in terms of our family decisions, in terms of Medicaid and Medicare," she said. "We have to create a drumbeat across America."
She's absolutely right. They want to halt the whole government because President Obama won't throw women's rights under the bus for those GOP cavemen.
Restricting women's access to abortion has NOTHING to do with the budget. The GOP is pushing an ideological agenda and using the budget as a lame excuse. There are huge items in the budget that the GOP won't address but instead go after women. It's pathetic.
Planned Parenthood provides birth control to many women. Cutting their funding will result in more unplanned pregnancies and more abortions. The abortions done by Planned Parenthood are privately funded. This is another non-issue drummed up by GOP extremists looking for scapegoats. Mike Pence is a liar.
Republicans have really, really, really disappointed me, the association with the tea-party group (a group that will ensure a democratic win in 2012) was the last straw for me. I thought there was a slight chance of some sucess in 2012, but now...
Sorry, this isn't just a war on women.This is a war on the poor and soon to be poor (middle class). The masters of the Republicans want a two class society, the Princes and the peasants and most of us will be the peasants.
When MY tax dollars are being blocked from funding necessary and needed services, religious zealots like the GOP are trampling on MY rights. Abortion is a needed and necessary service for many women. I support it, and WANT my tax dollars used for this important service. If you are religious and object, that's fine. However, we have Separation of Church and State for this reason. Your religious views impeding the Constitutional RIGHTS of Women, is un-Constitutional.
The GOP will tell women what their rights are!!!
PLEASE POST THE 1-WEEK EXTENSION BILL IN ITS ENTIRETY FOR ALL AMERICANS TO SEE – and determine if the juice will be worth the squeeze since apparantely our elected officials, once again, like Pelosi, are thinking of themselves or their sex, and not concentrating on compromise. Thank you!
Yes, there is a war going on against women – but it's being led by the Democrats, who are trying to tear down every strong Republican woman who dares speak her mind.
Women are only allowed to speak freely, you see, when they spout talking points of the Democratic party.
I wish there were more women like Nancy Pelosi in our leadership.
I am scared of Palin/Bachman/angles trio who are trying to push women's rights movement back to the middle ages. They are murdering Susan Anthony's spirit each time they open their mouth.
Pelosi is absolutely right. There are warring against women and children.The right wing nuts want to do away with all abortions and with no Planned Parenthood, birth control, too. What does this mean? Tens of thousands of unwanted children the right wing nuts will not do anything to help when they cut all those programs for children and the poor. What happens then? More welfare? More unemployment? More sexually transmitted diseases? More women with health issues? More people with no health services? Stop with the social issues and get on with what you promised when you were running, Repuglicans, JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS GET AWAY FROM YOUR POLITICAL POSTURING AND DO THE PEOPLE'S WORK. WHERE ARE THE JOBS?
...except for Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, nominated Vice Presidential canidate in 2008 Sarah Palin ( who by the way received about 45% of the national vote. ) and so on. Women are an important part of the Republican Party.
But sorry Noncy, women are smarter than what you give them credit for. They pay attention to the issues too.
Republicans don't respect women. They never have. And they never will. Not unless women stop taking this abuse from them.
We pay taxes, we vote, but every once in a while we ought to march, because anyone who thinks their body being debated on capitol hill is a sign of equality is very much mistaken.
The saddest part of this, however, is how few female journalists are focusing on this collective insult to women.
This woman continues her crazy statements, looking for whatever group of people will stand by her. She needs to retire and move in with George Soros. Then both of them can tell each other the lies that they try to convince intelligent people to believe.
Not only attacking Women, but attacking working people, attacking Children, attacking Seniors, attacking our economy, attacking our safety, attacking the poor.................
Many of us noticed that the Republicans ran on the promise of improving the economy and increasing jobs, but quickly turned to abortion restrictions and slashing Planned Parenthood as soon as they got into office.
Nothing new here. The radical Neo-Confederates have been waging Culture Wars against the rights of of Women for decades.
Pelosi is right about the war against women, and it is pepetrated by the GOP/Tea Party. Religious family values wingnuts are trying to impose their ideology and values while taking away women's rights. The Taliban is doing the same thing in Afghanistan.
If the Republicans are so concerned about the deficit, why is none of their proposals call for cuts in defense, or a stop to tax cuts for the top 2% of this Country? I think their agenda is clear from their amendments.
We the People need you now more than ever Nancy. GOD BLESS YOU
Spot on, Nancy! We've been seeing this coming for awhile now and a lot of us are indeed organizing for 2012. Going back to the Dark Ages is not an option. Seems the GOP only cares about fetuses and less about viable human beings. These decisions belong to a woman and her doctor, no one else, and certainly not government! Hey, GOP, thought you were about "small" government?
The Reps. aren't that concerned about the budget as they are defunding Planned Parenthood, EPA, and killing Medicare. These are things that will hurt women. It doesn't take a genius to see this.
Nancy Pelosi hits upon a dirty little secret most people don't realize, and those that do won't bring up – the political divide in America is largely (not completely, but largely) a gender divide. That's what makes politics today so contentious and intractable. They type of government people want to see depends upon what they value; women and men tend to value different things, and tend to distrust one another to some degree, so reaching compromise is extremely difficult. Several studies, including one out of Yale university, have shown that the size of government is related to women getting the right to vote. The social and cultural course of events over the past 50 years has been marked by a shift in women's reliance on men to their reliance on themselves and "Papa State" to take care of them. This trend has been mostly negative for the country and society in general. The main beneficiaries have been women who are irresponsible and selfish, or for some other reason don't want families. As a conservative it pains me to say this, but I partly agree with Pelosi – Republicans ARE engaged in a war on women, but I would complete her sentence by saying, "Republicans are engaged in a war on women who are selfish, irresponsible, short-sighted, and ignorant". Yes, we are definitely in a war against those kinds of women. And with good reason.
Republicans are not at war with women- That is a stereotype. As far as I know, Republicans are for heath care for women- The "exception" is abortion which is used to violently dismember and kill the unborn human baby because he/she is unwanted.
I am a women as well- I value the well being of the mother, AND the baby. I should not be forced to pay taxes to Planned Parenthood which kills defenseless human babies. Respect life.
Pelosi, stop your damn whining. You had a super majority last year, and could have passed the damn budget. Yet you and Reid didn't do it, why not? Let me guess, you were scared of cutting the budget and lowering our deficit...so what did you do? You punted to the 2011. I am disgusted with our current Democratic Leadership. Stop blaming the last Administration, stop blaming Republicans, stop blaming the Tea Party...just do your DAMN jobs or in 2012 we'll replace you.
In every Republican budget, the rich and the corporations keep their tax breaks, while the cuts come at the expense of women, seniors, the poor and the working class. They're an abomination and will be the destruction of this nation if they aren't held in check.