Predicting that female voters will be a deciding factor in the 2018 midterms, two political action groups on Tuesday launched an interactive campaign exposing some of the worst offenses lawmakers have committed against American women—including several who are up for re-election in November.
At WorstForWomen.com, UltraViolet PAC and American Bridge are providing visitors with their ranking of the 15 members of Congress who—with their votes, harmful misogynist rhetoric, and commitment to serving corporate interests over the families in their home districts and states—have threatened women's heathcare, rights, and livelihoods the most.
"If you are a member of Congress putting women's rights, livelihoods, and actual lives at risk—start making plans for a long vacation after election day, because your political career ends in November." —Bradley Beychok, American Bridge
"Each and every one of these Congress members is an active threat to women in every respect, whether in their access to health care, fair workplace protections, or protections and recourse for survivors of gendered violence," said Shaunna Thomas, executive director of UltraViolet.
Thirteen Republicans in the U.S. House were given the dubious distinction:Thirteen Republican representatives were given the dubious distinction: Reps. Don Bacon of Nebraska, Dave Brat of Virginia, Ted Budd of North Carolina, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, Karen Handel of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Steve King of Iowa, Jason Lewis of Minnesota, Kevin McCarthy of California, Steve Pearce of New Mexico, Pete Sessions of Texas, and Scott Taylor of Virginia.
GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Dean Heller of Nevada were named the worst members of the Senate for women.
We're launching a new project with @UltraViolet targeting more than a dozen members of Congress who are the Worst for Women. These members are threatening the lives of women across the country with their harmful policies and votes. Learn more at https://t.co/06fb3Ch7Co pic.twitter.com/RqtOtqLo96
— Bridge Project (@BridgeProject21) August 7, 2018
Nearly all of the "15 Worst for Women" are running for re-election in November, with Reps. DeSantis and Pearce each running for governor of their states.
"If you are a member of Congress putting women's rights, livelihoods, and actual lives at risk—start making plans for a long vacation after election day, because your political career ends in November," Bradley Beychok, president and co-founder of American Bridge, said in a statement.
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Digital ads on Facebook will link to the Worst for Women website, where readers can learn about the worst votes cast by the 15 lawmakers—including the bill sponsored by Brat to defund Planned Parenthood, and their votes against the Title X Family Planning Program and minimum wage increases.
All of the lawmakers voted in favor of the Republican tax bill last December, forcing women across the country to "pay for benefits for big business and wealthy elites while threatening critical programs for women," wrote the groups. All 15 also supported repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which helped many low-income women obtain healthcare and ended the practice of charging women more than men for health insurance.
The members' statements on women also speak volumes about how they will continue voting if permitted to continue representing the American people.
Cruz has dismissed the war on women as "nonsense," Pearce wrote in his memoir that women should "voluntarily submit" to their husbands, and last week, Sessions said at an event in his district that a man in Texas who had murdered his wife did so because she "was unfair" and "demanded something."
The 15 worst lawmakers for women, however, are just that—the worst out of a group of 535 members of Congress, the vast majority of whom have fought bold reforms that would improve American women's lives while continuing to subscribe to ideologies that ignore the existential threats presented by climate change, an insidious neoliberal economic model, human rights abuses, and endless war.
Only 16 Democratic senators have signed on to co-sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) Medicare for All bill, which would make medical care free for all American women.
In 2015, a number of Democratic legislators' offices also disclosed to the Huffington Post that they provided their employees with less than 12 weeks of paid medical leave after the birth of a child.