Memo: The GOP’s 502.4 Billion Dollar Price Tag for Women

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 10.28.15

TO:         Interested Parties
FROM:   Erica Sackin, Political Communications Director, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
DATE:    Wednesday, October 28, 2015
RE:         The GOP’s $502.4 Billion Dollar Price Tag for Women


Tonight’s field of candidates have made a name for themselves --- by staking their campaigns on the idea that women should not have access to no-copay birth control, that poor women should not have access to basic reproductive health care, and that no women should have access to safe and legal abortion, even if she’s been the victim of rape (or in some cases if her life is at stake).

Tonight’s “Your Money, Your Vote” debate will focus on the economy.  So let’s take a look at the economic consequences of the GOP candidates’ vision for American women. Spoiler alert --- it doesn’t look good.

Repealing No-Copay Birth Control

The Affordable Care Act has meant a lot of changes for women, but one of the most immediate was its birth control benefit --- thanks to which, more than 55 million women are now eligible for birth control without a copay.

A recent studypublished in Health Affairs found that the Affordable Care Act has saved women $1.4 billion a year on birth control pills alone — showing the clear economic impact that access to no co-pay birth control has had on women’s lives. The study found that the mean out-of pocket expense for the pill declined by 38 percent between June 2012 and June 2013 and declined 68 percent for IUDs in the same time period.  The study also found that before the birth control benefit went into effect, contraceptive costs accounted for between 30 and 44 percent of women’s total out-of-pocket health care costs.

Unfortunately, every single GOP candidate on the main stage tonight has advocated for a repeal in the Affordable Care Act --- many, such as Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio and John Kasich, targeting birth control specifically.

………………………………………..........….Cost per year for women:$1.4 billion


Lifting Provisions to Prevent Gender Discrimination in Health Care Costs

The Affordable Care Act also includes a provision that prevents insurance companies from using what’s called a “gender rating” to charge women higher premiums than men for the same benefits. Before this provision went into effect in 2014, women paid an estimated $1 billion more than men for the same health care plans.

All GOP candidates taking the stage tonight would repeal this provision, sending women back into an era where they paid more for health care, simply because of their gender.


………………………………………..........….Cost per year for women: $1 billion


Opposing Equal Pay for Equal Work

While it’s getting better for some, women still earn less than men every year --- costing women an estimated $500 billion each year. Everyone agrees that women should get paid the same as men for the same work, right? Wrong. Inexplicably, the GOP field is opposed to that idea.  

Look no further than Governor Kasich’s office, which had the highest wage gap among male and female employees according to an investigation on the issue.  It found that women working in Republican Gov. John Kasich's office earn $9.81-an-hour less, on average, than men. The pay gap in governor Kasich’s was the highest gender pay gap among the all statewide officeholders that were investigated.

The rest of the field isn’t much better. Fiorina has dismissed legislation that would address wage disparity based on gender. And Jeb Bush doesn’t even know what the Paycheck Fairness Act is.  

Marco Rubio voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, and went as far to say that this bill was about scoring “political points.” There is nothing political about working to ensure that women are paid equally -- it’s just the right thing to do.  


………………………………………..........….Cost per year for women: more than $500 Billion


Blocking Access to Birth Control

Access to birth control has meant more educational and economic options for women. Since the 1960s when oral contraceptives became available the number of women in the U.S. labor force has more than tripled, women’s income now constitute a growing proportion of family income, and the number of women who complete four or more years of college is six times what it was before birth control became legal.

How else has birth control helped women’s economic opportunity?

  • Birth control has helped women move closer to economic equity.Research finds that availability of the pill is responsible for a third of women’s wage increases relative to men. By the 1980s and ’90s, the women who had early access to the pill were making eight percent more each year than those who did not.

  • Women who have access to the Pill at a younger age are TWENTY percent more likely to go to college and make more money later in life. According to a study on early access to oral contraceptives, younger teenagers are more likely to choose to attend college as well as earn higher wages over their extended lifetime if they incorporate the Pill into their daily life.
  • Women who have early access to ‘The Pill’ make 8% more each year.Research finds thatavailability of the pill is responsible for a third of women’s wage increases relative to men. By the 1980s and ’90s, the women who had early access to the pill were making eight percent more each year than those who did not.

  • Voters recognize the inextricable links between reproductive health and economic stability. The PerryUndem Research/Communication group polled voters about women’s health, and the vast majority said that a woman’s ability to control whether or when she has children affects her basic measure of equality and economic opportunity. Over 80% of voters surveyed agree that a woman’s ability to control the timing of her job and family is a fundamental component of women’s equality. 72% believe that reproductive health access and planning is directly related to financial stability.

  • Women who use birth control are more economically secure. A2012 report from the Guttmacher Institute confirmed that women use contraception to better achieve their life goals, with the majority of participants reporting that contraception has had a significant impact on their lives:

    • allowing them to take better care of themselves or their families (63 percent);

    • support themselves financially (56 percent);

    • complete their education (51 percent), or keep or get a job (50 percent).  

    • Other reasons for using contraception, reported by a majority of respondents, include not being ready to have children (63 percent), feeling that using birth control gives them better control over their lives (60 percent), and wanting to wait until their lives are more stable to have a baby (60 percent).

Yet despite this, every single GOP Presidential candidate has opposed making it easier for women to access birth control --- with some wanting to block women’s access to birth control all together.

  • Jeb Bush: Jeb Bush has compared the Obama administration's effort to mandate health insurance coverage for contraceptives to “Big Brother,” and has said that the Affordable Care Act is “flawed to its core.” [USA Today, 5/9/15; POLITICO, 10/20/13]

  • John Kasich: Kasich, when serving in the House of Representatives, voted against an amendment to require the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan to cover prescription contraception just as they cover other prescriptions. [H. Amdt. 728 to H.R. 4104, Roll Call Vote 290, 7/16/98]

  • Marco Rubio: In opposition to the birth control benefit, Rubio said, “We must stop the unconstitutional mandate under Obamacare that requires church-affiliated organizations to offer their workers private-insurance coverage without out-of-pocket charges for birth control….” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/30/14; Sen. Marco Rubio, 3/1/12]

  • Rand Paul: Paul praised the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision that would give employers a permission slip to deny their employees access to birth control coverage. Paul also voted for the Blunt amendment, which would have extended an already expansive refusal provision in the health care law, allowing employers and health insurers to object to providing essential health care coverage on the basis of religious belief and moral conviction. [RAND PAC, 6/30/14; ,Blunt Amendment to S. 1813, Roll Call vote 24, 3/1/12]

  • Chris Christie: Following the Hobby Lobby decision, Chris Christie was asked if he was concerned that some New Jersey women could lose birth control coverage, to which he said “No.” When asked why not, he added, “Because I’m not.” [POLITICO, 11/27/13; Wall Street Journal, 4/14/15; POLITICO, 7/13/14]

  • Ben Carson: Ben Carsonsupported the Hobby Lobby ruling, calling it “fortunate” and in an op-ed published in the Washington Times, Carson called the ACA’s birth control benefit symptomatic of an “entitlement society.” [The Washington Times, 7/8/14]

  • Donald Trump: Says he wants to repealthe Affordable Care Act saying he would kill the Affordable Care Act with the stroke of a pen on his first day in office if he were president. [The Daily Caller, 1/15/14]

  • Ted Cruz: Ted Cruz has said that he believes that birth control is an “abortion-inducing drug.”Cruz also introduced a measure to strike a DC law that prevents employers operating in DC from discriminating against workers based on their personal reproductive health care decisions. The law that Cruz unsuccessfully tried to get rid of prevents employers from firing an employee for using birth control, having an abortion, or using in vitro fertilization. [Salon, 9/26/14; The Washington Post, 3/18/15]

  • Mike Huckabee: When asked about the birth control benefit, Huckabee said, “And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it." [Huffington Post, 1/23/14]

  • Carly Fiorina: Fiorina supported the Hobby Lobby case and said that women “had plenty of access to birth control both before and after” the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, dismissing the impact that this case had on women who can now be denied birth control by their employers. [ThinkProgress, 2/28/15]

It’s clear that, whether for their stance on access to birth control, opposition to equal pay, or simply because of how radically they’d roll back access to basic reproductive health care --- women just can’t afford to elect these GOP candidates.


More Background on GOP candidates’ positions on women and the economy

Jeb Bush

  • Cut funds for women’s health, and funnelled money into ineffective abstinence-only programs. Jeb Bushfunnelled millions of taxpayer dollars into abstinence-only programs, while cutting funds for crucial family planning programs that health centers like Planned Parenthood provide.

  • Jeb Bush didn’t know what the Paycheck Fairness Act was when he was asked about his stance: “What’s the Paycheck Fairness Act?” asked Bush when confronted with a question on whether he supported the major bill aimed at eliminating the wage gap between men and women. [The Hill, 10/15/14]

  • As Governor, Bush opposed a popular ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage: In 2004, the people of Florida successfully put an initiative on the ballot to raise the minimum wage to $6.15. At the time, living on a $5.15 minimum wage gave a full-time worker a weekly paycheck of $206 and an annual income of $10,712. Governor Jeb Bush opposed the wage increase, and a spokeswoman on his behalf said he “believes setting an arbitrary number on the minimum wage will actually have an adverse effect and cost the state jobs.” The initiative passed with overwhelming support 71% - 29%, and a study completed one year after the increase went into effect found that state employment in Florida had shown stronger growth than in previous years and better than the U.S. as a whole. [Tampa Bay Times, 7/28/04, Economic Policy Institute, 10/24/06]

Carly Fiorina

  • Fiorina has dismissed legislation that would address wage disparity based on gender: Fiorina dismissed fair pay legislation such as the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act has “tokens” and “gestures” that don’t help women “advance.” [CNN, 6/30/14]

  • Fiorina would make it harder for women to access affordable birth control: Fiorina opposes the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which ensures that women have access to no co-pay birth control. Regarding the failed Blunt amendment that would allow employers to deny employees birth control, she said: “...There are some who are calling this a vote on a woman's right to choose and a woman's access to contraception. I think that's fundamentally backwards.” [CBS News, 3/2/12]

  • Fiorina doesn’t support enacting a paid maternity leave mandate: “Carly Fiorina said on Sunday that she opposes changing federal law to require companies to provide paid maternity leave. Her position is at odds with the policies of virtually every developed country on Earth and considerably worse than the maternity leave policy in war-torn Afghanistan.” [Huffington Post, 8/10/15]

Marco Rubio

  • Rubio supports denying women birth control and emergency contraception. Rubiowould allow hospitals or health care providers to deny women emergency contraception, a safe and effective form of birth control, and would also allow bossesto deny their employees insurance coverage for birth control.

  • Rubio would cut access to health care. Rubio wouldrepeal the Affordable Care Act and its historic advancements for women, and he has votedtwotimes to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide health care to nearly 80,000 people in Florida, with 61 percent of health centers providing care in rural or medically underserved areas.

  • Rubio voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, said the bill was about scoring “political points.” According to the Miami Herald, “The Paycheck Fairness Act requires businesses to show that wage discrepancies between men and women are not based on gender. The measure also bans retaliation against workers who reveal their wages or try to get wage information from their employers. Rubio called the legislation more about ‘scoring political points’ than solving any problems.”  [Miami Herald, Naked Politics Blog, 6/5/12]

  • Rubio likened the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which expanded workers’ rights to take gender-based pay discrimination cases to court, to “an effort to help trial lawyers collect their fees and file lawsuits.” [CNN, 4/7/14]

  • Marco Rubio’s introduced a paid family leave plan that would not guarantee that paid leave is afforded to all workers:  According to the New Republic, “His plan would do little to change the country’s status quo. It could, in fact, make things even more unequal when it comes to who can get some compensated time off to recover and bond with a new baby and who has to scramble to afford unpaid time away from work….Rubio’s plan probably won’t change this landscape. It might entice some companies that are on the fence about offering paid leave to make the switch and get a nice tax break in the process. But what he’s proposed wouldn’t cover the cost of providing leave on its own.” [New Republic, 9/29/15]

John Kasich

  • John Kasich opposes abortion and has signed 16 anti-women’s health provisions into law as governor of Ohio, including a provision banning publicly funded hospitals and clinics from performing abortions, and a measure requiring the Ohio Department of Health to annually apply for federal funds for abstinence-only programs.

  • Signed into law the 2013 state budget that defunded Planned Parenthood. A provision in the two-year state budget effectively blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving an estimated $1.4 million in funding to provide affordable family planning and preventive care to women, men, and young people. He also increased funding to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” which provide misleading or medically inaccurate information to women seeking counseling about their pregnancy options.

  • Gov. Kasich’s office had the highest wage gap among male and female employees according to an investigation on the issue:The Dayton Daily News did an investigation into the average salary of employees in the offices of five Ohio elected statewide officials found that the pay gap between men and women was almost $10 an hour. It found that women working in Republican Gov. John Kasich's office earn $9.81-an-hour less, on average, than men. The pay gap in governor Kasich’s was the highest gender pay gap among the all statewide officeholders that were investigated. [Associated Press, 4/21/14]

Donald Trump

  • Won’t protect access to affordable birth control. Donald Trump says he wants torepealthe Affordable Care Act saying he would kill the Affordable Care Act with the stroke of a pen on his first day in office if he were president. The Affordable Care Act ensures that women have access to birth control pills without a co-pay.

  • Would shut down the government rather than fund Planned Parenthood. Trump has also said he would defund Planned Parenthood, go so far as to say he he believes that Republicans shouldshut down the government rather than fund Planned Parenthood.

  • Regarding equal pay legislation, Trump has said he likes the “concept” of it but he has not indicated any policy he would support to address it: “The concept of it, I love. I just don’t want it to be a negative where everybody ends up making the same pay because that’s not our system.” [POLITICO, 8/11/15]

Mike Huckabee

  • Would use federal troops to prevent women from accessing safe and legal abortion. GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has said he is open to the idea ofusing federal troops and the FBI to stop women from having abortions. Mike Huckabee has said a lot of insulting things about women, most notably his comment that the Affordable Care Act’s provision giving women access to no-copay birth control was created because women “cannot control their own libido.”

  • Advocated for personhood legislation. Mike Huckabee hasadvocated for and endorsedextreme “personhood” legislation which would ban abortion and could interfere with access to some of the most effective forms of birth control.

Ben Carson

  • Supports denying women access to birth control. Ben Carsonsupports allowing for-profit businesses like Hobby Lobby to deny their employees access to birth control.

  • Wants to eliminate Medicaid. Ben Carson says he wants toeliminate Medicaid and Medicare, which would have a disproportionate impact on women, specifically women of color and low-income women already struggling to make ends meet.

Ted Cruz

  • Voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2014: Introduced by Sen. Mikulski, and was killed due to a failed vote for cloture. The bill would have provided more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes. [S. 2199, Roll Call Vote 262, 9/15/14]

  • Criticized Obama’s efforts to push equal pay legislation: When President Obama announced that he would use an executive action to strengthen equal pay laws for employees of federal contractors, Senator Cruz said he was just pushing the issue to gain “political show votes.” [FOX News, 4/8/14]

Rand Paul

  • Would deny women access to emergency contraception and birth control. Rand Paul alsoworked to allow hospitals or health care providers to deny women emergency contraception, a safe and effective form of birth control, and to allow bosses to deny their employees insurance coverage for birth control.

  • Rand Paul opposes equal pay: Rand Paul voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would help secure equal pay for equal work for all Americans, regardless of their gender. He compared the law to the Soviet “Politburo,” which was the Soviet Union’s central governing body. Women continue to make 78 cents for every dollar paid to men. African American women earn just 64 cents to the dollar, and Latinas earn just 54 cents to the dollar. [S. 3220, Roll Call vote 115, 6/5/12;Huffington Post, 6/5/12;American Association of University Women, 2015]

Chris Christie

  • Christie was not worried about the impact of the Supreme court’s Hobby Lobby decision on New Jersey women: Following the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision, which allowed employers to deny health care coverage of birth control to its employees, Chris Christie was asked if he was concerned that some New Jersey women could lose birth control coverage. Christie’s response was: “No.” When asked why not, he added, “Because I’m not.” [Politico, 7/13/14]

  • Chris Christie has repeatedly killed proposed reforms that would support equal pay for women: Back in 2012, Christie killed two bills that would make it easier for women to learn if they are being discriminated against and recover the back pay they are owed. He did the same thing again in 2014. One bill called the Wage Transparency Act, would have required state contractors to make their gender, race, and wage information publicly available, as federal contractors will soon have to Christie called the bill a “senseless bureaucracy." The other bill, the Unfair Wage Recovery Act, would allow a woman who discovers she is being paid less than male co-workers to have the opportunity to seek all the back pay she is owed. [, 4/9/13;, 8/14/14]

  • Chris Christie vetoed a bill to raise New Jersey minimum wage, denying women and families the opportunity to make ends meet: When Christie vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage in 2013, proponents of the bill vowed to take it to the people and put it on the ballot. Later that year, 61 percent of New Jersey voters voted for a minimum wage increase, sending Chris Christie a clear message that he was wrong. Two-thirds of minimum wage earners are women, and Wider Opportunities for Women estimates that a single person without children in New Jersey working a job with benefits would still need a wage of $19.55 for basic economic security. [, 1/29/13,, 9/30/14]

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.