Ranking The Second GOP Debate Candidates By How Pro-Women's Rights They Are (Or Otherwise)

The second GOP presidential debate is just around the corner and will be hosted by CNN on Wednesday evening from the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. This debate has a roster of 11 candidates, including previous undercard candidate Carly Fiorina, who impressed in the Republican forum that preceded the first debate in August. The other 10 candidates all appeared in the previous primetime debate: Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Mike Huckabee. While these candidates never seem to have a shortage of topics to bicker over, they all have quite a bit in common (they're in the same party, after all), including their harsh stance on women's rights. Taking a look at their presidential platforms and voting histories, ranking the Republican candidates on women's rights issues reveals who is bad on women's issues, and who is downright terrifying.

Don't get me wrong, in my opinion, all of these candidates are horrendous on issues that most affect women, and I'd be scared to see any of their women's rights agendas pushed any further than they already are. But there's always shades of awful, and the top Republican contenders for president show a nice little array of backward policies.

Here's a ranking of the candidates we'll see on Wednesday evening in terms of their position on women's rights issues. I ranked the candidates on a 0-5 scale (5 being maximum support, 0 being, well, 0 support) on three key issues affecting women today: abortion, paid maternity leave, and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Candidates who don't have a public opinion on one of these issues were given a 1. Here they are, in order from most to least offensive, the GOP 2016 presidential candidates.

Scott Walker

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Abortion: In the first GOP presidential debate for 2016, Walker stated that he would not make an exception to his anti-abortion stance even in the event that an abortion would save the mother's life.

Score: 0/5

Paid Maternity Leave: Walker has not explicitly spoken out against or in favor of paid parental leave, but Mother Jones has speculated that Walker's anti-union plan released Tuesday, which included a promise not to support federally mandated work-related laws, could be referring to paid parental leave in addition to other worker benefits.

Score: 0/5

Equal Rights Amendment: In 2012, Walker repealed the state-level Equal Pay Act in Wisconsin.

Score: 0/5

Total Score: 0/15

Chris Christie

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Abortion: Back in the early 1990s, Christie was ardently pro-choice. These days, Christie can be found bragging about the number of times he has voted to defund Planned Parenthood, which happens to be six times in six years.

Score: 0/5

Paid Maternity Leave: Christie has opposed the FMLA in the past, and in January Christie warned businesses that paid leave could be harmful to the New Jersey economy.

Score: 0/5

Equal Rights Amendment: Chris Christie has not adopted the National Governors Association policy on the ERA. In addition, Christie vetoed paycheck equality legislation.

Score: 0/5

Total Score: 0/15

Marco Rubio

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Abortion: In August, Marco Rubio stated that he opposes abortion under all circumstances.

Score: 0/5

Paid Maternity Leave: Like many of his fellow Republican candidates, Marco Rubio does not support government-mandated paid maternity leave.

Score: 0/5

Equal Rights Amendment: Rubio doesn't have an official public stance on the ERA, but in 2014 he voted in opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act that would protect women from gender-based pay discrimination.

Score: 0/5

Total Score: 0/15

Ted Cruz

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Abortion: In 2012, Cruz called the contraception mandates in the Affordable Care Act "outrageous." In 2013, Cruz called the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade a "dark anniversary," and this year he supported the Texas bill that requires abortion clinics to meet hospital standards and have admitting privileges, which meant Texas lost most of its abortion clinics.

Score: 0/5

Paid Maternity Leave: Like the other Republican candidates who have piped up on this issue, Cruz supports the idea of paid maternity leave, but is not in favor of government-mandated paid leave for mothers.

Score: 0/5

Equal Rights Amendment: Cruz mirrors Rubio on the ERA. While Cruz doesn't have an official stance on the ERA, he also voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Score: 0/5

Total Score: 0/15

Donald Trump

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Abortion: After many years of supporting a woman's right to choose, Trump stated in 2011 that he had changed his mind about abortion, and has been anti-abortion since.

Score: 0/5

Paid Maternity Leave: Trump has yet to state a formal opinion on maternity leave.

Score: 1/5

Equal Rights Amendment: Trump hasn't given his stance on the ERA, but he has infamously lambasted women (specific women and women in general) in various ways for being inferior.

Score: 0/5

Total Score: 1/15

Ben Carson

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Abortion: In a 2014 op-ed for The Washington Times, Carson referred to "abortion for convenience" as the "wanton slaughter of millions of helpless human babies."

Score: 0/5

Paid Maternity Leave: Carson has yet to make public comment on paid parental leave.

Score: 1/5

Equal Rights Amendment: In February 2015, Carson wrote an essay for the National Review entitled, "Applauding An Elegant Conservative," where he sang the praises of Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative activist who fought relentlessly to stop the ERA.

Score: 0/5

Total Score: 1/15

Rand Paul

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Abortion: In early August, Rand Paul wrote an op-ed for TIME in which he called Planned Parenthood a "callous harvesting operation."

Score: 0/5

Paid Maternity Leave: When asked by The Huffington Post if his congressional office offers paid maternity or paternity leave, Paul refused to answer.

Score: 0/5

Equal Rights Amendment: We're starting to see a pattern here: The ERA hasn't made it into Paul's priorities of things to talk about.

Score: 1/5

Total Score: 1/15

Carly Fiorina

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Abortion: Fiorina has been endorsed as a conservative pro-life "mama grizzly" by Sarah Palin, and has said she's only in support of abortions in cases of rape or incest.

Score: 1/5

Paid Maternity Leave: Fiorina has stated that she opposes government-mandated paid maternity leave for working mothers.

Score: 0/5

Equal Rights Amendment: Fiorina hasn't spoken publicly about the ERA, but has tried to align herself with a conservative idea of feminism, stating in June: "Realizing the potential of women isn't just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do."

Score: 1/5

Total Score: 2/15

John Kasich

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Abortion: No surprise, Kasich has a long history of conservative voting on abortion issues. He does not support helping to transport minors to states where abortion is legal, and would only want abortions to be allowed if the mother's life were in danger, or in cases of rape or incest.

Score: 1/5

Paid Maternity Leave: During his tenure in Congress, Kasich voted against the Family And Medical Leave Act on two separate occasions.

Score: 0/5

Equal Rights Amendment: Like with Fiorina, the ERA is missing from Kasich's platform.

Score: 1/5

Total Score: 2/15

Jeb Bush

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Abortion: Ever since he first ran for governor of Florida in 1994 Bush has supported a 24-hour waiting period for abortions. Bush also passed legislation that required minors to have parental consent in order to have an abortion.

Score: 0/5

Paid Maternity Leave: In 2000, as governor of Florida, Bush opposed state-mandated paid family leave.

Score: 0/5

Equal Rights Amendment: At last! In 2001, Bush adopted the National Governor's Association policy on the ERA, saying he supported the principles included in the amendment.

Score: 5/5

Total Score: 5/15

Mike Huckabee

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Abortion: In August, Huckabee stated that abortion should not be allowed under any circumstances.

Score: 0/15

Paid Maternity Leave: Huckabee has not voted on or made statements about paid maternity leave.

Score: 1/15

Equal Rights Amendment: Like Jeb Bush, Huckabee adopted the National Governors Association policy on the ERA.

Score: 5/5

Total Score: 6/15

Using this ranking system, somehow Mike Huckabee is the "best" on women's issues, with Bush coming in second. Looking through this list, though, it's easy to notice that many of the candidates have not spoken out on paid maternity leave and the ERA. While at first this might make it seem like this issues are of minimal importance (if they were important, top candidates of any party would discuss them, right?), but for both of these issues the opposite is true.

A poll released in February of this year revealed that 67 percent of Americans support paid maternity leave, and 55 percent said that they are in favor of paid paternity leave, according to The Huffington Post and YouGov. As for the ERA: In a poll conducted for Daily Kos in 2012, 91 percent of Americans said they agree that the Constitution should guarantee equal rights for men and women. These numbers are hugely significant, and certainly warrant the attention of anyone running for president.