9 Lies About Women's Rights From This Election

by Lani Seelinger

With a woman running for president against an overt misogynist, it's no surprise that women's issues have been widely discussed this election cycle. Also, since it's a political campaign, it's no surprise that there have been so many completely untrue quotes about women's rights, touching on pretty much every subject you can think of. Those topics include the pay gap, the war on women, reproductive rights — according to the GOP's best and brightest, the first two of those don't exist and the third shouldn't. And Donald Trump respects women. And that's just for starters.

It's been a long campaign, which means that the world has been subject to an awful lot of political rhetoric from both sides. Unfortunately, as one party has shown itself to be staunchly against such things as equal pay for equal work and letting women decide about their reproductive health, a lot of the political rhetoric regarding women that comes from that side is patently false. They have to justify their positions somehow, right? Here, then, is a list of nine of the most ridiculously false things that you've been forced to listen to from various Republican politicians and presidential hopefuls on the subjects of women and women's rights.

1. Donald Trump, Third Presidential Debate

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In the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.

Let's ignore the syntax of Trump's quote from the third presidential debate and just look at the facts, which of course he's got all wrong. That's not how late-term abortion works, and propagating lies like that is dangerous for the women who seek out late-term abortions to protect their own health.

2. Paul Ryan, Responding To The Lewd Trump Tapes

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Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified.

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan must have just stepped out of his suit of armor before saying something as medieval as this. Women are not to be objectified, he got that right. Women are to be championed and revered? As one Twitter user put it, women would probably rather have equal pay, or be respected. Leave the championing and revering back at the jousting match.

3. Ted Cruz On Contraception

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You’re Hillary Clinton and you’re trying to think, "How do I run?" ... You go, "Ah ha! The condom police. I’m going to make up a completely made up threat and try to scare a bunch of folks that are not paying a lot of attention into thinking someone’s going to steal their birth control." What nonsense.

Ted Cruz tried to get women to believe that no one is trying to make it harder to get birth control, even though he himself fought to defund Planned Parenthood. That, for many women, would literally amount to their birth control being stolen. Ted Cruz also seems to believe that some forms of birth control cause abortions, which is also entirely untrue.

4. Ben Carson On Abortion Rights

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[Abortions to preserve the life and health of the mother are] an extraordinarily rare situation.

Carson, as shown through quotes like this, seems to think that most women just get abortions because they feel like it. As usual with Carson, though, the facts are not on his side, and abortions do sometimes have to happen in order to protect the woman's physical health. They also sometimes have to happen in order to protect the woman's mental health, but Carson clearly doesn't take that into account in the slightest.

5. Donald Trump On Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.

OK, technically this isn't a lie, because it's just Trump expressing his belief about what his daughter Ivanka should do if she faced sexual harassment at the workplace. However, he does express a damaging misconception — that a woman can just leave her job or switch careers if someone sexually harasses her. First of all, as anyone who has ever searched for a job knows, it is not easy. Secondly, the responsibility obviously shouldn't fall on the shoulders of the woman to leave, but on the harasser to stop making the woman's workplace uncomfortable. Finally, by expressing a viewpoint like this, Trump evidently believes that any woman currently holding a job now is not experiencing any form of workplace harassment — which is certainly not the case.

6. Ted Cruz On Equal Pay

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Equal pay for equal work has been the law for decades.

Again, this quote from 2015 isn't technically a lie — the Equal Pay Act of 1963 does call for equal pay for equal work. However, Cruz makes it clear that he's been living in a bubble of his own making regarding the issue as it stands today, as there have been numerous studies showing that there's still a significant pay gap between men and women. As long as that pay gap exists, politicians need to stand up for their female constituents and work to get rid of it.

7. Rand Paul, Comparing Equal Pay To Communism

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In the Soviet Union, the Politburo decided the price of bread. They either had no bread or too much bread, so setting prices on wages by the government is always a bad idea. ... The minute you set up a fairness czar to determine what wages are, you give away freedom. When you give that power to someone to make decisions, they may well discriminate in favor of whoever they want to discriminate in favor of.

Rand Paul is correct about exactly one thing here: In order to get right-leaning voters into a fury, compare a Democratic policy proposal to communism. Voila! Here, of course, he shows that his understanding of communist economic policies and their results is spotty at best, and the comparison is absolute nonsense. One thing he didn't bother looking up was that the gender wage gap in communist countries was actually pretty terrible — the fairness czar in the Soviet Union apparently didn't do such a great job. And lastly, the freedom to pay women less than men isn't a freedom that you should be celebrating.

8. Trump On His Disgusting Comments

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This was locker room banter.

No. It was bragging about groping women without consent, and that's all there is to it. Making excuses for that sort of talk normalizes both the talk and behavior, especially when it's coming from a man who has been accused of doing exactly what he bragged about doing. (He's denied all of the allegations that have come against him.)

9. Ivanka Trump On Her Father's Regard For Women

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He 100 percent believes in equality of gender. ... I think this is one of his great strengths: He fully prioritizes merit and accomplishment and skill and ability over background, education, and gender.

Ivanka is clearly in a tough situation. Her father is running for president, and as a respected businesswoman herself, she can't possibly not recognize the terribly damaging things he's been saying about women this whole campaign. But at the same time, she's supposed to help Trump appeal to women and millennials. What's she to do, besides back her dad up? The problem is that Trump's strong record of misogyny isn't exactly a state secret, and it's frankly a sad thing to see a woman having to stand up and argue to the contrary. Trump's record speaks for itself, showing the country what exactly the next president would be if he were to get elected. Ivanka trying to sweep his actions under the carpet is a dangerous misrepresentation of the Republican presidential candidate.

These certainly aren't the only lies that women have had thrust in their faces during this whole election, the first election when there is actually a female candidate for president. At least one thing is clear — for women who want to improve their standing in the world, there's a very obvious choice in terms of who to vote for.