January 7, 2010 / Safety

Dear Mr. President: Your Policies Are Damaging Women the Most


Nine Republican Congresswomen including Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Rep Marsha Blackburn, Rep Sue Myrick, Rep Candice Miller, Rep Kay Granger, Rep Ginny Brown-Waite, Rep Shelley Moore Capito, Rep Mary Bono Mack and Rep Lynn Jenkins have put together an Open Letter to President Obama and published this letter at Pajamas Media.

As we reflect on what the past year has meant for our families, it’s clear that President Obama’s policies are hitting women especially hard.

mamm1203Since the president took office on January 20, about one million women have lost their jobs and today the unemployment rate among women is at the highest level in over 25 years. But perhaps most concerning of all, the president’s economic policies have severely harmed the small business community, which has traditionally been the part of our economy that propels us out of recession and is increasingly being used by women as a means of career advancement and financial independence.

According to the U.S. Census, women are starting new businesses at twice the rate of men and today 23 million Americans are employed by women-owned businesses. Unfortunately, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are creating an uncertain economic environment in which small businesses lack the confidence to hire new workers. The Democrats’ $787 billion stimulus bill has raised investor fears that America will be unable to meet its debt obligations. Meanwhile, the president’s threats to enact a cap-and-trade law and impose a government takeover of America’s health care system have heightened anxiety among our entrepreneurial class — a class increasingly made up of women.

The health care reform bill, in particular, has created fear among women of all political persuasions. After all, women are responsible for most health care decisions and spend two out of every three health care dollars. The overwhelming majority of health care workers are women, including 95 percent of home health care workers, 90 percent of nurses, and the majority of first year medical students. In November, women around the country reacted fiercely when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that women ages 40 to 49 should not be routinely screened with a mammogram for breast cancer. It seemed the federal government was telling young women to just roll the dice when it came to this deadly disease.

The truth is that mammography screening for women aged 40 and above is one of the major health care advances of the past 40 years. With the onset of mammography screening, the death rate from advanced breast cancer has decreased by 30 percent since 1990. That’s why the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure have made it clear they will not change their guidelines urging women to be screened starting at age 40.

We recently called together a bipartisan forum of women to discuss how the debate over health care affects them. Speakers included former Assistant Secretary of Defense Victoria C. Clarke, former New York Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey, former Congresswoman Susan Molinari,(R-NY), Mariam Atash Nawabi of AMDi International, and small businesswoman Amy Nichols, president and CEO of Dogtopia.

They agreed that the federal task force recommendation against breast cancer screening was a legitimate reason for millions of American women to be concerned about the government’s attempt to take over one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

Unfortunately, as many of us predicted, the “recommendations” over mammograms are becoming mandatory. In California, the eligibility age for state-subsidized breast cancer screening has been raised from 40 to 50 by the state government, which will also temporarily stop enrollment in the breast cancer screening program.

For thousands of struggling women in California, the task force recommendations have quickly metastasized from a suggestion to an edict. We cannot allow that to happen to women in all 50 states. And that’s why stopping a federal takeover of health care is so essential.

If we can get the president to abandon his goal of seizing control of America’s health care system, we might be able to persuade him to start re-focusing on the economy. Specifically, that would mean abandoning his spend-and-borrow economic policies and putting small businesses, not Wall Street, at the top of his priority list.

For women, there is nothing more empowering than to own a small startup company like Dogtopia, or a new restaurant, or one of the hundreds of businesses being started by women every day. Women-owned small businesses are the fastest growing segment of the economy, an engine of job creation and prosperity. Yet that jobs engine has stalled out. The time has come for Washington to restart that engine, instead of overburdening it with new taxes and regulations.

With a new year upon us, let us recommit to giving American women an economy that creates jobs, strengthens small businesses, and leaves health care decisions in the hands of the women who know how to make them. If we do that, 2010 will be a better year for everyone.

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  • Mickey

    Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR:
    Omnibus Appropriations, Special Education, Global AIDS Initiative, Job Training, Unemployment Benefits, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations, Agriculture Appropriations, U.S.-Singapore Trade, U.S.-Chile Trade, Supplemental Spending for Iraq & Afghanistan, Prescription Drug Benefit, Child Nutrition Programs, Surface Transportation, Job Training and Worker Services, Agriculture Appropriations, Foreign Aid, Vocational/Technical Training, Supplemental Appropriations, UN “Reforms.” Patriot Act Reauthorization, CAFTA, Katrina Hurricane-relief Appropriations, Head Start Funding, Line-item Rescission, Oman Trade Agreement, Military Tribunals, Electronic Surveillance, Head Start Funding, COPS Funding, Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID), Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, Thought Crimes “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, Peru Free Trade Agreement, Economic Stimulus, Farm Bill (Veto Override), Warrantless Searches, Employee Verification Program, Body Imaging Screening.

    Marsha Blackburn Voted AGAINST:
    Ban on UN Contributions, eliminate Millennium Challenge Account, WTO Withdrawal, UN Dues Decrease, Defunding the NAIS, Iran Military Operations defunding Iraq Troop Withdrawal, congress authorization of Iran Military Operations.

    Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
    See her unconstitutional votes at :

  • Thia Lawson

    Fantastic article! I’m so proud of these women! 😀

  • yttik

    Yay! I’m glad these congresswomen are telling it like it is. I’m a small business owner and we’ve been slammed by increased taxes and state fees. The economic instability, nobody knowing what’s going to happen with health care, have contributed to us cutting back on hiring. It’s a vicious cycle, states want to provide unemployment extensions to people, but then employers have to foot the bill. The more bills you have to pay, the less people you can afford to hire.

  • Mammogram funding already cut – and in liberal California. We knew this was coming, but this fast? Yikes!

  • Bes

    Yes! I would like the government to leave me alone as much as possible. I don’t need a bunch of egotistical sexist men legislating my health recommendations and they haven’t done a good job taking care of the economy either. That is why I switched teams and now consider myself a Republican. We can’t change the ingrained sexism in our government in my lifetime but we can elect representatives who believe the government should leave the people alone.

  • Janis

    Well, he kicked women in the face repeatedly during his campaign, and he still won. He has no reason not to continue.

    Thanks to the women who stood up to him — I’ll remember that at election time, even if I’d just have voted for them anyhow. 🙂 But in an election where they run against other women, I’ll definitely pull the lever for them.

    I’m toying with the idea of regging Republican just to make a statement, even if I’m still going to vote for women exclusively. You don’t HAVE to vote the party your regged as, after all.

  • marille

    The letter states many things I agree on. What is lacking in the letter is any referral to the very similar opinion voiced against PA test for women under 21. It was the same argument, that a lot of tests need to be done to detect a cancer and that costs money. I assume that the congresswomen don’t like to face the fact that teenage sex is so prevalent whether we like it or not. These young women get the HPV virus and have precursor lesion as teenager and often enough need intervention years before they are 21. cervical cancer screening is as vital as breast cancer screening. I am certainly as opposed as republican women to the sexualization of young girls by commercials, the music industry and peers. but since it happens we have to include their risk profiles into health care coverage.

  • Thia Lawson


    I’ve been checking the HHS website and it looks like the Pap recommendations have yet to be approved by HHS. It’s possible that is why they weren’t mentioned in the letter. The breast cancer screening recommendations were officially approved and updated, but the Pap recs were unchanged. So far I can’t figure out whether they just put it all on hold because of the outcry or they were rejected or???