In June, Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act from passing through the Senate. This bill was purposed to ensure equal pay for men and women in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that a woman makes 77 cents to each man’s dollar. Despite years of effort, the bill has been filibustered by Republicans at nearly every attempt to pass it — they don’t want the government dictating how much a private enterprise pays their employees. While I respect that the GOP doesn’t want the government dictating how to run businesses, I have trouble understanding why they oppose a bill that reflects so many of their values.
One of the most important goals of the PFA is to preserve the sanctity of life. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 73 percent of women who had abortions in 2004 did so because they couldn’t afford a child. By passing the PFA, women in single-income situations would have better financial means to raise a child, which could lead to a decrease in abortions. Such a decrease might also reduce unnecessary government tax dollars spent debating the creation of new laws restricting access to abortion. If protecting the sanctity of life and preventing wasteful government spending are both essential GOP values, why would the party prevent this from passing?
In addition to preserving the sanctity of life, the PFA facilitates self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, also important GOP virtues. The PFA would enable women to become more self-sufficient and enable them to better provide for their children. In addition, the PFA would make women less likely to depend on welfare as a means of familial support.
The PFA also supports traditional family values while adjusting for a new American Dream. The Census Bureau reports that 56 percent of families are now dual-income, a result of requiring extra money in light of the country’s economic woes. If the Republican Party wants to preserve traditional family values, it’s in their interest to ensure that both parents can provide for their children equally.
Even in the case of a single-income family, passing the PFA would allow women a significant amount of flexibility in raising a family. For example, a woman could save money to stay home with her children, and return to work when she wanted.
Finally, passing the PFA reflects Christian virtues. The Bible verse Galatians 3:28 states that, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” If Jesus viewed both men and women equally worthy of salvation, wouldn’t it make sense that the religious voters would value gender equality as well?
Many Republicans argue that paying men and women equally will push women out of the workforce because they will no longer be filling lower-paying jobs. While this concern is valid, there are ways around it. For example, while women may be filling higher-paying jobs, the lower-paying jobs could be filled by teenagers and college students, who are at historic unemployment rates, giving them invaluable career experience and opportunities.
I invite objectors of this bill to consider whom their decision could be affecting. If they could watch their loved ones suffer the consequences of their actions with a clear conscience, then they have that right. But before anybody chooses to block this bill, I hope they will keep in mind that they may be undermining their own party’s values.
Kelsey Trotta is an LSA junior.