At an event in Louisville, Kentucky on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul officially announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential election. Here is where the doctor, libertarian, and father of three stands on four key women’s issues.
1. Reproductive rights
Paul is not opposed to birth control, but his views on abortion are much more strict. A self-described 100 percent pro-lifer, he introduced the Life at Conception Act in March of 2013 with a goal of providing fertilized eggs protection under the 14th amendment. “We all agree we’re going to protect the six-month old, we pretty much all agree on the one-day old, before that we have some disagreements,” said Paul in an interview with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.
2. Gender pay gap
Paul is against government interference with prices and wages. In 2012, he opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would help women secure equal pay and place harsher restrictions on companies with violations. Paul once went so far as to compare the bill to communist laws. “In the Soviet Union, the Politburo decided the price of bread, and they either had no bread or too much bread. So setting prices or wages by the government is always a bad idea,” he has said.
3. Violence against women
In February of 2013, Paul was one of 22 republican senators who voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women’s Act, a 1994 measure to tackle crimes violent and sexual crimes and establish resources for victims. In a letter obtained by ThinkProgress.org, Paul states: “I am against violence against women, children, men-anyone. Under our Constitution, states are given the responsibility for prosecution of those violent crimes. They don’t need Washington telling them how to provide services and prosecute criminals in these cases.”
4. Sex trafficking:
The senator has been vocal in his support of sex trafficking victims. Paul published an Op-Ed for the Huffington Post titled: Out of Darkness, Light, that tells the story of Sherri, a young blind girl who was sold by her father to earn money for drugs and alcohol. In the piece he writes: “I will continue to be a voice for these victims. I will stand up for harsher punishments for their abusers.” Paul also set up an internship program in his Kentucky office with Christian-based group Refuge for Women, which provides safe housing for victims.
Paul has been accused of being sexist for shushing CNBC anchor Kelly Evans during an interview on vaccines and creating a parody Pinterest account for Hilary Clinton that included a White House remodel board. “Hillary Clinton’s new Valentine’s Day Pinterest board is worth a look. Check it out and please RT,” Paul posted on his Twitter account in February.