As the Republican National Convention continues in Tampa, female Democratic leaders, including Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, said in Milwaukee on Wednesday that economic and social policies backed by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will have a disproportionate impact on women.
"We don't want a president who is going to be up in our business," said Wasserman Schultz, who is a Florida congresswoman.
Wasserman Schultz and other Democratic women leaders gathered at an Obama for President campaign office on the city's south side to lambaste Republican policies they say will affect women.
In addition to Wasserman Schultz, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.); Karen Spilka, a Massachusetts state senator; and Nancy Keenan, head of the National Abortion Rights Action League, also spoke.
Wasserman Schultz said Romney and Ryan want to shrink government, "unless of course you're a woman. And then government should be up in your business," she said.
She said the Republican ticket wanted to repeal President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. If they are successful, she said, Republicans would allow insurance companies to deny coverage to breast-cancer survivors whose lives were saved by early detection.
Wasserman Schultz is a breast-cancer survivor.
"When breast-cancer survivors like me have to choose between radiation or chemotherapy because they can't afford deductibles and co-pays, that's a thing of the past under Obama," she said.
And while many criticized U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who is running for the Senate in Missouri, for his comments on rape, Wasserman Schultz said Akin, Ryan and 200 other co-sponsors in Congress backed a bill that would have narrowed the definition of rape to only being "forcible rape."
Moore said the Romney-Ryan plan would cut Medicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants and other programs.
"These are all programs that women disproportionally depend on for retirement security and for health care," Moore said. "They clearly are going after programs that would hurt women disproportionally."
Moore added that Ryan had voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The law allows women to challenge unequal pay. Romney, she said, has not indicated his position on that law.
Kennan said the Republican party platform, which she said was directed by the Romney-Ryan campaign, includes language that restricts women's reproductive rights.
She said the platform includes support for a personhood amendment, which she said would ban abortion nationwide and with no exceptions for rape or incest.
She added that Ryan had voted more than 60 times in Congress to limit reproductive choices for women.
"Romney-Ryan have doubled down on rolling back the clock," Kennan said.
Spilka said that when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he made education cuts that resulted in teacher layoffs and an increase in class size. At the time, she said, it was the largest percentage cut in education in the nation.
"Romney believes class sizes just don't matter," Spilka said.
She added that Romney had no plan to deal with the rising cost of college tuition.