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Home In the Booth What Candidates Are Saying On Women's Issues

What Candidates Are Saying On Women's Issues

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The 2016 race for the White House has certainly been entertaining so far. From cringe-worthy jokes to high octane jabs, this election cycle's political theater is in full swing.

American voters have more than enough gossip on each candidate to go around, but it can be tough to cut through the noise and learn about where they actually stand on the issues.

Women's rights are a long over-due talking point in a major election, and 2016's candidates offer a broad range of opinions on the topic. Here's a look at what some of the front runners have had to say on women's issues in the past. 

Carly Fiorina 

Fiorina has expressed her views on what she calls "liberals' brand of feminism," saying how the cause has devolved into an ideology that pits men and women against each other. She suggests that breaking up unions will improve the lives of women workers and opposes further legislation of equal pay laws. 

Fiorina is a pro-life candidate who makes exceptions in instances of incest and rape but has supported legislation that would require women to file a police report before the abortion can be allowed. She has also pushed for over-the-counter birth control as a way to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Fiorina is staunchly individualistic, and her secretary-to-CEO narrative guides her policies of self-reliance. She speaks out against welfare programs and supports the deregulation of the market.

Jeb Bush

The GOP is facing a lot of tough hurdles in this election and where they've stood on women's health issues in the past could hurt them in 2016. Jeb Bush didn't do much to quell those fears when he made an ill-advised comment at a town hall in Englewood, Co.

 The quote that caused the backlash came when Bush took a question on women's health saying, "I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars in funding for women's health programs." The public response to this statement led Bush to backtrack quickly and say he "misspoke."

Bernie Sanders

Criticized and celebrated for his support of expanding government programs, Bernie Sanders has made women's issues a major talking point of his campaign. He positions himself opposite of the Republican party, condemning them for "waging a war against women" and argues in favor of the government stepping in to close the gender pay gap, which he calls a "national disgrace."

The pro-choice candidate believes healthcare is a right and wants to expand the WIC program, which provides nutrition assistance to pregnant mothers and is available to all low-income families. 

Sanders is also pushing for companies to guarantee paid family and medical leave while also pushing for an increase of the minimum wage to $15 and hour. 

Marco Rubio

Rubio has been vocal about his belief that life begins at conception. In 2012, he was one of the senators to introduce the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would allow companies to deny birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. 

Rubio has also voted against a bill that would close the gender pay gap, arguing that the legislation was too geared towards making it easy to sue an employer. He voted against the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, saying the new version of the bill "would mandate the diversion of a portion of funding from domestic violence programs to sexual assault programs," questioning whether the shift would result in a greater number of convictions.

Hillary Clinton 

As one of the first candidates to jump in the race, Hillary Clinton declared women's rights as a major talking point early on in this campaign. She's called out the fact mothers in the United States aren't entitled to paid leave "unthinkable" and has expressed needs for a vast expansion of child-care benefits. 

Clinton's lately sharpened her tone on the subject, calling out her Republican colleagues for their inaction and harmful rhetoric when it comes to women's issues. She's gone as far as likening them to "terrorist groups," adding, "They espouse out of date and out of touch policies. We expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern word, but it's a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be president of the United States. "

Donald Trump 

Donald Trumps outlandish and headline grabbing remarks on women he knows has been well documented, but where does he stand on actual policy? Trump has been pro-choice most of his life but says he's recently "evolved" on the issue and taken on a pro-life stance. He distinguishes himself from other candidates in the Republican field by supporting exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother's life is at risk. 

In an interview with Meet The Press's Chuck Todd, Trump explained how his company has a long history of hiring women for top-tier positions, adding, "I cherish women. I understand the importance of women. I have such respect for women."

He has not said he supports cutting funding for Planned Parenthood but does think the organization should stop performing abortions.