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South Carolina Governor and tea party favorite Nikki Haley is all over the airwaves this week to promote the release of her new book, Can't is Not an Option: An American Story. The publication of her biography was timed perfectly, as it coincides with all that pundit talk about who's going to be the Republican VP pick.
Haley claims she has no interest in being on the 2012 Republican ticket. My guess is that has less to do with the fact that she's only been South Carolina's governor for two years and more to do with Sarah Palin. Because there's no question that whoever is chosen to run as the GOP vice presidential candidate this time around will be vetted within an inch of their public and private lives -- something that we now know apparently didn't happen with Palin.
Whoever is chosen will have to be squeaky clean to go along with the faithful family man meme projected by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, the two most likely GOP winners. And Haley can't pass that test because, whether they are true or not, there have been too many rumors about her supposed marital infidelities for her to wind up as a national contender.
But it's not just those rumors that will keep her in the South Carolina governor's office and out of the White House. The thing that caught people's attention this week was Haley's comment that "women don't care about contraception," because they're more worried about the economy and jobs. While some women might feel that way, there are plenty who know that the reality is that without access to birth control -- birth control that's covered by their insurance plans -- there is no economic security for their families. That's not only true today. It's been true for decades.
I know. Without having had access to birth control in my own life, I wouldn't have been able to get through college or law school or a variety of professional opportunities that have allowed me to make enough money to be a part of providing for myself and my family economically. And I know I'm not the only woman in America who has thanked her lucky stars, knowing that her contraception was covered by her insurance plan and that there wasn't a danger of having to choose between her family planning decisions and her livelihood. There's a direct link between a woman's access to birth control and the amount of money she earns over her lifetime. And that is a major economic issue these days when more women are the main breadwinners for their households.
Any woman candidate is going to have to tread lightly on the question of whether and how women should be able to have access to birth control and family planning decisions. When any woman starts to weigh in on what other women should and shouldn't be allowed to do when it comes to their own bodies, she's skating on thin ice. When the statistics show that the vast majority of American women use prescription birth control at some point in their lives, there's no national political future for a female politician who even whispers that the government should have any role in cutting her off from that option.
You can read more from iVillage iVote Editor and Correspondent Joanne Bamberger at her blog, PunditMom. Joanne is also the author of the Amazon bestseller Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America.