Maryann Tobin

Women have power in the voting booth. As a group, they have influenced more elections than any other single voting bloc. So why does it seem that the 2012 GOP candidates have started a war against women, with Rick Santorum leading the attack?

Since Santorum has focused his recent rhetoric on statements against birth control, abortion, and sexual relations out of wedlock, has he alienated the largest voting block in America?

"In 2008, women cast nearly 8 million more votes than men did: 53 percent of the total. And that was a big problem for McCain because he got only 43 percent of the female majority," according to NPR.

Social issues and women's reproductive rights have become lightening rod issues in the 2012 GOP presidential race. With open assaults on birth control pills, a woman's right to choose abortion, and even when sexual relations are appropriate, the conservative agenda does not appear to be working to win over modern-day women voters. They may also be forgetting that birth control and sexual morality do not only effect Republican women.

While Mitt Romney has been widely accused of being too liberal for the GOP in 2012, Santorum may have the complete opposite problem, by being too conservative for mainstream voters, especially women.

The conservative social and moral message does not appear to be aimed at uniting the country. Instead, it focuses on drawing a bold, judgmental line between the GOP view of morally good and bad Americans.

There remains the possibility that female voters may rebel against the implication that conservatives are running on a self-righteous platform that has designs on regulating their personal freedom.

Elections are about choice, and there are undoubtedly millions of women in the U.S. that are not willing to have a candidate like Rick Santorum promote rolling back 100 years of progress in women's rights.

Sources and related info:

NPR: Santorum's problem with women could be his glass ceiling

GOP: No birth control, no abortion: No sex?