With election season in full stride, campaign ads, partisan political experts and my own grandparents are all daunting me with what this election period could mean for me as a student, as a member of a middle-class family or as a soon-to-be young professional.

While it is certainly true the elections have monumental potential to affect me on all those fronts, what gets me most is the impact the national and local elections can have on me as a woman, especially with Wisconsin’s own Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s pick for vice president, taking spotlight on the national ticket.

National attention has of late been drawn to abortion and rape rhetoric, and I cannot help but wonder why the female student body at the University of Wisconsin has not yet taken a stance for women’s rights. With the rape and abortion discussion picking up speed each day in the GOP, what’s to say the talk and its ramifications won’t soon spread to Wisconsin?

Ryan recently told the media he views rape as a form of conception as reported by the Examiner, which, he said, means no abortion in the case of pregnancy. What’s to happen if the Mitt Romney-Ryan ticket loses the election but sends Ryan back to represent Wisconsin in a now elevated position with increased respect and persuasion powers?

Referring to rape as a legitimate form of conception brings a bad name to Wisconsin and a bad name to politics. A woman’s body should never be a card to play in a politician’s hand, not to mention rape.

As a college student, sexual assault and rape are very unfortunate realities. It’s time to take a woman’s worst nightmare off the table and put issues like tuition, student loans and the economy front and center.

We’re not in a good place, locally or nationally, when it comes to a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her own body. Victories for the conservative platforms could take us back decades.

But, there’s light at the end of the tunnel: It’s not too late for UW students and women all around Wisconsin to call up their representatives, get involved in their local elections’ campaigns or, at the very least, become informed about their candidate of choice’s views on the issues that matter most to them.

Pamela Selman ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in political science and journalism.