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Where Presidential Candidates Stand on Family Issues

Photograph by AP

Soon enough we will be asked to elect a new president. The debates have started—at least on the Republican side of things—and the field of candidates is already crowded (again, for the GOP).

It can be hard to determine where candidates stand on certain issues. If you're not Donald Trump talking about immigration, most voters will need to dig a deeper to get the candidates' take on family issues: maternity and paternity leave, child care, education, equal pay and healthcare for starters.

I've done the research and broken it down among the current roster of front-running hopefuls. Let the 2016 Election Games begin!

Republican Candidates

Donald Trump: To date, the candidate has not articulated positions relevant to family policy. The only official positions he has made his stance clear on relate to guns and immigration. If you dig a deeper, though, The Donald gives you a hint of where his values lie. He is against the Common Core State Standards and supports school choice. He's been all over the board on women's reproductive rights, starting out pro-choice but now leaning towards his base's opposition of a woman's right to choose. He says he would support exceptions for legal abortions in pregnancies related to rape, incest or the medical health of the mother. Oh, and if that last debate was any indication, Trump insists on linking vaccines to autism, a stance he first promoted in 2007.

RELATED: Why I Think Carly Fiorina Is a Danger to Women

Ben Carson: Looking at his official website, Dr. Carson identifies a few policies of importance to women and families. He calls himself "unabashedly and entirely pro-life." No exceptions. As far as education, the good doctor is against Common Core and believes education is a local—not federal—matter. He is against the Affordable Care Act and believes Health Savings Accounts administered through employers are a better solution to drive down costs. Oh, and he says he wants, "More freedom and less government in our health care system," except, obviously, for women considering abortion. In that case, he prefers less freedom and more government.

Bonus points go to Carson and Sanders for detailing their priorities in accessible, easy to navigate sites.

Jeb Bush: His website does not detail positions relevant to family policy, but because of his long history in politics, they are easy enough to track down. Just this month, Jeb has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood federally if elected, just as he did in Florida. He remains solidly pro-life. Bush also supports school choice and created a voucher program in Florida that allowed public funds to cover the cost of private and religious education. Unlike most other Republican candidates, Bush has not outright condemned the Common Core. Originally very supportive of the new education standards, last month he suggested states should choose for themselves which mandates to follow. He strongly supports vaccines.

Carly Fiorina: As you might expect, Carly's official website (where, strangely, she never uses her last name) focuses on her gender being an asset in the race. She shares her history, including an inspiring quote from her mom, a photo of her during treatment for breast cancer and the sad news that she lost a daughter. Fiorina's step-daughter, Lori, died at 34 years old of a drug overdose. Aside from Fiorina's story, though, which is nicely packaged, there are no links related to official policy or her platform. With a bit of sleuthing, I found out Fiorina supports school choice and vouchers, is pro-life, is against the Affordable Care Act and believes the Supreme Court overstepped its role in legalizing same sex marriages.

If I could, I would give time-outs to Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina for the total lack of relevant information on their slick sites. Less is not always more.

Democratic Candidates

Hillary Clinton: Clinton's website, if you can maneuver past the annoying ask for money and email address, provides her official stance on issues, including family-related policies. She supports expanding early childhood programming and access to pre-schools. She supports closing the wage gap between men and women. She supports a guaranteed family paid leave to care for a sick family member or after the birth of a child. (That one got my attention.) She also endorses an investment in childcare costs for working parents and college students with children. On her website, you'll find her official take on issues pertinent to families like women's rights, K-12 education, healthcare, campus sexual assaults and climate change.

Bernie Sanders: The senator from Vermont has a page on his site dedicated to "Real Family Values," where he details how America lags behind other nations on things like paid time off after the birth of a child, paid sick time and a guaranteed paid vacation—though it is slight in details about how this would be accomplished. There are a lot of specifics, though, in the "Sanders Plan," his initiative to lower the cost of prescription drugs. He is pro-choice and against the gender pay gap. As for education, he supports the Common Core and charter schools, if they are held to the same standards of public schools. Oh! And how about a free college education? Bernie wants to provide that, too.

RELATED: What Hillary Clinton Means For Our Sons

So there they are, moms—some of our 2016 presidential candidates in a nutshell. Bonus points go to Carson and Sanders for detailing their priorities in accessible, easy to navigate sites. If I could, I would give time-outs to Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina for the total lack of relevant information on their slick sites. Less is not always more.

We're just at the cusp of this race, folks. I hope this information piques your curiosity to learn more.

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