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National NOW Times >> Fall 2012  >> Article

Vote! 7 Reminders Why from the War on Women

All-male panel testifies on contraception coverage

No women allowed? A congressional hearing on contraception coverage featured a men-only panel.

Elections have consequences. After the last election cycle, radical right-wing men swept into office at federal and state levels, introducing a record number of restrictions on reproductive rights.

The NOW National Action Center is working around the clock in partnership and coalition with our grassroots chapter network and allied organizations to educate and mobilize voters in 2012. Contact your local chapter to get involved. And when you're talking with your friends, your family and your community, be sure to remind them how terrible the War on Women has been and how critical it is that they vote.

Here are seven reminders why everyone you know should vote.

1. First they went after Planned Parenthood. From repeated attempts to defund Planned Parenthood's family planning services at the federal level, to Texas barring Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving Medicaid funds, radicals have been attacking reproductive health services for women. Extremists even politicized breast cancer within Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

2. This was a congressional hearing on contraception featuring five men (see photo at right). No further comment was necessary, but that didn't stop Rush Limbaugh from ranting that Sandra Fluke, who had been denied a spot to testify in support of birth control coverage, was a slut. Then, conservative political donor Foster Friess suggested women just put "aspirin between their knees."

3. "Vaginal probe" became a phrase on the evening news. Several states are now forcing women to undergo medically unnecessary ultrasounds before receiving abortion care, and once Virginia came forward with its own bill, there really was a national conversation about the appropriateness of state-sanctioned vaginal probes.

4. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops went after women. Before accepting invitations to deliver benedictions at the major political conventions, Cardinal Timothy Dolan (and USCCB president) went after the health care law -- without losing IRS exemptions. Then he went after the nuns.

5. A Michigan legislator said "vagina" and was silenced. State Rep. Lisa Brown said "vagina" when speaking to a bill that would massively restrict woman's reproductive health care, and for that, she was barred from speaking on the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives.

6. He said it: "Legitimate rape" makes women shut a pregnancy "thing" down. Republican Rep. Todd Akin used junk science in an attempt to explain the harsh prohibition that a radical House of Representatives includes in bill after bill after bill: No abortion rights, no matter what, no exceptions for rape. Similar language is reflected in his party's platform.

7. The War on Women went after economic rights and violence prevention, too. Eighteen years of bipartisan support for the Violence Against Women Act -- gone. The Paycheck Fairness Act was barred from not just a vote, but debate, even. And then there's the Ryan budget, trying to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security... The list goes on and on.

Visit the NOW website at now.org/chapters to find the chapter closest to you.

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