It is with great pride that I announce today, on behalf of the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots women’s rights organization, that the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee endorses President Barack Obama for re-election as president of the United States.
NOW PAC is proud to stand behind a president who unquestionably represents the path forward to achieve equality for women. Throughout the past four years President Obama has listened to our concerns and repeatedly stood up for women’s rights against a right-wing juggernaut bent on undermining our access to reproductive health care, our economic security and even our safety from intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
The extremists’ War on Women is all too real, and in order to win this struggle we must have strong allies in the White House who will work with us to implement policies that empower the women of this country to live healthy, safe and productive lives. President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden have shown time and again that they are our allies.
President Obama’s record on women’s issues speaks for itself:
On health care: The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover preventive care without co-pays, including contraception, mammograms, screening for cervical cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and many other prevention measures. The ACA also prohibits sex-based discrimination in insurance premium pricing, stops insurers from refusing coverage because of a pre-existing condition, expands Medicaid coverage to millions of low-income people (disproportionately women, particularly women of color), and will subsidize health premiums for millions more low- and middle-income earners — again, disproportionately women — who don’t get health coverage through their jobs and wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. And the president stood up to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops when they demanded restrictions on birth control, ensuring access to contraception coverage for the millions of women insured through religiously affiliated schools, hospitals and nonprofits throughout the country.
On pay equity: The first piece of legislation President Obama signed in January 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and he continues to support passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill to end wage discrimination against women.
On violence against women: President Obama supports the inclusive, bi-partisan Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, and he has threatened to veto the partisan Republican House version of the bill that excludes key provisions protecting Native Americans, immigrant women and the LGBT community.
President Obama also issued an executive order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls, tasked with ensuring that every part of the federal government takes into account the needs of women and girls in the policies they draft, the programs they create and the legislation they support. He is also a strong supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Meanwhile, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney has consistently spoken out against women’s rights, and he doesn’t appear to have a clue what women really need or want.
Romney has promised to defund family-planning programs, even though access to family planning is essential to women’s basic health and to their families’ economic security. Romney has also vowed to outlaw abortion and even supports a ‘personhood’ measure declaring a fertilized egg to be a human being, which would criminalize all abortions without exception and likely outlaw common forms of contraception as well as stem cell research and in vitro fertilization. He has made it clear that he would overturn Roe v. Wade, saying: ‘Absolutely, it would be a good day for America.’
Finally, Romney supports Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, which takes aim at Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and a range of social programs that disproportionately serve and employ women. And we have yet to hear Romney’s position on equal pay legislation, or where he stands on guaranteeing women’s basic equality through an Equal Rights Amendment.
In the months ahead, NOW will make sure voters understand what is at stake for women in the November elections. In particular, the contrast between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney could not be clearer. Through the president, a leader who listens and responds, we have a pathway toward achieving the goal of real equality for all women. Mitt Romney would not merely block progress — he would actively turn the clock back on women’s rights all the way to the 1950s, if not the 19th century.
From now until November, NOW activists and leaders will work tirelessly to re-elect our president, Barack Obama.