Last night’s turnover of the House of Representatives was a disappointing loss for women. We now face an anti-choice majority and a new Speaker of the House who will threaten to roll back hard-fought progress for women. But just as the frustration of this new reality sets in, I am more determined than ever to press Congress to champion women’s rights. The National Organization for Women is not going away, and we will fight harder and motivate our grassroots so we can demand women-friendly policies.
Make no mistake: Under the new Republican leadership, women’s issues will be compromised. They will try to repeal the health care reform law, privatize or cut Social Security, cut funding for family-planning programs, undermine equal marriage initiatives, and try to weaken Roe v. Wade. Soon-to-be Speaker of the House John Boehner has made it no secret that he is anti-choice and anti-equal marriage, and he will try to undo important gains made by the progressive movement. We cannot let that happen.
The good news is that our real work is just about to begin, because now we have some real allies on Capitol Hill. A substantial number of Democrats who lost were moderate or conservative, leaving a Democratic caucus that, while smaller, is more progressive. With progressives on our side, we vow to accomplish what NOW truly stands for. We will fight for the Freedom of Choice Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, Social Security, a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, a repeal of Hyde Amendment abortion funding restrictions, for equal marriage, and against violence against women.
We will work with steadfast pro-choice officials like Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); and newly-elected NOW/PAC-endorsed candidates, including Senators-elect Chris Coons of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut; U.S. Representatives-elect Terri Sewell of Alabama, Karen Bass of California, Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii and Frederica Wilson of Florida. NOW will be working closely with them and our other friends in Congress to press for justice for women.
We ask supporters of women’s rights and our progressive members of Congress to stand with us. When it comes to women’s rights, we don’t need to compromise — we need to organize.