Between the attacks on women’s health in the states, in the courts, and the roll out of Obamacare, there have been tons of opportunities to stand up for women’s health and rights in a notable, public, and most of all quotable forum.
Here are our nominees for top quotes of the year….
WINNER: Texas State Senator Leticia Van de Putte
Despite the passing of her father earlier in the week, Texas State Senator Leticia Van de Putte returned to Austin to oppose the notorious and odious Texas abortion ban. With the health and rights of Texas women on the line and Republicans lawmakers attempting to derail State Senator Wendy Davis’s filibuster, State Senator Van de Putte stepped in to help run out the clock on this bad bill, asking questions and clarifications on procedural motions designed to cut the filibuster short.
The moment that put her over the top as a contender for the best quote of the year came when she called out her male colleagues for refusing to recognize the female legislators on the floor:
At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?
- Texas State Senator
Leticia Van de Putte (June 25, 2013)
NOMINEE: President Barack Obama
When the President of the United States, who has done more for women’s health than any president in history, attends the National Conference, it’s pretty memorable. And when he gives a keynote address and vows to continue to stand with Planned Parenthood no matter what, it’s extra special. Here is our second contender for best quote, said by none other than President Barack Obama:
Here is our second contender for best quote, said by none other than President Barack Obama:
...no matter how great the challenge, no matter how fierce the opposition, if there’s one thing the past few years have shown, it's that Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere.
- President Barack Obama, (April 26, 2013)
NOMINEE: FIFTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF IOWA RULING
After the Iowa Board of Health voted to adopt a rule that would effectively stop Planned Parenthood and other providers from providing medication abortion via telemedicine—which has been proven to be a safe and effective way to expand access to early abortion, particularly to women in rural stretches of Iowa—the issue went to the courts. A district court issued an important first ruling protecting women’s access to a woman’s right to medication abortion:
...the Court strains to understand how decreasing the number of apparently effective and safe abortion services offered to Iowa women…supports the public’s interest in receiving “adequate” healthcare. If anything, the opposite is true.
- Fifth Judicial District of Iowa, (November 5, 2013)
NOMINEE: North Dakota State Rep. Kathy Hawken
When North Dakota passed the most restrictive (and blatantly unconstitutional) abortion ban in the country—banning abortion as early as six weeks, before many women knew they are pregnant—Republican State Rep. Kathy Hawken along with 10 of her Republican colleagues, speaking out in defense of women’s health and rights.
We love the simplicity of this one:
North Dakota hasn't even passed a primary seatbelt law, but we have the most invasive attack on women’s health anywhere.
- North Dakota Representative
Kathy Hawken (R-Fargo), (March 18, 2013)
NOMINEE: Michigan State Rep. Rashida TlaIb
And finally, when Michigan legislators followed in the footsteps of states like Texas, North Carolina, and Ohio, bypassing the voters to push through an extreme attack on women's health and rights, Representative Rashida Tlaib would not let it happen silently. She spoke out against the decision to pass a complete ban on insurance coverage of abortion—a policy opposed by doctors, women and even the Republican Governor Rick Snyder:
We spend more time & money oppressing women in this chamber then helping them thrive.
- Michigan State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, (December 11, 2013)
While all of these quotes were truly important in defending and reiterating the importance of a woman’s right to make her own health decisions, the circumstances and the sheer uproar that was raised after State Senator Leticia van de Putte took the floor and spoke out, was truly spectacular. For that, she deserves the award for delivering the best quote of the year.