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New York - Today award-winning actors and advocates Maggie GyllenhaalJulianne MooreGabrielle Union, and America Ferrera participated in a Planned Parenthood Action Fund special membership and media luncheon called “Playing Politics With Women’s Health:  The 2012 Election and Why It Matters.”  Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and U.S. Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV) also participated in the event; a panel discussion was moderated by Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine.

Speaking to the audience, Cecile Richards said, “Women’s health will be a central issue in the next election, and women will determine the outcome of the election.  It’s projected that 53 percent of voters in November will be women.  Let’s celebrate that power – and use it.”

The event, attended by editors from leading women’s magazines and other journalists, marked the launch of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Women are Watching campaign and included a discussion of women’s health issues and what’s at stake in the 2012 elections.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, who participated in the panel, said, “Women's health is very important to me.  It has become such a politicized issue and so I will make every effort to elect officials who believe as strongly as I do that all women (not just the ones who can afford fancy doctors in private practice!) have access to quality health care and information.”

Gyllenhaal, who recently wrote a piece for Glamour magazine in support of Planned Parenthood, was joined on the panel by Julianne Moore, Gabrielle Union, and America Ferrera to discuss why this election is important to them personally, and to women across the nation.

The 2010 elections led to a wave of efforts to restrict access to lifesaving health care, including breast exams, cancer screenings, and affordable birth control.  Instead of focusing on jobs and the economy, anti-women’s health leaders in Congress and the states have been introducing and passing bills restricting access to basic health care services for the women who need it most.  In fact, in 2011, lawmakers introduced more than 1,000 reproductive health bills in legislatures around the country, the majority of which sought to undermine women's health.  The threats continue in 2012, with some candidates vowing to make women’s health care less accessible and affordable.

“We need to do everything we can to raise women’s voices,” said Richards.  “Women can educate each other about what’s at stake in this election and motivate each other to take action, get involved, and vote for candidates who will support their health. The future of women’s health hangs in the balanceand women have the power to elect candidates who will ensure our health care remains accessible.”

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund launched the Women are Watching campaign to educate, engage, and activate supporters across the country on the 2012 elections.  The campaign includes a website, womenarewatching.org, and a social media campaign, with @ppact using the Twitter hashtag #women2012, to engage online supporters on key women’s health issues.  The campaign provides timely information about specific candidates and states, as well as comprehensive background on issues critical to women’s health.

Women are Watching also unveiled its Kickoff video. Click HERE to watch.  

Wire photos from the event are available at: