Event Part of 2012 Election Campaign to Hold Candidates Accountable for Their Positions and Elect Pro-Women’s Health Candidates Up and Down the Ballot
DENVER — Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado held a pre-debate “Ask Mitt” rally today in Denver as part of a growing campaign to mobilize voters to hold Mitt Romney accountable for his domestic policy positions, which would have real consequences for women, women’s health and women’s economic security.
Gathering at the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver, speakers sent a clear message to the candidates leading into the debate:
- When it comes to women and women’s health, the contrast between President Obama and Mitt Romney could not be starker.
- While the president is moving our country forward, Mitt Romney has pledged to turn back the clock for women and would reverse the incredible progress led by President Obama.
- Women and their families need a president who will continue to fight for their access to affordable health care, not a politician who puts politics before the health of women and their families.
Speakers at today’s rally included: Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO); Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO); Vicki Cowart, CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado; Dr. Andrew Ross an ob/gyn in Denver; Meagan Como, Colorado State University student and Planned Parenthood patient; and surprise guest Governor John Hickenlooper.
The rally follows a media blitz in Colorado spanning TV, mobile, and online from Planned Parenthood Votes in the days leading up to the debate.
This year, women will decide the outcome of the presidential election, and races across the country, and are watching very closely to ensure that they elect candidates — up and down the ballot — who will protect women’s health care.
“Women like watching Mad Men. We’re not interested in living it,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Tomorrow night, we’ll see President Obama and Governor Romney go head to head for the first time. But we already know the stark contrast that exists between these two men. Because President Obama gets it. He understands that women aren’t an interest group to pander to or a budget item to cut out. We’re half the population, half the workforce, half the economy and, thanks to President Obama, we’re one-third of the cabinet and the Supreme Court,” Richards said.
President Obama understands the health and economic challenges women face — and has fought to address them by expanding health care for women, including access to birth control and cancer screenings without a co-pay; fighting for equal pay for women; and standing up to protect a woman’s ability to make her own personal medical decisions.
“You know, here in Colorado, we’re used to getting showered with attention from presidential candidates,” said Vicki Cowart, CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado. “Every presidential election year our state is flooded with candidates making big promises. Now with the first presidential debate tomorrow night — we’re asking Mitt Romney the hard questions. Like where will the women of Colorado go for cancer screenings and birth control if you ‘get rid’ of Planned Parenthood? Why do you want to interfere in decisions that should remain between a woman, her doctor and her family? Why do you think bosses should be able to deny their employees coverage for birth control? And why is it that you simply don’t understand the lives of women across this country?” Cowart said.
Efforts to eliminate access to birth control, cancer screenings and basic preventive health services started in Congress two years ago. Now we’re seeing cuts and attacks that put women’s health at risk in states across the country — which is a preview of what Mitt Romney would do all across America.
These are basic economic issues for women and families, and supporting birth control is smart fiscal policy for the country.
“I have been shocked by the attacks on women over the past few months. I was born with hemophilia. What that means is I have low levels of clotting factors in my blood, so when I am injured my body takes much longer to heal. In an attempt to help me live a more normal life, my doctors put me on birth control as a teenager to help increase the level of clotting factors in my blood. What’s clear to me is that politicians like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan just don’t understand what birth control means for women,” said Meagan Como, Colorado State University student and Planned Parenthood patient. “So I’m here to ask Mitt — how will women like me get access to affordable birth control if you repeal the Affordable Care Act — which makes birth control available at no cost? I’m here to ask Mitt, where will women get access to preventive care and affordable birth control if the nation’s family planning program is ended — which is what he is threatening to do?” Como said.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have pledged to defund Planned Parenthood, cutting off women’s access to preventive care, including cancer screenings and birth control; and have promised to shut down the nation’s family planning program that more than five million people a year rely on for birth control, cancer screenings and other care. They have also vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade and end safe and legal abortion, and have said they support extreme “personhood” measures that would give full constitutional rights to fertilized eggs.
The Action Fund is the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and sees firsthand the women and families who would be hurt by the policies that Mitt Romney supports. Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed President Obama for re-election on May 30, 2012.