It’s been a tumultuous 12 months for Planned Parenthood, and the fight over women’s access to reproductive rights isn’t getting any easier as we gear up for the 2016 election.
But in a move that signals just how important this issue is, Planned Parenthood has, for the first time in its 100-year history, endorsed a presidential candidate – Hillary Clinton.
Republican have an interesting task ahead of them. How do they win over female voters after telling them their health decisions aren’t their own to make?
Add to that obstacle a candidate who has been more outspoken about supporting women’s reproductive rights than anyone from either party. In light of the ongoing controversy over secretive and selectively-edited videos produced in 2015 by the ironically-named Center for Medical Progress, having a candidate who supports women’s autonomous health decisions is a big freaking deal.
In early January, the Republican-majority Congress and Senate voted to defund Planned Parenthood yet again– the second time in two months. Twice, President Obama had to use his veto pen to stop conservatives in their tracks. Republicans also voted to defund the Affordable Care Act for the 62nd time, proving they clearly have nothing better to do these days. (Remind me again– why were they elected?)
But the fight doesn’t end there.
Right now, there are numerous women, organizations and government officials who have filed briefs before the Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health vs Cole, the first SCOTUS abortion case since 2007, and one that could determine the future of the reproductive rights fight in a much bigger way than the Hobby Lobby case of 2014.
The case argues that the restrictive Texas H.B. 2 bill puts an unnecessary burden on women and health care providers. The national spotlight will be on women such as Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores and Texas Senator Wendy Davis, who plan to testify before the justices about their own abortion stories in a bid to put the individual fight back into this issue.
If this case goes the way of anti-abortion providers, it will set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the country (especially other conservative states) to follow.
Reproductive rights is not a soft issue, nor is it only a women’s issue; it is an American issue. However, Hillary Clinton is not afraid to “lean in” to her female supporter base on this topic.
In a speech to New Hampshire Planned Parenthood supporters over the weekend where she formally accepted their presidential endorsement, Clinton said she believes in fighting for women’s healthcare “not just in principle, but in practice.”
“Now, when I talk like this — and I do, often — Republicans say I’m playing the gender card. Well, if fighting for equal pay, paid leave, and Planned Parenthood is playing the gender card — deal me in,” she said.
This is an all-out battle for women to remain in control of their own healthcare decisions away from the prying and judgmental eyes of politicians who claim to be led by their closely held religious beliefs.
If the Affordable Care Act gets repealed, which will happen only if a Republican wins the White House, it will affect the way women access certain types of healthcare.
Make no mistake: Planned Parenthood is prepared to fight those politicians who seek to make abortion illegal again. With Hillary Clinton as their chosen candidate, her advocacy of women’s rights has never been more important.