President Barack Obama's re-election campaign has released a new video featuring Gloria Steinem, in which the feminist icon argues that this election is a "turning point" and that women should grant Obama a second term if they want to see their rights protected.
"We will lose what we have gained if a Republican candidate were to win," says Steinem. "So the question is will we be active, will we get out there, will we be self-respecting and forget about party labels and vote for ourselves. Vote for our fundamental human rights?"
The latest appeal comes amid a cascade of state laws and protests from conservatives over women's reproductive rights, a trend that has sparked a backlash across the nation and prompted former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican who later switched to the Democratic Party, to tell The Huffington Post in an interview that the GOP is damaging its reputation with women "terribly."
Steinem, who strongly supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries but enthusiastically endorsed Obama when he became the party's nominee, says in the video, "In the past 50 years, women have banded together to build the most important thing, which is to tell the truth about what's happening to them. Because of that, we have changed a lot of laws and change is built from the bottom up, like a house, not from the top down. But you need someone at the top who allows you to build a house in the first place, and that's President Obama."
"From his personal life, who he married, how he treats his daughters, he understands that women are absolutely full human beings," she says. "He has a good heart, a good mind, treats people with dignity, doesn't court conflict and represents I think the best in this country."
The spot goes on to remind women that Obama's first act as president was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made it easier for women to sue for equal wages.
Steinem also touts the Affordable Care Act, which will go before the U.S. Supreme Court this week, noting that it has extended coverage to young adults and would eliminate a gender gap that sees women pay more for health insurance than men. She also references the current controversies over abortion rights and contraception coverage, both issues that were thought to have been settled decades ago.
"If you've listened to the Republican candidates in the primary, you know that each and every one of them would criminalize abortion and outlaw quite a few forms of birth control," she says. "Whether or not women can determine when and whether to have children is the single biggest element in whether we're healthy or not, whether we're educated or not, what our life expectancy is, whether we can be active in the world or not."
Watch the video here: