Women's health has emerged as such a major theme of the 2012 elections that President Barack Obama has dedicated a week-long celebration to it. The president proclaimed on Monday that May 13 through May 19, 2012, will now be known as National Women's Health Week.
"I encourage all Americans to celebrate the progress we have made in protecting women's health and to promote awareness, prevention, and educational activities that improve the health of all women," he said in a statement.
The announcement also gave the the president an opportunity to outline his achievements for women's health.
As President, I have made advancing gender equality in health care a top priority. Through the historic Affordable Care Act, we are reversing many of the worst abuses of the health insurance industry. Beginning in 2014, many insurers will no longer be allowed to charge women higher premiums simply because of their gender, and it will be illegal for most insurance companies to deny coverage to women because they have a pre-existing condition, including cancer or pregnancy. Health plans will also be required to cover maternity care. The law already enables women in new insurance plans to see any primary care provider or OB-GYN, or bring their children to any pediatrician in their health plan's network without a referral, and it prevents most insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.
The proclamation marks the latest in a long line of efforts by Obama and his campaign to court female voters. Earlier this month, his campaign released an online tool called "The Life of Julia," which walks users through the life of an average, middle-class woman and shows how she will benefit from Obama's health and education policies.
The president released a video on Mother's Day that played up the role of “strong, responsible women” in his life, and he is giving the commencement speech on Monday at Barnard College, an all-women's school.
Mitt Romney countered Obama's efforts by releasing a similar video that his sons made as a tribute to their mother, Ann, and by focusing on how the president's economic policies have failed women.
"I think this little cartoon they have on 'The Life of Julia' really reveals the weakness of the president’s policies," Romney told Sean Hannity on Fox News last week. "I think to have to defend your record by coming up with a cartoon character as opposed to real people suggests that he doesn’t want to talk about his record at all."
"To suggest that Republicans or that I don’t care about any dimension of our society is simply misguided," he continued. "It's wrong, it's dishonest, and I think as people watch this campaign they’ll recognize that the policies I'm promoting will help get America back to work and assure greater prosperity for our citizens."