DENVER
09/06/2012 02:29 pm ET

Rep. Diana DeGette DNC 2012 Speech: 'Romney And Ryan Want To Make Women Second-Class Citizens Again' (VIDEO)

Before Sandra Fluke took the stage Wednesday for the Democratic National Convention, Colorado's U.S. Representative Diana DeGette attacked the Romney-Ryan ticket as a plan "to make women second-class citizens again."

DeGette, a sitting congresswoman since 1997, made the argument that the GOP candidates' plan would hurt the economy by way of their position on women's health issues.

During her speech, DeGette reminded the audience that next year Colorado will be celebrating its 120th anniversary as the first state to give women the right to vote, before launching into her assertion that today, families are looking to women for financial stability at least as much as men.

"More and more in this economy, the women are the family breadwinners. We are managing our family budgets, struggling to pay health care bills, and facing the challenge of saving for college. We feel it in our paychecks when we receive only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns," said DeGette, referencing the the statistic that was widely cited for the passage of the first bill signed by President Barack Obama, the Lilly Ledbetter Act.

DeGette also criticized the Romney-Ryan plan for it's proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to slash funding for Planned Parenthood, and it's support of the Personhood Amendment that defines life at conception.

But, although these restrictions on women's rights are all Republican ideas and even in their platform, my friends across the aisle now try to change the subject. 'It's the economy,' they cry, and you know what? They're right. When they break the guarantee of Medicare, it will hurt women and families right in the pocketbook. When they allow insurance companies to deny coverage based solely on the preexisting condition of being a woman, it hurts women and families right in the pocketbook. When they take away the guarantee of coverage for mammograms for cervical cancer screenings in the Affordable Care Act, it will hurt women and families right in the pocketbook. And when they deny women access to birth control, so that we can plan to have our children, it hits women and families right in the pocketbook. Reproductive freedom means economic freedom. And that's what this debate is all about. In short, the Romney/Ryan ticket would reverse more than a century of hard-fought progress for women.

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