It seems like not that long ago we were chronicling the dismal first 100 days of the Bush administration, predicting an unpleasant future for women's health and rights ... little did we know just how bad it could get.
So imagine the champagne corks popping today, as we mark the first 100 days with President Obama -- there is no way to overstate the revolutionary change that is taking place. Regardless of your passion -- the environment, civil rights, living wage, or, like those of us at Planned Parenthood, the health and well being of women and young people -- this administration is a tonic for whatever ails you.
As progressives, we can nearly always find something to complain about, but now more than ever, it's time to celebrate this new direction and saddle up for the work ahead. For we've also seen in these first three months that there are plenty of agin'ers (in Texas, these are folks who are against everything) who aren't embracing the change this country so desperately needs and wants. But before we get back to work, let's just take a quick look at the Top Ten great things President Obama has done for American women and families, Planned Parenthood-style!
Planned Parenthood's Top Ten List for the First 100 Days:
10. Repealed the global gag rule: With the stroke of a pen, President Obama overturned the global gag rule and once again allowed millions of women around the world to access critical reproductive health care services.
9. Moved to overturn the HHS midnight regulation: The administration took immediate action to rescind this rule, which jeopardizes women's health by denying them access to complete and accurate health care and information.
8. Supporting teens' health over ideology: The president, in his budget, called for evidence-based, medically accurate sex education, in contrast to the failed abstinence-only policies .
7. Expanding access to family planning: In the president's budget, he included a commonsense Medicaid waiver to expand family planning under Medicaid, increasing acces for more women in need.
6. Restored affordable birth control: The president signed legislation to restore access to affordable birth control for millions of college students and low-income women, especially important in these tough economic times.
5. Formed the White House Council on Women and Girls: President Obama established this council to focus on a wide range of issues facing American women and their families, including the high rate of unintended pregnancies and the alarming number of sexually transmitted infections.
4. Nominated strong women's champions to key cabinet posts: The president nominated Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who understands that improving the status of women is not simply a moral imperative; it is necessary to building democracies around the globe. He also nominated HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a longtime champion of women's health and a strong advocate for health care reform.
3. Expanding access to Plan B: Under the Obama administration, the FDA now supports over-the-counter sales of Plan B (emergency contraception) to women 17 years and older.
2. Focusing on AIDS outreach: President Obama has made a strong commitment to developing a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy to reduce the number of HIV infections, increase access to care, and reduce HIV-related health disparities to address the growing HIV/AIDS crisis among women and girls in the United States.
1. Committed to health care reform: President Obama has laid down the law that we'll have health care reform this year -- making access to quality, affordable health care one of his key priorities. Hallelujah -- not a moment too soon!
So -- we are off to an incredible start. Though as everyone involved in improving the long-term health of our nation knows, it's not just about the last 100 days -- it's about the 100 after that, and the 100 after that. It's about making the health of women and young people a priority every day, and in every policy decision. This is the moment we've all been waiting for, and we can't let the president down. At Planned Parenthood, we are suited up and on the field, ready to play -- it's going to be a great season. An A for the first 100 days.
Follow Cecile Richards on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cecilerichards