I am pleased to announce that today, NARAL Pro-Choice America's political action committee endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president.
I know that most of you are probably thinking, "Why did you decide to endorse Obama, and why are you doing it now?"
Sen. Obama has been a strong advocate for a woman's right to choose throughout his career in public service. Since joining the Senate in 2005, he has worked to unite Americans on both sides of this debate behind commonsense, common-ground ways to prevent unintended pregnancy. He supports legislation to provide our teens with comprehensive sex education, prevent pharmacies from denying women access to their legal birth-control prescriptions, and increase access for family-planning services.
Sen. Obama has said, "A woman's ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women."
Further, I believe Sen. Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee. He leads in pledged delegates, superdelegates, the popular vote, and cash-on-hand. As a former elected official, I know that having the three "m's" of a campaign - money, message and manpower (or womanpower!) - are how we win elections. Sen. Obama will be our next president.
Now, let's take a look at the opposition. Sen. McCain has been getting a free ride for far too long. As even Dan Balz says, until there is a head-to-head, McCain will continue on as the media-maverick darling. We must show voters how extreme McCain really is and contrast his record with that of Sen. Obama, the candidate for the pro-choice majority. NARAL Pro-Choice America is unique in our ability to reach the crucial voting bloc of Republican and independent pro-choice women. These voters are essential to win the White House and we've seen that Obama can inspire them to vote for him in November.
Finally, NARAL Pro-Choice America, as the political leader of the pro-choice movement, felt it was time to take a leadership role. We have been so fortunate to have two fully pro-choice candidates running for the Democratic nomination and to that end, we've consistently praised both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama for their leadership in standing up for women's reproductive rights. We continue to look forward to working with them in the future. But, for the sake of the reproductive-rights movement, we need to put any perceived differences behind us, and get to work putting Sen. Obama in the White House. We want to let women know that, no doubt about it, we have trust and confidence in Obama's ability and willingness to fight for a woman's right to choose. He's already proven himself in that regard.
We all know that America is a pro-choice nation, and whether you live in a red state or a blue state, whether you're young or you're old, whether you're black, latino, asian, or white, whether you are a man or a woman, we know that Sen. Obama will represent our interests well in the White House and make sure that reproductive choice is protected.
Sen. Obama is the leader who can unify Americans on both sides of our issue. He has reached new generations and energized young voters, independent voters, and Republican voters. He's the candidate of the future, and today we are proud to put the power of NARAL Pro-Choice America's one million strong members, activists and supporters behind Sen. Barack Obama.
Nancy Keenan is president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.