2011 was the year of the War on Women.
Anti-choice politicians ignored the American people's call to focus on jobs and the economy, and instead made attacking a woman's right to make personal, private medical decisions one of their "highest legislative priorities."
The U.S. House of Representatives held more choice-related votes in 2011 than in any year since 2000, and states enacted 69 anti-choice measures -- one shy of the record number set in 1999.
In the more than 30 years I've spent defending a woman's right to choose, I can't recall a time when politicians have been more out of touch with our nation's values and priorities.
And we're not out of the woods yet. The very same politicians behind the War on Women are ready to resume the legislative attacks in 2012 here in Washington, D.C. and in state legislatures throughout the country.
America's pro-choice majority will have to prepare itself for yet another year of attacks on everything from women's insurance coverage of abortion to public funding for birth control and cancer screenings.
But here's the good news: this November, many of the politicians behind the War on Women will face the voters. And from the looks of it, they're going to have a pretty hard time explaining why they spent the better part of two years attacking women's freedom and privacy.
To paraphrase anti-choice former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.), we like being able to fire politicians who put attacking choice ahead of creating jobs and growing our economy.
And make no mistake about it, choice is a key issue in the 2012 elections. You don't have to take my word for it: a recent poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research on our behalf shows that President Obama's pro-choice position is shaping up to be a key asset for him.
The poll revealed a key bloc of women voters who supported the president in 2008 but are currently unsure about supporting his reelection. Choice provides an opening for President Obama and other Democrats to win back these critical women voters, and thus create a sharp contrast with anti-choice Republicans.
So, we have quite the contrast to make, as all the Republican presidential candidates oppose a woman's right to choose.
That includes Gov. Romney, the current frontrunner.
Romney wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned, and threatens to "eliminate Title X family-planning programs," which include federal funding for birth control and cancer screenings. As Massachusetts governor, he even vetoed a bill giving rape survivors information about and timely access to emergency contraception.
The difference between Gov. Romney's record on contraception and President Obama's couldn't be starker.
Furthermore, the Obama administration resisted pressure from anti-contraception groups to allow many employers, including universities and hospitals, to refuse to cover birth control. As a result, millions of Americans will get access to contraception -- and they will not have to ask their bosses for permission.
We'll work day-in and day-out to make sure these key women voters -- and all voters -- know that Gov. Romney is far outside the American mainstream when it comes to choice.
We'll also work to keep the U.S. Senate under pro-choice leadership and send more pro-choice representatives to the House.
In the coming weeks and months, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC will endorse pro-choice candidates for the House and Senate. These include incumbents who have stood up against the War on Women time and again, as well as pro-choice challengers who are taking on anti-choice incumbents.
We're making sure that voters know where their candidates stand on choice. Those politicians who voted for the War on Women can run, but they can't hide from their bad records.
Next month, we'll unveil our 2012 Voter Guide, so that you can learn more about which candidates are heroes and which ones are zeroes.
I'll be traveling throughout the country this year, rallying pro-choice voters to turn out for a tidal wave at the polls in November. Make no mistake -- America is a majority pro-choice country, but we need the energy and the turnout to ensure that our elected officials reflect our nation's core values.
This fall, I'll be helping pro-choice Americans register to vote and helping them vote early. And the staff here at NARAL Pro-Choice America, our state affiliates, and our one-million member activists are focused like a laser on ensuring pro-choice victories at the polls.
This year, let's elect more people who share our values -- and, together, we'll end the War on Women.
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, wrote this Blog for Choice Day 2012 post in response to the question: "What will you do to help elect pro-choice candidates in 2012?"
Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
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