President Obama is in Denver today to outline the choice in this election and how it will affect every woman in America. This election decides whether years of struggle for basic health care rights that so many women fought for will be rolled back. I'll be standing with the President in Colorado because I believe we must defend those rights -- and that means reelecting a President who stands with us.
This choice is personal for all of us because it will impact each of our lives. But for me, it's intensely personal. Earlier this year, I was publicly attacked by Rush Limbaugh and others for testifying before members of Congress. I had shared stories of my friends and other young women, stories no different from those I've heard from women who also worry about having the health care they need.
Fortunately, we have a President who has fought for our right to quality, affordable care. That's the promise behind President Obama's health reform: we should have access to basic health care no matter where we work or study or what gender we are. And Obamacare is already delivering access to care for millions of women.
As of one week ago, thanks to Obamacare, 47 million nationwide who are starting to get preventive care, like cancer screenings, well-woman visits and contraception, at no cost.
When Obamacare takes full effect, we'll never again be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition like being a survivor of domestic violence or breast cancer, or having had a Caesarean section. Nor will we ever again be charged more than men for the same insurance just because we're women.
Since day one, President Obama has fought for women's health care rights and the economic security that goes with access to affordable insurance. I wish that were true for Mitt Romney.
Mr. Romney offers only dangerous promises to roll back these rights. I'm going to take him at his word -- and every woman in America should, too. On Obamacare, he says he'll "kill it dead" on day one, eliminating mandatory coverage for lifesaving preventive care and once again letting insurance companies play by their own rules.
Mr. Romney has said over and over that he would "get rid" of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which is a provider for more than 3 million people across the country who need cancer screenings and other basic health care. He also applauded a proposed law that would allow any employer, religious or not, to deny employees coverage for any medical service, not just contraception.
That's an alarming lack of vision from someone who wants to lead our country. But I've already seen what Mr. Romney's lack of leadership looks like.
When I was verbally attacked earlier this year, I was heartened by the many Americans who reached out in support, regardless of their politics. President Obama was one of them. He condemned those hateful words and supported my right to speak without being attacked.
Mr. Romney was not. When Rush Limbaugh called me a "slut" and a "prostitute" for speaking about medical needs for contraception, Mr. Romney could only say that it "wasn't the language [he] would have used." If Mr. Romney can't stand up to the extreme voices in his own party, we know he'll never stand up for women and protect the rights that generations of women fought so hard to ensure.
As we register to vote -- as we walk into the voting booth -- we must remember the choice we're making. One option is a candidate who promises to turn back the clock on women's rights and our access to health care.
Thankfully, we have a far better option: President Obama, who has consistently stood up for us, for our rights and for our health. It's a personal choice for each of us, but one that carries consequences for every woman in America.
Sandra Fluke is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and an activist for women and women's health.
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