I'm writing this near the end of a long day on the road. I've been through three states in the last six days, meeting with candidates, supporters, voters -- and today really feels like the "best of times and the worst of times" for the women who make up our EMILY's List community.
The best of times is easy to explain. On August 1, the benefits for women under the ACA kicked in -- and they are game-changing. From cancer screening to well-woman visits to no-co-pay birth control, the baseline of what women can expect in terms of their health just rose several stories higher.
Everywhere I go, I'm looking at women differently now -- and their families, too. The young woman at the check-in at my hotel this morning, the one working full-time and going to college? Now she won't have to choose between paying for birth control and buying the books she needs for class. The woman ahead of me at Starbucks, ordering an incredibly complicated coffee while her two little kids bickered? Maybe 10 years from now she's going to have a life-saving mammogram and live to see one of her little girls graduate law school.
I'm telling you -- I see possibility everywhere because of this policy. And make no mistake about it: this policy exists because Barack Obama -- a pro-choice president elected overwhelmingly by women -- wanted it, and Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius -- two proud, pro-choice Democratic women and members of our EMILY's List community -- fought hard for it.
Which brings me to the worst of times. All over this country, from Washington, D.C., to states in every time zone, right-wingers are trying to roll back the clocks on our right to access quality health care in private. In Arizona, a new ban would force women to carry to term fetuses who cannot survive outside the womb, and who may suffer agony in the few hours or days they do survive. In Arizona, support systems are being prepared for families that will have to watch these children die. I cannot even imagine it.
In D.C. this week, the Republican-controlled House voted on a ban that would only impact women in the District of Columbia -- who were not allowed to speak out on their own behalf. A bill that takes aim at Roe V. Wade in an attempt to send American women back to the 1950s. Last week in South Dakota, courts upheld a piece of legislation forcing doctors to tell women the falsehood that abortion increases the risk of suicide.
The world Republicans are working to build is one where women's rights are curtailed and our opportunities are diminished -- and with that, our families and our entire communities are weakened, too.
I know whose vision of the world inspires me. I'm inspired by our president, Barack Obama, and by Leader Pelosi, Secretary Sebelius, and the hundreds of proud pro-choice democratic women who've fought back against the efforts to limit our rights, and for policies like these new health care benefits, which will save and enhance so many women's lives. And I'm inspired by the women I'm seeing every day -- in airports and coffee shops and campaign headquarters, who know what's at stake and are rolling up their sleeves getting things done. Come November, we are going to elect even more female leaders throughout this country -- and usher in a new era of fairness and opportunity for women and their families. It will be the best of times.
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