03/14/2012 12:36 pm ET Updated May 14, 2012

Contraception Is the Tip of the Iceberg

The recent public debate about contraception has not only exposed the completely out of whack view of the Republican candidates on women's rights, but it has also ignited a fire in women across the country who refuse to have their rights trampled on.

The response to this debate by so many women has made me pretty proud to be one and if the Republicans running for president insist on continuing to question basic women's rights then they have completely underestimated the force of the modern women's movement.

But the reality is our lives don't revolve around contraception -- even though the recent debate has awoken the inner feminist in many of us.

We also worry about jobs, and health care, about our parents getting older, and about the family down the street that can't put food on the table or afford to send their kids to college.

When the national conversation inevitably moves away from contraception and back to issues like the economy, women across the country need to keep that fire in their belly and remember what is at stake.

So here are three more reasons why none of us can let our inner feminist take a nap before the election.


Republicans running for president have made no secret of their desire to overturn the president's health care law.

More than 86 million Americans can now get free preventive care because of the Affordable Care Act. That means they can get life-saving cancer screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies, and women can have their contraception covered without paying a co-pay or deductible.

The Affordable Care Act also ensures women can see an OB-GYN without having to get a referral first. And children won't lose their coverage just because they were born with pre-existing conditions like asthma.

Americans are living healthier lives while saving money at the same time.

Seems like a no-brainer right? Apparently not for a few men seeking the Republican nomination for President.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum would prefer to put an end to the kind of free preventative care that is a part of the Affordable Care Act.

And for the nearly 2.5 million young people under the age of 26 who now have health insurance, sorry you are out of luck if the Republican candidates have their way.


How many times have we heard Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum proudly talk about their support for Cut, Cap and Balance -- the Republican plan for cutting the deficit?

I have always wondered what they are so proud of.

The Cut, Cap and Balance Plan would cut 320,000 children from Head Start and reduce aid for families trying to put their kids through college by hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.

In stark contrast, President Obama is making college more affordable for working families by doubling Pell grant funding and providing tax credits for tuition expenses. An estimated 9.4 million families benefited in 2011 alone.

He has also supported funding for 286,000 jobs in public schools across the country, including more than 100,000 teachers in 2010.


Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum's full throttled support for Cut, Cap and Balance also means they would cut programs like food stamp benefits for families of four by $1760 per year or cut eight million households from the program.

That is more than $145 each month that would be cut from household food budgets of families depending on food stamps.

What would the president do?

Census findings confirm that the President helped keep millions of Americans out of poverty by expanding or extending programs that helped those who were hardest hit by the recession.

More than six million Americans were lifted out of poverty by the Earned Income Tax Credit, 5.2 million by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), 2.8 million through housing assistance -- and more than a million through the national school lunch program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Women, Infants, and Children (SNAP).

There is a lot at stake for women in November and this is only mile two of the marathon. We just have to keep our pace and keep the finish line in site.

We can rest in November.