Forcible rape. I don't think many people would have guessed that it would be one of the defining phrases of the 2012 elections. But, there's not much about today's Republican Party that any one of us could have seen coming.
Todd Akin, House Republicans, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. The hits, they keep on coming.
For the sake of American women I wish I could say these instances were outliers. But they're just not. This is a Republican Party that has more than 200 members who co-sponsored a bill to redefine rape so that some are worse than others, and continues to support a constitutional ban on abortion - with no exceptions - in its national platform. So it's getting harder for them to argue that the Todd Akin's of the world don't fall right into line with their political views.
I think Senator Claire McCaskill said it best, "It's not what he says that's the problem; it's what he believes."
And just when you'd thought that the outcry over Akin's comments might have put a stop to this ridiculous, repressive agenda, Republican Governor Susana Martinez proposed that women seeking childcare assistance for children conceived from rape would need to prove they were the victims of a "forcible rape."
The law would have required women to prove that they had done everything in their power to obtain support from the child's father - forcing women to ask for the support of the person that raped them.
It's just unthinkable.
And yet, just like Todd Akin, Governor Martinez is not alone. According to New Mexico's own Children, Youth, and Families Department four other states "use the exact same language in their existing childcare regulations: Oklahoma, West Virginia, Maryland and Maine."
I'm thankful for the public outcry that led Governor Martinez to concede and remove the language from the bill. But I know we're not done fighting. We need to stop these bills before they start. We need more pro-women politicians in office from the state house, to the governor's mansion to the halls of Congress.
At EMILY's List, we support pro-choice, Democratic women. And it's three criteria for a reason. We've found that they have the most progressive voting record in Congress. And we've seen what they've been able to accomplish when leading states.
We've also seen the outrageous amount of anti-women legislation coming out of state houses across the country. And we need strong, pro-choice Democratic women governors to stop it.
That's why, this year, with so much on the line for women, it's unthinkable to imagine an America without any Democratic women governors. At EMILY's List we're working to make sure that doesn't happen. We only have one chance - Maggie Hassan.
Maggie Hassan understands the needs of New Hampshire women and families and will work to improve their lives, not force a regressive agenda on them. She knows that good government works to improve people's lives, not force them into dangerous situations. And we know that Democratic women have been the line in the sand against the extreme Tea Party agenda.
Her election is imperative. This country can't move forward without leadership that respects all of its citizens. And we simply can't afford to see it go backward.