Women’s Orgs Vow to Fight Back at the PollsMarch 07, 2012
Last week, as the Senate prepared to vote on the Blunt amendment to limit insurance coverage for contraception, a coalition of more than 50 women’s organizations held a press conference at the National Press Club to announce an unprecedented drive to mobilize women voters — on the ground and online — around health and economic rights (HER) in 2012. At the event, members of the HERvotes coalition emphasized the power of women voters as a force for change and voiced outrage over the politicization of vital aspects of women’s health care, such as birth control and breast cancer services.
HERvotes leaders highlighted the work that they are doing to sound the alarm that women’s gains are at risk. For example, the AAUW Action Fund has launched a $1.5 million campaign, It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard, to educate women — especially millennial women — about what’s at stake in the election and to get them to the ballot box in November. “There is a palpable buzz … women are mad,” said AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz. “We are fed up. We don’t want you to touch our birth control. We’re tired of our legislators failing us. We’ll be canvassing, advertising, using social media, and reaching women where they live.” The My Vote campaign will include paid staff members in 15 states. They will train volunteers to get out the vote and to target young women.
HERvotes leaders — including Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal, Raising Women’s Voices and National Black Women’s Health Imperative Founder Byllye Avery, and National Council of Negro Women Executive Director Avis Jones-DeWeever — said that women will make their voices heard on everything from jobs, equal pay, and equal opportunity to discriminatory health practices and access to education.
Sarah Audelo, senior manager of domestic policy at Advocates for Youth, made it clear that young women are part of this fight. “The right to basic preventive health care, such as contraception. The right to decide if and when to have a child. The right to vote and have our voices heard. These are rights our mothers and grandmothers fought for and won,” she said. “These are rights I never thought my generation would have to fight for. … We will reward those who support and respect our rights and hold accountable those who do not.”
HERvotes leaders will conduct multiple online drives on e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere that collectively will reach more than 20 million women. One such campaign will be led by MomsRising.org.
“Women are tired of the politicization of birth control, the politicization of breast cancer, and abortion bills that really are just about humiliating women,” said National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill. “The more they attack women’s ability to get along day by day … they are losing our votes. People are waking up.”
To learn more about the issues at stake, visit www.HERvotes.us.