Forty three years ago next week, the Supreme Court declared abortion a fundamental right, and forever preserved a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her health. Yet today, just two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the Republican front-runner in that state has vowed to invalidate this Supreme Court ruling. When asked if he would even attempt to use the 14th Amendment to rob American women of this sacred right, Ted Cruz replied: “Absolutely, yes.”
Cruz is not alone in holding these extreme positions. Marco Rubio has said that as president, he would end abortion, without exceptions for victims of rape and incest. By now it probably comes as no surprise that Donald Trump, who once claimed to be “pro-choice,” now calls Planned Parenthood an “abortion factory,” and promises to defund it.
And even if a President Ted Cruz ultimately failed in his quest, he would be in a position to appoint as many as four new Supreme Court Justices, whose opinions will determine the fate of an entire generation of women.
As the Chairman of Planned Parenthood’s Board of Advocates, the stakes in this election are higher than I’ve ever seen in a lifetime of waging these fights. Views that used to exist only on the fringes of the Republican Party have become mainstream dogma.
Recently, the Republican-controlled Congress managed to pass a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood for the first time in history. A thin line of ink from President Obama’s veto pen is all that stands between American women and this nightmare.
This vote is a disturbing preview of coming attractions. If any of the current cohort of Republican candidates manage to win the White House too, the only thing women will be able to count on is politicians interfering in her personal health decisions.
Without the Affordable Care Act, we would go back to the days when being a woman was a pre-existing condition in America. Insurance companies could once again charge women more for coverage just because of their gender. And without Planned Parenthood, women would be cut off from the care they need, including birth control, well-woman exams, access to STD testing, and cancer screenings.
To escape this frightening future, America has only one path to follow. We must make sure Hillary Clinton becomes the next President of the United States.
Planned Parenthood has issued its first-ever primary endorsement of Hillary because she’s been fighting for women and families her entire life. In Arkansas, she launched the first rape crisis hotline in the state. In the Senate, she fought tirelessly for reproductive rights, access to birth control, and sex education. And as Secretary of State, women’s health and women’s rights were the centerpiece of her agenda.
All that experience means that Hillary has the skills and the scars that no one else can match. She is the strongest, most qualified candidate for the office of president that I have ever encountered. But in an election, she’ll only be as powerful as those who stand with her.
So as our more of our friends and neighbors begin tuning into this election, let’s make sure they understand everything that’s on the line. Let’s organize for her, caucus for her, and vote for her.
And if anyone wonders why they should go through the trouble, we’ll have a simple answer ready: It’s now possible to envision a world where our daughters and granddaughters have fewer rights than we did. With Hillary, we can make sure that bad dream never comes true.
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