By Cynthia Gordy
From a political perspective, it’s been an eventful Women’s History Month as debate over women’s health has continued to bubble up in state houses and Congress, as well as on the presidential campaign trail.
Last week alone, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a bill requiring women to undergo an abdominal ultrasound before abortions, and Texas enacted a law that bans Planned Parenthood clinics from participating in a Medicaid family planning program (leading the federal government to end the program in the state, and leaving approximately 130,000 low-income women without health care access).
After the Obama administration’s February decision requiring insurance companies to offer contraception to employees of religious-affiliated institutions (but not forcing employers who object for religious reasons to be involved), an infamous House hearing presented arguments against the birth control mandate without letting any women testify. House Republicans went on to introduce the Blunt Amendment, which would allow all employers to deny coverage of any medical treatment or services to which they object for any moral reason. The amendment was killed in the Senate this month.
Collectively, these measures have drawn harsh criticism from Democrats, many of whom characterize this political moment as a "Republican war on women." In a statement released this month, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel wrote, "This Republican majority is intent on denying women access to contraception … If Republicans succeed with their radical agenda, they will have undone the historical achievements that this Women’s History Month honors and cherishes."