Over the past year, I've heard from folks from all different political backgrounds — Republicans, Democrats and independents — who are shocked and angry about political efforts to interfere with women's health. This new brand of Republicans who veer to the extreme right on social issues is not good for women or our country, and U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon would be a rubber stamp for this agenda.
Nearly two years ago, Republican Reps. John Boehner, Paul Ryan and tea party adherents took control of Congress, promising to fix the economy. Instead, they attacked women's health. The first bill they introduced, and then the House passed, would have cut millions of women off from cancer screenings and birth control. And they haven't let up since.
Women cannot believe that in 2012 we have to fight over whether birth control should be covered by insurance.
But that's exactly what's happening — and Linda McMahon has made it clear that she stands with Mitt Romney and the tea party, against women getting coverage for birth control.
Thanks to President Barack Obama, the Affordable Care Act requires that insurance companies cover birth control like any other preventive prescription.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate debated the Blunt amendment, which would have let employers and insurance companies refuse to cover, because of religious or moral convictions, any health care service they object to, such as cancer screenings, maternity care, HIV/AIDS treatments and others.
Linda McMahon has told reporters that if she had been in the Senate, she would have voted for the Blunt amendment — to let your boss decide whether your birth control and other services such as cervical cancer screenings should be covered under your insurance plan.
The American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Spina Bifida Association all joined Planned Parenthood in opposing this bill. They all knew that this extreme legislation could have far-reaching consequences for families nationwide.
The Blunt amendment would have given businesses and corporations effective veto power over their employees' personal health care decisions.
We beat the Blunt amendment in March with the support of senators from both aisles.
Chris Murphy would have stood with us in the Senate — in support of access to birth control. Linda McMahon would have stood against us.
As the leading advocate for Planned Parenthood health centers, Planned Parenthood Action Fund knows firsthand how the policies that Linda McMahon supports would hurt women; one in five women comes to Planned Parenthood health centers every year in America, and in Connecticut Planned Parenthood health centers see 62,000 people for services such as birth control, breast exams, and STI tests/treatments.
Regardless of where they work, women, men and their families should have access to health insurance that covers preventive health care, including birth control, with no co-pays. Especially during these tough economic times when many middle-class Connecticut families are often struggling to make ends meet.
Linda McMahon's attacks are dangerous for us all — our mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces and grandmothers. Between now and November, we need to make sure that Connecticut voters understand just where Ms. McMahon stands on these issues.
So much is at stake for Connecticut and our country.
Cecile Richards is president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.Copyright © 2015, CT Now