(CNSNews.com) – Warning that his “anti-women” stance would cost him votes in his campaign for the White House, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said Friday presidential candidate Mitt Romney needs to end the Republican “war on women.”
During a conference call briefing accusing Romney of “pandering to the extreme right-wing of his party on the issues that matter to Washington women,” Wasserman Schultz and representatives from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America singled out the former Massachusetts governor as a politician who would “allow big corporations to deny health care options to their female employees.”
The call also included a statement from a Catholic hospital nurse who claimed birth control is so expensive she has to stay on her parents’ health care plan.
“Playtime is over when it comes to women’s health decisions and no one needs to hear this message more than Mitt Romney,” said Wasserman Schultz, who chairs the Democratic National Committee and sponsored the call to targeted Washington state voters ahead of their caucuses. Romney won on Saturday, further cementing his status as frontrunner.
Wasserman Schultz went on to say Romney’s reversal on the Blunt Amendment – which sought to insert conscience rights into ObamaCare – was not his first “flip-flop when it comes to women.”
Romney initially said he opposed the measure, before clarifying and declaring his support, saying that he had misunderstood the question as referring to a state law limiting access to contraception. The amendment failed a vote in the Senate Thursday, 51 to 48.
“No-one should have been surprised that Mitt Romney wants to give our bosses control over our health care decisions,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Romney’s extreme positions on contraception and a woman’s right to choose are only the start at how little he cares about letting women make decisions about our own health.”
The Florida Democrat pointed to Romney’s varying stances on providing emergency contraception to rape victims, and derided his support for a “personhood” amendment in Massachusetts, which would define life as beginning at conception.
“A personhood amendment would ban all abortions, even if a woman is a victim of rape or incest, or if she would die otherwise,” Wasserman Schultz said. “This is an extreme and radical step, even for Mitt Romney.”
“It’s time Romney and the rest of the Republican Party end the war on women they started,” she concluded. “Whether it’s the Blunt-Rubio amendment, personhood or attempts to repeal Roe v. Wade, we aren’t going to let extremist politicians dictate to women what we can or cannot do with our bodies.”
The Obama administration has mandated that all health insurance plans cover the cose of sterilizations and FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions.
Also appearing on the call was Megan Iturralade, a nurse at a Catholic hospital in Tacoma, Washington, who said she’s been “watching the assault on our health care by politicians like Mitt Romney.”
“I currently work as a nurse at a Catholic hospital in Tacoma, Washington that doesn’t offer health insurance that covers birth control,” Iturralade said. “As a result of this, I remain on my parents’ health insurance because it’s difficult to afford the costs of paying for birth control out of pocket.”
“Thank goodness for the president’s health care reform law, which will allow me to remain on my parents’ insurance plan until I’m 26,” she added. “Now, because of the leadership of President Obama women like me will have access to free preventative care, including contraception no matter where we work, because our insurance companies and not our employers will cover contraceptive costs.”
“I know I and other women in Washington have been watching the assault on our health care by politicians like Mitt Romney, and I know the majority of us don’t appreciate having our medical choices dictated to us,” Iturralade said. “And there are going to be consequences for those who insist on pressing forward with these archaic actions and mindsets, and at least for Mitt Romney that consequence is clearly going to be that he’s going to lose the presidential election.”
Iturralade’s complaint about the cost of birth control echoed that of recent testimony by Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, who told a Democratic Steering Committee hearing, “Without insurance coverage contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school,” and gave examples of the difficulties students face without subsidized birth control.
Also taking part in Friday’s conference call was Dana Laurent, political director for Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington, an advocacy and political arm of the nation’s largest abortion provider.
“Women in Washington state are very familiar with the games that Mitt Romney and other anti-choice, anti-family planning Republicans are playing with women’s health,” she said.
“Americans want a president who is going to make sure that women have access to the health care they need,” Laurent said. “Mitt Romney would allow big corporations to deny health care options to their female employees. It’s just that simple.”