Sandra Fluke, the unexpected face of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate, campaigns for Obama in Denver the same week that an extreme wing of the anti-choice movement gathered enough signatures for a “personhood” ballot measure this fall in Colorado. The measure would define life as beginning at fertilization, effectively banning birth control.
Meanwhile, The Daily Beast reported that the Personhood Colorado gathered 112,000 signatures, enough to get an initiative on the ballot this fall that would legally define life as beginning at fertilization, effectively outlawing birth control and abortion. This is the third time the organization faces a statewide vote, garnering only about 30 percent of the vote in 2008 and 2010.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains vowed to defeat the initiative again to local Colorado press, releasing a statement that said, “Personal, private medical decisions would be taken out of a woman’s hands, and controlled by politicians and the government … These decisions are best left to a woman, her family, and her faith.”
Fluke became a central figure in the debate over a mandate in the Affordable Care Act that requires birth control to be covered with no co-pay because it is qualified as preventative care. Religious conservatives objected, saying employers who opposed contraception on religious grounds should not be obligated to cover contraception. Republicans blocked Fluke from testifying before a House committee, opting instead to have an all-male panel insist that coverage of birth control conflicted with religious freedom.
Democrats then subsequently held their own panel so that Fluke could testify, in which she insisted, “I’m an American woman who uses contraception, so let’s start right there. That makes me qualified to talk to my elected officials about my health care needs.”
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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