A Tale of Two Senators
This week’s chump and champ is a tale of two senators—one from the north, one from the south, both elected in 2010, but both very different when it comes to protecting women’s health.
Hailing from Florida is freshman senator and tea-party favorite, Marco Rubio. To many Republicans, he’s seen as a potential vice-presidential running mate, one who holds the key to winning the Sunshine State and the 29 electoral votes that reside there. But to many women (including us), he’s seen as a chump—particularly when it comes to women’s health.
On Monday, flexing his conservative muscles, Rubio introduced a new bill to override President Obama’s decision to protect access to birth control for women who work at religiously affiliated universities, hospitals, or institutions. Even though churches and places of worship are already exempt, Rubio called it a “common sense bill that simply says the government can't force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith….” It’s funny that Rubio would have a problem with the government telling anyone what to do, because he has no problem telling women what to do with their bodies.
Touting his anti-choice position, at the Susan B. Anthony List’s annual gala—an organization dedicated to electing pro-life candidates—Rubio said a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body does not trump the rights of the unborn. And in a final act of chumpdom, he proclaimed Roe v. Wade the “most egregious and devastating example of a court.”
Considering he’s a senator in a state that has the second highest number of women/girls living with AIDS in the country and nearly a quarter of a million unintended pregnancies, Rubio is far from an expert on what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to women’s health. For his statements this week (and more), he earns our Chump of the Week crown.
Turning north to Connecticut, we have a senator of a different sort. A consistent advocate for women, it’s no wonder Senator Richard Blumenthal won 59 percent of the female vote when he was elected to the United States Senate.
Just two years into his term, Blumenthal has already demonstrated an unwavering commitment to women. In February of last year, he openly opposed the Pence Amendment—which would have banned Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds, and in August when the White House (under the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine) announced birth control should be covered as a preventive care without co-pay, he announced his support. But what truly earned him Champ status was his statement last week, when he announced his support of the president’s decision to protect affordable access to birth control for women who work at a religiously affiliated institutions, universities, or hospitals.
In his statement, he said the decision was “… a powerful step forward to ensure that women have access to full health care services, regardless of their employer, so that they can make the best health choices for themselves and their families. I look forward to continuing to work to ensure that every woman, regardless of income, has access to the vital health services she deserves.” We look forward to seeing what Blumenthal will accomplish in his efforts to protect women’s health.
Watch the video of Senator Blumenthal speaking at our recent Sex, Politics, and Cocktails event about this issue.
For all that and more—standing up against the anti-women’s health legislators and standing strong in support of women across the America—Senator Blumenthal truly is a champion.