November 15, 2012 — Groups that support abortion rights are urging female lawmakers to maintain a focus on women's health while making sure that the conversation extends beyond abortion rights, Politico reports.
At a recent meeting hosted by EMILY's List, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) -- who defeated Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) to retain her seat -- said, "We cannot get so focused on one issue that we lose sight of what motivation is for most women."
McCaskill said that Akin's comments about women's bodies being able to block a pregnancy from "legitimate rape" had an impact beyond the Missouri Senate race because they "crystallized for voters ... the real contrast in so many elections."
About 54% of voters in this month's election were women, and they supported President Obama over Republican Mitt Romney by an 18-percentage-point margin (Romano, Politico, 11/14).
Looking Toward 2014
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood Federation of America Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said women's groups will have to work to keep their issues relevant in the 2014 midterm elections.
"I think there's real risks in 2014 of, again, a demographic and turnout problem," Laguens said, adding, "We have to look at, can these issues actually be motivating and helpful for that?"
As support wanes for federal efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), women's groups might lack a "unified national narrative" and instead need to focus their messaging on fighting state-level efforts to block implementation, Laguens said.
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) said women's groups will have to "double-down" to support female candidates during midterm races. "We've got to make sure that we recruit more women to run for office because it's not just a slogan that when women run, women win -- they do," Wasserman Schultz said (Jaffe, "Ballot Box," The Hill, 11/14).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership