3:02 pm Mar. 4, 2011
Here's Kirsten Gillibrand on the "war on women," from an interview I did with her earlier this week.
It's the budget-eviscerating House Republicans who are waging the war she's talking about here, but this answer actually came in forceful response to a question about issues she felt were being underattended to by her own party. (Shortly after the interview, she and a number of her colleagues addressed this topic on the Senate floor.)
"You can die a slow death by just not doing something and I feel that's what's happened to the women's movement in the last decade. We're not doing enough. Now there are great advocacy groups that are working hard night and day to try to protect women's reproductive freedoms, to protect women's reproductive health. The Republican Party is focused entirely on undermining women's rights and reproductive health. They have put forward various bills, one to defund Planned Parenthood, which means defund prenatal care, defund basic health care for at-risk women, cancer screenings, and access to reproductive health care. So it's not just addressing abortion—they're addressing every safety net that women have for their health and well-being of their children. If you look at their budget, they have slashed programs that are safety nets for women and children, whether it's nutrition programs, whether it's early-childhood education, WIC--women and infants--whether it's just getting basic food, they've slashed those programs. So in my view there is a war on women that is not being sufficiently fought against and I'm going to do the best I can with the women and men who are in the Senate who feel as passionately as I do. And we've been fighting for the last three years—we fought very hard. Senator Mikulski was at the forefront of demanding that when we did health are reform, that women's preventive care was covered. And that was at risk of being slashed. That one of the compromises on the table was let's just not fund women's health care at the same level as we'll fund men's health care with regard to preventive health—but she drew a line in the sand and she got all the women senators to support her ... I guess the untold story is: Why does it take such enormous effort to get a basic right that shouldn't have to be fought over time and time again?"