When all eyes turned to New Orleans, I thought, finally, things will change.
Last February Republicans may have tried to silence Sandra Fluke when they refused to allow her to testify before a House committee on the importance of contraceptives being covered by health insurance plans, followed by Rush Limbaugh attempting to "slut shame" her, but Fluke was speaking out at the Los Angeles Green Festival on Nov. 18.
"We just saw women pick the president of the United States. There was a 12-point difference in women's preference ... between Pres. Obama and that guy who ran who we don't have to worry about any more," quipped the 31-year-old attorney to the delight of the L.A. Convention Center crowd. She also noted "the record number of women elected to the House, over 80, and 20 women to the Senate."
She called it "a record-setting gender gap," and she explained: "This happened for a reason, right? ... Because someone decided, 'Oh, if you talk about the issues that matter to women, they'll vote for you.' It's a radical concept, right? Very novel. So this year, in the presidential, congressional and state campaigns we really saw issues pointed to women highlighted in a way we haven't before, whether it was women's health care, reproductive health care ... or violence against women ... or our right to enforce our ability to get equal pay for equal work."
She pointed out that "60 percent of women said that the affordability of contraception and reproductive health issues were one of their key reasons for voting the way they did this year. I really hope this sends a strong, strong message to those considering running for office and to our elected officials that we have the power to put them in office and we have the power to take them back out."
Fluke spoke on a GreenFest panel with West Wing actress Melissa Fitzgerald entitled "Women and Girls Leading US Forward!"
After her talk, The Progressive Magazine asked Fluke whether she could respond specifically to the hideous comments a number of Republican candidates made about rape and how she believed that affected the election.
"Absolutely," she said. She began by pointing out that those comments were "hard for a lot of survivors of sexual assault and their families to hear. So we have to acknowledge that." Then she proceeded to the political consequences.
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