One year ago, I prepared to testify before Congress about the critical role affordable birth control plays as part of essential health care for millions of women.
Instead, I was shut out by legislators who had no interest in hearing about how birth control matters to women who suffer from ovarian cysts, women who survive sexual assault, women who want to plan their families and their futures.
Who spoke in my place? A Catholic bishop and the president of East Texas Baptist University — along with eight other witnesses who all refused to acknowledge the reality that for millions of women, birth control is basic health care. And I was smeared by pundits, shock jocks like Rush Limbaugh, and shameless political operatives who wanted me and the millions of women speaking out to just go away.
Well, we're still here. They're still wrong. And this is still a fight.
President Obama's plan strikes the right balance. It guarantees that women will be able to get birth control without a co-pay, while ensuring that the rights of religious organizations are respected. Despite the president's accommodation of religious organizations, powerful voices are still fighting to take this basic health care away from women.
It comes down to this: nobody —politicians, bosses, or anyone else — should be able to block your access to essential health care. Nobody has the right to deny you power over your body and your future.
Every time we speak out for our fundamental right to make our own medical decisions, there are those who try to silence us. They deny us a hearing, they shout us down, they call us names (I think I've heard them all by now).
But it didn't work on me then, and it won't work on us now. We don't have much time left to speak out. Even if you don't usually share this sort of thing, please take a moment to post this on Facebook or Twitter.
I'm proud to stand with Planned Parenthood and President Obama as we work to expand access to affordable birth control. And I'm proud to stand with millions of women and men — including you — who are fighting for women's health every single day.