The much-maligned-by-Republicans Sandra Fluke took to the Democratic National Convention stage tonight to show Republicans why they shouldn’t mess with women. The Georgetown University law student’s speech was a rousing success, earning a standing ovation from a fired up Democratic base. The house went crazy when she said, “An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters—not his delegates or donors—and stands with all women.”
Ms. Fluke recalled how she found herself standing at the podium, “Some of you may remember that earlier this year, Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception. In fact, on that panel, they didn’t hear from a single woman, even though they were debating an issue that affects nearly every woman. Because it happened in Congress, people noticed. But it happens all the time. Many women are shut out and silenced. So while I’m honored to be standing at this podium, it easily could have been any one of you. I’m here because I spoke out, and this November, each of us must do the same.”
Sandra Fluke pointed out the difference futures facing us this election, “During this campaign, we’ve heard about the two profoundly different futures that could await women—and how one of those futures looks like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past. Warnings of that future are not distractions. They’re not imagined. That future could be real.
In that America, your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. Who won’t stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party.
It would be an America in which you have a new vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms. An America in which states humiliate women by forcing us to endure invasive ultrasounds we don’t want and our doctors say we don’t need. An America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it; in which politicians redefine rape so survivors are victimized all over again; in which someone decides which domestic violence victims deserve help, and which don’t. We know what this America would look like. In a few short months, it’s the America we could be. But it’s not the America we should be. It’s not who we are.”
Ms. Fluke brought the house down with her play on the word choose, “We’ve also seen another future we could choose. First of all, we’d have the right to choose. It’s an America in which no one can charge us more than men for the exact same health insurance; in which no one can deny us affordable access to the cancer screenings that could save our lives; in which we decide when to start our families.”
Sandra Fluke got huge cheers for affirming that when President Obama heard of how Ms. Fluke had been treated, he thought of his daughters not his delegates or donors, “An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters—not his delegates or donors—and stands with all women.” Women in the audience were in tears at this point. Well, okay, I was.
She continued, “And strangers come together, reach out and lift her up.” She pointed out the difference between the RNC and the DNC, “And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here—and give me a microphone—to amplify our voice. That’s the difference.”
Ms. Fluke ended with a dire warning from first hand experience, “Over the last six months, I’ve seen what these two futures look like. And six months from now, we’ll all be living in one, or the other. But only one. A country where our president either has our back or turns his back; a country that honors our foremothers by moving us forward, or one that forces our generation to re-fight the battles they already won; a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn’t apply to our bodies and our voices.”
Sandra Fluke just kicked the War on Women right in its weak-bellied center. She brought the house down with her eloquent words and stirring dignity. Sandra Fluke just made the GOP pay for the very real war on women. Rush Limbaugh called her a slut for speaking her mind, but that didn’t silence her as it was intended to do, and we must not let the assault on our rights and dignity silence us.
Vote for personal freedom this election. Vote for personal dignity, and vote for a President who is fighting for a future for his daughters and for all women. The Obama administration has been the most women friendly administration in history. It’s just how they roll.
Ms. Fluke’s quotes from her prepared remarks.