‘What It Really Means to Be a Woman’?

by Dan Quinn

Penny Nance, president of the religious-right group Concerned Women for America, is angry that TIME magazine is considering Sandra Fluke for its Person of the Year. Fluke has been an outspoken advocate of the Obama administration’s new rule that contraception be covered in the health insurance plans offered by most employers. Right-wing politicians, activists and pundits have viciously attacked Fluke, with Rush Limbaugh infamously calling her a “slut.”

In an email to CWA supporters today, Nance expresses her outrage that Fluke would even be considered by TIME, which annually names the person who most influenced the news for better or worse over the past year. Nance says Fluke’s nomination “makes my blood boil”:

For too long, radical feminists have been center stage, dominating women’s issues and denigrating what it really means to be an American woman.

We don’t need a “Person of the Year” award to keep fighting, but I won’t allow Sandra Fluke, TIME Magazine, or any other anti-family Leftist speak for me.

So by insisting that women have access to affordable contraception, Fluke is somehow “denigrating what it really means to be an American woman”? By rejecting the notion that employers have a right to limit, based on their own religious and other personal beliefs, the health care options of their employees, Fluke is an “anti-family Leftist”?

Nance’s outrageous comments make it clear that Concerned Women for American is mostly concerned about controlling the private decisions individuals make about their own lives. And she has allies in Texas. In 2011, for example, Texas lawmakers engaged in what one shamelessly called a “war on birth control.” Some religious-right activists in Texas have even absurdly argued that contraception is bad for women’s health.

TFN President Kathy Miller has been and remains a strong advocate for women’s access to affordable contraception in Texas. When lawmakers return to Austin for the 2013 legislative session, TFN will be working hard at the Capitol to protect that access from the attacks of extremists like Nance, other religious-right groups and their allies in the Legislature.

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