MANCHESTER, NH – Today, two dozen pro-choice leaders from across New Hampshire released a letter to Granite State voters detailing Senator Clinton's record of fighting for a woman's right to choose. The letter notes that unlike Senator Barack Obama, who voted "present" on seven votes concerning choice in the Illinois State Senate, Senator Clinton has stood up time and again when a woman's right to choose was at stake.
The complete text of the letter follows:
As leaders on reproductive choice and women's health, we believe it is important for voters in New Hampshire to have the facts about Hillary's demonstrated record of commitment to reproductive choice versus Barack Obama's record - and not be misled by unfounded accusations. Let's look at the facts.
First and foremost, there should be no question of Hillary Clinton's leadership on issues of sex education, contraception and choice:
* Hillary spoke out on the Senate floor in opposition to Supreme Court nominees Roberts and Alito about her concern that Roe v. Wade was in danger, a fear that unfortunately was realized with the Court's Carhardt v. Gonzales decision, which marked a dramatic departure from four decades of Supreme Court rulings that upheld a woman's right to choose and recognized the importance of women's health.
* Hillary led the three-year fight in the Senate, with Senator Patty Murray of Washington State, to force the Bush administration to make a decision on over-the-counter access to Plan B emergency contraception. This important birth control option for women absolutely would not have happened if Hillary had not stood up to the Bush White House. And when the Bush administration refused to make Plan B available to our servicewomen abroad, Hillary introduced legislation to make it available.
* Hillary has taken the lead in supporting family planning in the U.S. Senate. Hillary doesn't just talk about the importance of family planning, she teamed up with Senator Harry Reid to introduce the Prevention First Act, which would provide the first federal funding for comprehensive sex education and expand Medicaid family planning services.
* As First Lady, she worked to form the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which led to a major drop in teen pregnancies, and led efforts to increase federal funding of family planning.
Second, as the Clinton campaign states, as a State Senator, Senator Obama voted "present" - instead of "yes" or "no" - seven times on issues related to protecting a women's right to choose. Illinois NOW cited Obama's "present" votes on tough choice issues in the Illinois State Legislature when explaining why they would not endorse him. The difference between Hillary's repeatedly standing up strong on choice and Obama's unwillingness to vote "yes" or "no" is a clear contrast, and we believe the voters in New Hampshire deserve to know this difference.
We support Hillary Clinton because she never ducked when choice was at stake. She has a lifelong commitment to standing up for women on the issue of choice and many other important issues like pay equity, fairness in the workplace, and microenterprise loans for women in developing countries. There is no doubt that as President, Hillary Clinton will stand by us and stand strong for choice.
Katherine Wells Wheeler, Durham
Former State Senator; Founder and Former Board Member of NARAL Pro-Choice NH Foundation, former Board Member Planned Parenthood of Northern New England
Christy Dolat Bartlett, Concord
President, Merrimack Valley Day Care Services Board
Leah Caswell, Portsmouth
Former NARAL Pro-Choice NH Board Member
Monica Ciolfi, Concord
Susan Colwell, Manchester
Former President of Manchester YWCA and Former Chair of NH Commission on the Status of Women
Jennifer Frizzell, Concord
Former NH Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England
Lindsay Hanson, Concord
Maggie Hassan, Exeter
Martha Hennessey, Hanover
Bev Hollingworth, Hampton
E. Barclay Jackson, Portsmouth
Women's Rights and Pro-Choice Activist, President of Womenaid of Greater Portsmouth
Sandra Balomenos Keans, Rochester
Former State Representative; Pro-Choice Activist
Molly Kelly, Keene
Bette Lasky, Nashua
Martha McLeod, Franconia
Kris Moody, Barrington
NH NOW President
Terie Norelli, Portsmouth
Speaker of the NH House; Former NARAL Pro-Choice NH Board Member, former NARAL Pro-Choice NH PAC Chair
Elizabeth C. Sensenig, Plainfield
Jill Silos, PhD, Newmarket
College Professor and Pro-Choice Activist
Kathy Sullivan, Manchester
Former Treasurer of the NH Women's Lobby and Pro-Choice Activist
Laura Thibault, Thornton
Former Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice NH
Kate Vaughn, Manchester
Mary Jane Wallner, Concord
Majority Leader, NH State House of Representatives
Pat Yosha, Exeter
Former Chair NH Commission on the Status of Women