As a nurse, I've watched in jaw-dropping amazement over the last year at some of the statements made by elected officials, and those who hope to be elected officials, about women's reproductive health.
The most recent comments made by State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R-IN), candidate for U.S. Senate, that women who had been raped should not have access to abortion services, are shocking. Mourdock claimed. "I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen. "These remarks followed on the heels of a statement made by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives who is running for the U.S. Senate, who said on a local TV station, "It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare, if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Sadly, Mourdock and Akin are not alone in in the GOP with these extreme- and medically incorrect- views. When Governor Romney accepted the Republican nomination, it came with a new party plank that would roll back women's access to the full range of reproductive health services. Governor Romney says he supports a "personhood amendment", would repeal the Affordable Care Act on the first day, and even supports the Blunt amendment, which would allow corporations and businesses to deny coverage of health services - including contraception - to their employees on the basis of their personal moral objections.
Taking away free preventive screening and maternity care, access to abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood and attempting to deny millions of women access to contraception is not a vision that makes women or their families healthier. These - mostly male- Republicans would ground women's health policy in their own political ideology instead of the medical evidence and experience of nurses and doctors. As a nurse, I have always stood up for the health and well being of my patients; this election will be no exception. And I know that many informed women and men across this country will be joining me.