One Year Later: Sandra Fluke's Moving Testimony on Birth Control
Ali Tweedt is a member of NARAL Pro-Choice America's communications and online advocacy strategies department.
This time last year, I went to Capitol Hill to watch a hearing on the no-cost birth-control policy under the Affordable Care Act.
The only pro-choice witness who came to speak in support of the policy, Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, was denied the chance to testify at anti-choice Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-CA) now-infamous all-male panel attacking contraceptive coverage.
Rep. Issa refused to let Sandra testify about the importance of no-cost birth control because she was "unqualified."
I was fortunate to attend that hearing, and I'll never forget the look of complete disbelief from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) as she walked out of the hearing in protest, demanding an answer to the obvious question:
"Where are the women?"
Pro-choice members of Congress made sure Sandra was not silenced. On February 23, 2012, they held their own hearing so that she could finally share her testimony. I remember sitting in that room captivated while listening to Sandra tell the stories of women whose lives depended on affordable birth control.
Sandra's testimony in support of birth-control coverage - and the personal attacks she endured because she dared to speak out on this critical issue - helped galvanize pro-choice Americans to fight back against the War on Women.
Rush Limbaugh sank to a new low when he called her a "slut" and a "prostitute." Despite his anti-choice attacks, Sandra Fluke became a household name as a champion for women's freedom and privacy by giving a voice to the many women who struggle to pay for birth control they desperately need:
"This is the message that not requiring coverage of contraception sends: a woman's reproductive-health care isn't a necessity, isn't a priority."
One year ago, Sandra Fluke took a stand in support of women's access to no-cost birth-control coverage under the Affordable Care Act. And today, we continue the fight to ensure that all women have access to the essential reproductive-health care that they deserve.