Tampa area Congresswoman Kathy Castor has been a huge proponent of the legislation since day one (who can forget that chaotic town hall meeting regarding health care that took place almost three years ago to the day that she was involved with?), and at a news conference at the Obama For America offices in Ybor City on Wednesday, showed that she wasn't backing down at all in her advocacy for the controversial bill, especially in how it helps women, a key narrative that Democrats have been pushing for months.
"On August 1, for 2.5 million women in Florida, their benefits were improved, meaning that their health care insurance plan now has to cover contraception and many of those wellness and preventive services," she began.
Castor was joined by two Tampa based women with recent health care issues, Sheeba George and Kristen Tocci, who joined her in thanking President Obama for his leadership in successfully passing health care reform.
Castor praised Obama for the law, particularly the provision that will allow more women to have mammograms included in their health care policies, and said that as a mother of teenage girls, she thinks that it's a great benefit that the HPV vaccine will be covered as part of their insurance costs under the ACA.
"Contrary to the assertions of a former Republican presidential candidate said, parents do have their kids vaccinated for HPV. It is the only cancer prevention vaccine that is out there," Castor said of her GOP House colleague, Michelle Bachmann, who made the assertion at a presidential debate in Tampa last September that the HPV vaccine could cause mental retardation.
Earlier this year Democrats seized on crude comments made by Rush Limbaugh about Sandra Fluke, the 30-year-old Georgetown law student who was denied the chance to testify before Congress regarding birth control. They called it part of a "war on women," and the two women joining Castor in Ybor City said they very much believed that was the case.
"I do feel like there is an attack on women right now," 27-year-old Kristen Tocci said. Referring to the campaign promise that Mitt Romney has made that he would defund Planned Parenthood, Tocci said "I feel kind of horrified and a little worried about what the future holds for women."
Sheeba George, who said she wishes the ACA was in effect when she was undergoing treatment for an infected calcified tumor a few years ago, also referred to Romney's comments regarding Planned Parenthood, saying that group provides "an enormous service to women and women's health issues," before slamming the presumptive GOP presidential nominee for supporting a proposal sponsored by Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt.
The Blunt Amendment would allow employers to opt out of a new federal health-care mandate regarding contraception for their employees if they have religious objections.
Congresswoman Castor seized the opportunity to take political shots at Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans as well on the issue of whether the GOP has had a war on women, saying, "Mitt Romney has a different vision, and I've seen it first hand in the Congress. This Tea Party Republican group that Mitt Romney is leading now wants to roll back those improvement in what we have now in health insurance. He wants to end Planned Parenthood."
Coincidentally, Sandra Fluke was back in the news on Wednesday. After word broke that she would be introducing President Obama in Colorado at a campaign stop, the conservative Concerned Women for America issued a press release that said:
"We celebrate the fact that Sandra Fluke is gainfully employed so she can pay for her own contraceptives. Until now, Ms. Fluke and Julia have been the poster children of the Obama administration; it's all about what kind of free stuff they can get from the government. I hate to break it to Team Obama- they are not going to be able to buy the support of hard working, values-driven Americans in November.
"Ms. Fluke touts the fact that ObamaCare will provide free contraception and abortion-inducing drugs; however, the only thing ObamaCare will do is make for more expensive, lower quality health care that intrudes upon the religious convictions of many Americans.
Rush Limbaugh also referenced Fluke today, saying that he should get a finder's fee for her appearance introducing President Obama in Colorado.