Sandra Fluke, who has become a national figure in the fight for women's reproductive rights, is campaigning hard now for the re-election of President Obama.
Fluke, who will address the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., issued a statement today saying the firestorm set off by Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin "is not an accident, or a mistake, or an isolated incident. It's a reflection of a Republican Party whose policies are dangerous for women
"There's a clear choice for women in this election," she said. "Stand with President Obama."
Fluke entered the national debate on women's rights when, as a Georgetown student last February, she testified before Congress on the issue of contraception. Right-wing shock jock Rush Limbaugh, who knew neither Fluke nor her story, called her a "slut" and a "prostitute" on his radio show.
"President Obama stood with me and my right to speak out," Fluke said, "while Mitt Romney didn't even condemn Rush Limbaugh's remarks, saying only, 'It's not the language I would have used.'"
Fluke acknowledged that Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, have tried to distance themselves from the recent remarks buy Akin "but the fact is they are in lockstep with Akin on the major women's health issues of our time," she said.
Akin's remarks, broadcast on national television, were that "the victims of 'legitimate rape' don't get pregnant because the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down."
Fluke noted that only yesterday morning "the Republican Party voted to include a so-called Human Life Amendment in their platform, calling for a constitutional ban on abortions nationwide, even for rape victims." She said Romney's campaign was "in charge" of the writing of the platform.
In arguing for Obama's reelection, Fluke cited the president's response to the Aikin remarks: "Obama spoke out and said 'we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.
"Every single woman and every man who cares about a woman in his life knows exactly what's at stake in this election," said Fluke. "The Republicans are frighteningly clear on these issues."
Included in the GOP platform adopted yesterday was a "salute" to states that have adopted "informed consent" laws such as those that force women seeking an abortion to first undergo an invasive and medically unnecessary ultrasound.
In 2011 Paul Ryan co-sponsored with Aikin legislation to narrow the definition of rape, limiting which victims of rape were "legitimate" enough to receive financial access to abortion care.
Romney has said he would "get rid of" Planned Parenthood if he had the chance and both he and Ryan have pledged to kill health care reform. Repeal of Obamacare would allow insurance companies to go back to discriminating against women by charging them more for the same health care men get for less.
Photo: AP Photo