Around noon today, I joined five other leading conservative women to speak at the Heritage Foundation and Family Research Council's Values Bus Tour Press Conference to debunk the myth of the so-called "war on women." The purpose of the Values Bus Tour is to advance the cause of fiscal and moral responsibility and that is exactly what we did today. A lunchtime crowd gathered on the sidewalk across from our downtown Richmond offices to hear our message. Becky Norton Dunlop, vice president of the Heritage Foundation, emceed the event and turned the mic over to Kay Coles James (former Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources under Governor George Allen). She spoke to the importance and urgency of change. "I care deeply about the future of this country and what I leave for my grandchildren . . . it must be fought for and protected," she said.
Colleen Holmes, executive director of the Eagle Forum, followed, presenting a compelling case as to why liberals should care about the real "war on women." She said, “If liberals want to talk about a war on women, they should focus on sex-selective abortion going on globally." Unbelievably — or maybe it is, sadly, believable — a good number of the pro-abortion protestors snickered and laughed at this. This is a "war on women" that everyone should be able to unite behind to abolish.
The next speaker was Cathy Ruse, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. Cathy went into great deal about the prevalence of birth control in America (citing global statistics), the low cost of birth control in America (citing $9.00 prescriptions at Target and Walmart), and the accessibility of birth control in America. She then questioned the crowd, that if birth control in America is so prevalent, so cheap, and so accessible, where is the war on contraception? Where is the war on women? She said, "I refuse to play victim in a phony war on women!” Patricia Phillips, from Concerned Women for America, followed with a call to all women to mobilize in the upcoming election.
I spoke next and addressed the effect that abortion has on women:
The message we are hearing out of many of our politicians and too many in the media about women's issues today seems to indicate that women are defined simply by their right to abortion. As a woman, a woman who runs a robust non-profit while raising a family, I'm offended that politicians would reduce women by grouping them in such a monolithic way. We are complex and multi-faceted. But that's long been the mantra of the feminist movement — we are defined, not by our abilities to run businesses and organizations and schools, or hold public office, or the most important of all, raise our families — we are defined only by the ability to take the life of our unborn child. The truth is that abortion hurts women.
The added element of today’s press conference that distinguished it from most we've been part of was the presence of pro-abortion protestors that gathered to jeer the speakers and hold signs. The protestors shouted continuously and raucously throughout the speeches and held signs saying a variety of things such as "the Family Foundation of Virginia doesn’t value all women and families," "Jesus was a liberal, liberals have family values too," and "I’m an abortion provider, ask me about the war on women." The protesters were disrespectful to the end, but our message was loud and clear to the dozens gathered in support — the so-called war on women is a myth!
We'll have more coverage tomorrow.