A Women’s Health Top 10 for Obama’s First 100 Days

Cecile Richards and Timothy E. Wirth

Not long ago we were chronicling the first dismal 100 days of the Bush administration. There is no way to overstate the radical new direction the Obama administration has taken.

It seems like not that long ago we were
chronicling the dismal first 100 days of the Bush administration,
predicting an unpleasant future for women’s health and rights …
little did we know just how bad it could get.

So imagine the champagne corks popping
today, as we mark the first 100 days with President Obama — there is
no way to overstate the revolutionary change that is taking place.
Regardless of your passion — the environment, civil rights, living
wage, or, like those of us at Planned Parenthood, the health and well
being of women and young people — this administration is a tonic for
whatever ails you.

As progressives, we can nearly always
find something to complain about, but now more than ever, it’s time to
celebrate this new direction and saddle up for the work ahead. For
we’ve also seen in these first three months that there are plenty of
agin’ers (in Texas, these are folks who are against everything) who
aren’t embracing the change this country so desperately needs and
wants. But before we get back to work, let’s just take a quick look at
the Top Ten great things President Obama has done for American women
and families, Planned Parenthood-style!

Planned Parenthood’s Top Ten List for the First 100 Days:

10. Repealed the global gag rule: With
the stroke of a pen, President Obama overturned the global gag rule and
once again allowed millions of women around the world to access
critical reproductive health care services.

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9. Moved to overturn the HHS midnight regulation: The
administration took immediate action to rescind this rule, which
jeopardizes women’s health by denying them access to complete and
accurate health care and information.

8. Supporting teens’ health over ideology:
The president, in his budget, called for evidence-based, medically
accurate sex education, in contrast to the failed abstinence-only
policies .

7. Expanding access to family planning: In
the president’s budget, he included a commonsense Medicaid waiver to
expand family planning under Medicaid, increasing acces for more women
in need.

6. Restored affordable birth control: The
president signed legislation to restore access to affordable birth
control for millions of college students and low-income women,
especially important in these tough economic times.

5. Formed the White House Council on Women and Girls:
President Obama established this council to focus on a wide range of
issues facing American women and their families, including the high
rate of unintended pregnancies and the alarming number of sexually
transmitted infections.

4. Nominated strong women’s champions to key cabinet posts: The president nominated Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton,
who understands that improving the status of women is not simply a
moral imperative; it is necessary to building democracies around the
globe. He also nominated HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a longtime champion of women’s health and a strong advocate for health care reform.

3. Expanding access to Plan B:
Under the Obama administration, the FDA now supports over-the-counter
sales of Plan B (emergency contraception) to women 17 years and older.

2. Focusing on AIDS outreach: President
Obama has made a strong commitment to developing a comprehensive
national HIV/AIDS strategy to reduce the number of HIV infections,
increase access to care, and reduce HIV-related health disparities to
address the growing HIV/AIDS crisis among women and girls in the United

1. Committed to health care reform:
President Obama has laid down the law that we’ll have health care
reform this year — making access to quality, affordable health care
one of his key priorities. Hallelujah — not a moment too soon!

So — we are off to an incredible
start. Though as everyone involved in improving the long-term health of
our nation knows, it’s not just about the last 100 days — it’s about
the 100 after that, and the 100 after that. It’s about making the
health of women and young people a priority every day, and in every
policy decision. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, and we
can’t let the president down. At Planned Parenthood, we are suited up
and on the field, ready to play — it’s going to be a great season. An
A for the first 100 days.

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