Politics

Women’s support for Santorum surging

President Obama, you do not speak for women. Stop claiming — you and other Democrats — that when you try to ram abortion-inducing drugs and contraception mandates down the throats of religious charities, schools and health care institutions, you are speaking for women.

That’s the message of a new letter signed by hundreds of women at womenspeakforthemselves.com. It was organized by George Mason Law professor Helen Alvare and lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Kim Daniels.

“This was the ultimate kitchen table project,” Alvare told me. “We passed it to a few dozen friends each.”

For Alvare, the response has been a revelation. “I’m getting now thousands of letters from women in all walks of life: organic farmers, emergency room doctors, a dancer from Stuttgart,” she told me. “It’s put a lie to the idea that there’s not a type of woman who is offended when the government takes away religious liberty.”

Alvare was watching local news coverage of the House Oversight Committee hearing last week. The Democrats hoped to get around the religious liberty issue by making it a question of “women’s health.”

“Where are the women?” Rep. Carolyn Malone asked.

That meme was pushed out by Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and retailed to others in an all-too-willing mainstream media.

Never mind that at least two women testified on the panel. Or that Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, a congresswoman from New York’s 25th district, was there and speaking up for women.

Alvare was pushed by this meme, but not in the way the Democrats hoped. Other women are responding to her call to speak for themselves:

Dr. Helen Golden-Tevald is a family physician who runs a fertility care clinic. She told me her biggest concern is that the mandate will end up reducing the number of physicians of integrity and the number of health care institutions available to serve the public.

“If the government says, ‘Do this or else,’ a lot of good physicians and health care institutions are going to be pushed out of practicing medicine,” she predicted.

Dr. Golden-Tevald owns her own medical practice, and like a lot of small business owners, she is not sure yet whether or how the mandates will ultimately affect her ability to continue to serve the public since the regulations aren’t finished yet.

How many small health care businesses will needlessly be pushed out of the public square by Obama’s power grab?

Professor Claire Komives is another amazing woman speaking up — a chemical engineer who teaches at San Jose State University. Her green research includes looking at ways to nudge bacteria to eat gasses implicated in global warming and turn them into harmless proteins.

“It really makes me mad to see Nancy Pelosi up there claiming to speak for me and all women,” she told me. “This is an issue about freedom. Our freedom is being imposed on. It crosses a line.”

Three thousand miles away in Virginia, Ramona Carter, a 46-year-old graphic designer, is also fighting mad and ready to speak for herself:

“This mandate is a complete overreach by the government,” she said. “They have no right to coerce us (Catholics). Nancy Pelosi can’t speak for all women.”

This letter from women is nonpartisan, and I didn’t ask any of these women who they support for president.

But it’s probably women like these who are behind a huge underreported surge in Rick Santorum’s support among women. A Gallup tracking poll is showing Santorum’s support among women has increased by 12 points, catapulting him into a 10-point lead over Gov. Mitt Romney among Republican women voters.

President Obama, you don’t speak for all women. Democrats who claim they do are insulting women’s freedom and intelligence. And some of these women are fired up and fighting back.

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