By Michael A. Memoli
5:09 p.m. CDT, April 27, 2012
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Friday castigated the Republican Party for what he said were dated views onwomen’s healthissues, saying the recent debate over contraceptives was “like being in a time machine.”
Speaking at a women’s conference organized by his campaign, Obama called the issue “illuminating.”
“Republicans in Congress were going so far as to say an employer should be able to have a say in the healthcare decisions of its female employees,” Obama said. “I’m always puzzled by this — this is a party that says it prides itself on being rabidly anti-regulation. These are folks who claim to believe in freedom from government interference and meddling. But it doesn’t seem to bother them when it comes to a woman’s health.”
Obama also pointed to the efforts in state legislatures to place new restrictions on abortion, singling out Virginia’s attempt, ultimately unsuccessful, to require an invasive ultrasound before a woman could have the procedure. He paraphrased the Republican governor of Pennsylvania, who said a woman who didn’t like the procedure could “close your eyes.”
“It’s appalling. It’s offensive. It’s out of touch,” he said. “Women across America aren’t closing their eyes. As long as I’m president, I won’t either. The days of male politicians controlling the healthcare decisions of our wives and our mothers and our daughters and our sisters — that needs to come to an end.”
Polling has shown a significant gender gap in the presidential race, with Obama opening a healthy lead among women while Mitt Romney is favored by male voters.