Obama, Romney and “binders of women.”

Gov. Mitt Romney’s “binders of women,” phrase mentioned during the second Presidential debates was used by his critics  to point out that he was out-of-touch with women’s rights. But at a rally I covered in August, I was surprised to learn that President Obama wasn’t exactly Mr. Popular either. There was a lot of anger with his administration.   The top photo was taken by me (with a Motorola Razr phone, circa 2006)  and the bottom one by Gene Blevens. From my story (Daily News, Aug. 2012): 

Angry with what they see as a renewed assault on reproductive rights waged against them, hundreds of women and their male supporters held a rally and march in Hollywood on Sunday to warn Republican and Democratic politicians alike that a new movement for equal rights has begun.

Hollywood Boulevard was shut down for blocks between Highland Avenue to Vine Street as women of all ages held protest signs and came together to demand equal pay, reproductive rights, and justice against perpetrators of violence.

“Women’s rights are under attack! What do we do? Stand up! Fight back!” the women shouted together.

The event was coordinated by Women Organized to Resist and Defend or WORD, a new nationwide, grassroots organization.

Similar rallies and marches were held in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and other cities on Sunday — exactly 92 years after the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The event also was held deliberately before both the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

“Women are fed up with vile attacks of the right wing and politicians who play political football with our rights,” Danielle Norwood, a member of WORD and organizer, told the crowd. “We are taking to the streets as our foremothers did before us, to fight for equality and the fundamental control of our bodies and our lives.”

Norwood and others said a rally to support women’s rights has been long overdue.

“We’re saying it’s time to be out here, because our rights have been used as bargaining chips,” she said.

The proof, she said, is in how the Democrats handled Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s comments when he said recently that when a woman is a victim of “legitimate rape,” her body has means of preventing pregnancy. Instead of calling for him to step down, Democrats encouraged Akins to stay in the race, so it would hurt GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s chances during the election.

If President Barack Obama believes he has the women’s vote, the gay vote, or even support among Latinos after he changed immigration policy to allow young undocumented people to apply to stay in the country legally, he is mistaken, many at the rally said.

Many said Obama has pandered to those communities simply for votes. They said he has compromised with the anti-abortion side and that under the president, funding for women’s reproductive health services have been slashed at the state level. Legal restrictions on abortions tripled from 2010 to 2011.

“We need to keep fighting. It’s our responsibility,” said Jaqueline Villagomez, 53, of Studio City. “It doesn’t matter who is president. The president won’t fight for us. We need to fight for ourselves. They need to hear women’s voices in the streets.”


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