October 23, 2012 — Two advocacy groups on Monday launched a campaign to educate lawmakers about women's health and encourage them to support science-based policies, CQ HealthBeat reports.
The Educate Congress campaign, created by Our Bodies Ourselves and Every Mother Counts, is distributing copies of the sexual and reproductive health book "Our Bodies, Ourselves" to every member of Congress.
The campaign was prompted by comments by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), a Senate candidate, that women cannot become pregnant in cases of "legitimate rape" (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 10/22).
"Rep. Akin was hardly the first member of Congress who had his facts wrong; nor will he be last," according to the campaign's website. It adds, "Every year, lawmakers vote on dozens of bills that affect women's health ... (and) that have a very real effect on women and families" (Flock, "Washington Whispers," U.S. News & World Report, 10/22).
The campaign has several policy goals, including upholding the preventive care coverage requirements being implemented under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), supporting Medicaid-funded efforts to improve maternity care, boosting foreign aid to support maternal health, requiring fertility clinics to participate in a data registry on health risks, strengthening medical device regulations, eliminating abortion restrictions and avoiding legislative language that distinguishes between rape and "forcible rape" (CQ HealthBeat, 10/22).