Bart Stupak has been the greatest obstacle, not only to getting this health care reform done, but to getting any meaningful health care reform accomplished in Congress. If a single-payer system or a public option suddenly materialized, you can bet that Stupak would hold out until abortion coverage was specifically banned, and we’d be thrown back into the exact same arguments that have dominated this debate. This goes against the stated platform of the Democratic Party, to “strongly and unequivocally support Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and … oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”

Connie Saltonstall, a former county commissioner in Stupak’s district, has decided to challenge Stupak for the Congressional seat based entirely on his putting the interests of the anti-choice movement above that of his district. And though she’s been derided as a fly-by-night challenger without institutional support or the ability to beat Stupak, she just got the support of the National Organization for Women.

The National Organization for Women Political Action Committee is proud to announce our endorsement of Connie Saltonstall for Congress, representing Michigan’s 1st District. Saltonstall is taking on reproductive rights foe and health care reform obstructer Rep. Bart Stupak in the state’s Democratic primary this August.

What a relief that a courageous feminist candidate stepped up to the plate to challenge the co-author of the anti-choice Stupak-Pitts Amendment. Thanks to Connie Saltonstall, Stupak’s bullying attempts to use health care reform as an opportunity to restrict women’s access to abortion will be contested at the polls. Saltonstall stated: “I believe that [Stupak] has a right to his personal, religious views, but to deprive his constituents of needed health care reform because of those views is reprehensible.”

Saltonstall is a strong supporter of the full range of feminist issues, including reproductive justice, affirmative action, pay equity, constitutional equality and equal marriage rights. More specifically, she is in favor of repealing the Hyde Amendment, fully funding the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, rescinding the Defense Of Marriage Act, expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act to add paid leave, and undoing the Bush-era damage done to Title IX.

Saltonstall looks to capitalize both on anti-Washington sentiment and on Rep. Stupak’s hijacking of the health care debate. NOW has taken notice.