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Capps, Fluke Speak in Santa Barbara on Women’s Health Issues

Activist Sandra Fluke also extends her support for the congresswoman's re-election bid in the Nov. 6 race

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, spoke in Santa Barbara on Monday, touting her record on women’s health issues, and stood alongside activist Sandra Fluke, who encouraged the public to support Capps in her re-election bid for Congress on Nov. 6.

Capps, a Democrat who has served in Congress for 14 years, is facing former lieutenant governor and Republican challenger Abel Maldonado for the 24th Congressional District seat.

About 100 people gathered at Oreana Winery on Anacapa Street to support Capps, and lingered afterward to watch the presidential debate.

“We’re in the fight of our lives, and we know this,” said Nancy Miller, president of the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County, which hosted Monday’s event.

Capps took the microphone and said a vote supporting her wouldn’t just be advantageous for women, but also for families. She said she has been clearly pro-choice since she began serving in office, and put under scrutiny Maldonado’s record of women’s issues, stating that he voted against upholding Roe v. Wade while serving in California’s Assembly.

“Women are capable of making their own choices,” she said.

Responding on behalf of Maldonado, campaign spokesman Kurt Bardella sent this statement to Noozhawk on Tuesday morning: “The issue Abel is hearing the most about from women throughout the Central Coast is about jobs and the economy. Nearly 5.5 million women are currently unemployed. More than 20 percent of the nation’s teenage women are unemployed. The poverty rate among women last year was 16.3 percent — that’s the highest rate in 17 years. More than 25 million women are living in poverty — an increase of 3.6 million since 2009.

“What does Congresswoman Capps have to say about that? Instead, she’s trying to distract voters by distorting Abel’s position on an issue they actually agree on — Abel has stood on the same stage as Lois Capps in recent weeks and directly outlined his support of a women’s right to make her own health and reproductive decisions and that he would oppose efforts to weaken Roe v. Wade. The unemployment rate for women in America is up from where it was four years ago. What’s Lois Capps have to say about that?”

Standing next to Capps was Fluke, a Georgetown Law graduate who found herself in the national spotlight earlier this year when she wasn’t allowed to serve on a House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform examining conscience clauses in health care, leaving the panel full of male representatives as a result.

“That’s a travesty, but that’s an example of what’s going on in the House,” Capps said.

Fluke spoke out later, calling on Georgetown to offer free contraceptives to women, and was slammed by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as a result.

Capps said Monday that she, and the crowd gathered, stood in support of Fluke.

Fluke spoke, saying there had been bad days in the House over the last two years, including the day in February when she was turned down from the panel.

“Every day, Lois was there fighting for women,” she said, adding that Maldonado has a “very different agenda. I don’t think he’s been straight with the women of the Central Coast.”

Fluke said she pulled Maldonado’s record, and “I didn’t like what I saw,” she said, adding that he had been given failing records by Planned Parenthood and NARAL while serving in the Legislature.

Hannah-Beth Jackson, who is in the middle of her own campaign for the state Senate, was also on hand and spoke in support of Capps. Jackson recalled the days before Roe v. Wade, when women would show up at the hospital from botched abortions.

“Lois and I remember those days,” she said, and she commended Fluke for carrying on the work of a younger generation.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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