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Democratic women fire back at Republicans over reproductive issues

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CNN's  Donna Brazile and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz spoke at a women's caucus event at the Democratic National Convention. (Source: Cecelia Hanley/RNN) CNN's Donna Brazile and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz spoke at a women's caucus event at the Democratic National Convention. (Source: Cecelia Hanley/RNN)
Cecile Richards, right, president of Planned Parenthood, also spoke at the caucus. (Source: Cecelia Hanley/RNN) Cecile Richards, right, president of Planned Parenthood, also spoke at the caucus. (Source: Cecelia Hanley/RNN)
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CHARLOTTE, NC (RNN) - Whether or not there is an actual "war on women," there is a battle raging over their vote.

Women at the Democratic National Convention are hitting back against the Republicans and their discussion of the economy and women's issues, particularly women's reproductive rights.

"The Republicans think the solution to unemployment is hidden in our uterus," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, during a women's caucus meeting at the DNC on Tuesday.

The crowd often booed when a speaker mentioned that the Republicans approved a platform where abortion would be illegal in cases of rape and incest.

Speakers at the women's caucus, such as CNN's Donna Brazile and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, preached to a cheering crowd, saying women should have control over their own health and not politicians, and they sang the praises of the Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare.

"For the first time ever, being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition," Richards said.

Under Obamacare, women will not have to pay higher insurance premiums, and will not pay for birth control – a point that many of the speakers lauded because Viagra was often covered under private health insurance programs.

Timi Burke, of Santa Monica, CA, got involved in women's issues "because of candidate Barack Obama" back in 2008. She believes that women's issues are often brought up as a distraction from bigger issues, such as climate change.

Burke often speaks at college Democrats in California, trying to get across to both men and women students that women's reproductive rights are also an issue for men.

"If you're a guy, do you want to be a 35 with four kids hanging behind you with women you never married? Who wants that on their head?" Burke said.

Several hundred people attended the caucus, and about a fourth of them were men.

Former Michigan state delegate, Francis "Bus" Spaniola, is not surprised that women's health reproductive rights are being discussed again.

"No matter what year it is, it's always been a fight and a battle," Spaniola said. "Both sides will never be able to convince the other to move to the center."

His grandson, Jordan Leitson, of Cleveland, OH, who is not a delegate but is along for the experience, said he sees how the Republicans are framing the argument, and agrees women's reproductive rights are about families, but that women are a part of those families and should be focused on how their health affects everyone.

Many of the women seemed annoyed that the issues of women's health and reproductive rights are back on the table because of legislation years and decades ago. Many were overheard saying in disbelief that they can't believe this is a fight again in their lifetime.

The speakers left Emma Brinkley, of Daytona Beach, FL, inspired.

"We have to keep this energy going, we have just 63 days left, and we need this energy to get people to register to vote," she said.

A handful of pro-life protestors were gathered outside the convention center, and although the interactions were tensely civil between them and DNC attendees, occasionally the crowd shouted down the bullhorn chants with "Four more years."

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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