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As an 18-Year-Old Reproductive Rights Activist, Hillary Is the Clear Choice

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 22/02/2016 Cassie Charles

I'm a millennial woman who supports Hillary Clinton for president. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Protecting and expanding reproductive health care are non-negotiable for me -- as they should be for you, too.
After all, if we can't control our bodies and health, we can't control our lives or our futures. No other presidential contender -- in this race or in our nation's history -- has shown such a strong commitment to women's health and rights as Hillary Clinton has.
The entire Republican field would make America a nightmare for women. Every single Republican candidate is pushing dangerous policies that would block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood, which includes sex education, birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, wellness tests, and diagnosis and treatment of STDs.
They also all threaten to ban safe, legal abortion and also roll back insurance coverage of birth control, which has saved women an estimated $1.4 billion a year. With so much at stake, I feel the need to speak up and make sure my voice is heard.
Many of my peers are excited about Bernie Sanders, and I agree that it's important to have a president committed to overturning the unequal division of wealth in this country. Where we disagree is that I believe Hillary Clinton offers the same thing with a greater commitment to empowering girls, women, and families on every level -- not only economically but also in health care here and across the globe.
As a teenager growing up in Las Vegas, a city where sex is part of the culture, I became aware how crucial sexual and reproductive health care rights are. Ironically, the sex education provided by my public school in Las Vegas was terribly inadequate. The program was abstinence only, and we were taught nothing about sexuality at all. In fact, when the health teacher reviewed different physiological systems, he skipped the reproductive system.
No wonder my friends were desperate for information about birth control. Since I had enrolled in a comprehensive sex education program at my church, I became their source of information. I didn't mind answering their questions, but what would they have done if I hadn't been so lucky to get the high-quality sex ed that all teenagers should have access to? Young people need comprehensive information so that we can protect ourselves and our partners.
I support Hillary Clinton because she shares my values. She is passionate about protecting Planned Parenthood and health care in general -- including sex education and access to birth control for young people. And she time and time again has stood with Planned Parenthood. Millennials, perhaps more than anyone else, should recognize how much we need those health center doors to stay open.
I was fortunate to attend a Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsement event in New Hampshire last month where Hillary Clinton spoke. She was electrifying. Right then and there, I realized that she is the right person for me and my peers so that we can build healthy futures. She talked about her record supporting the LGBT community. She talked about her tireless fight to close the pay gap -- something she introduced legislation about three times as a senator. And she talked about how, as president, she would do everything in her power to protect and advance reproductive health and rights.
And she has the record to back it up. In the Senate, she worked to expand access to family planning and comprehensive sex education, to beat back attacks on safe and legal abortion, and to ensure low-income women and those serving in the military had access to birth control. Clinton also waged a multiyear effort with Senator Patty Murray to get the FDA to make emergency contraception available over the counter.
Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders would fight hard for economic fairness. But only Hillary Clinton has been addressing the attacks on women's rights and health since day one -- and has been making real change around my health and rights for decades.
If a Republican moves into the White House next January, I will lose many of the basic rights that I've grown up with and that my mother, grandmother and their peers fought for: access to birth control and sex education; safe, legal abortion; and affordable preventive, basic health care. As an 18-year-old with my adult life ahead of me, I see only one presidential candidate who will be there for me and my peers -- Hillary Clinton.

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