As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney battle for the women's vote, several women's organizations are attempting to teach Congress about women's health and reproductive issues, saying politicians don't know enough.
The nonprofits Every Mother Counts, founded by supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, and the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, formed in 1970 with the publication of Our Bodies, Ourselves, held an event at the National Press Club Monday to launch their effort, dubbed "Educate Congress." Our Bodies, Ourselves is considered the seminal book on women's health and sexuality, covering subjects like sexual orientation and menopause in ways that were previously considered taboo.
The "Educate Congress" effort comes two months after Missouri Rep. Todd Akin said in an interview that in "a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." His comment was widely criticized for being at odds with the science behind pregnancy.
The initiative also comes as Democrats continue to accuse Republicans of waging a "war on women" by proposing laws restrictive of women's rights, such as state-mandated transvaginal ultrasounds.
The nonprofits say they are sending a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves, to every member of Congress to educate them about these issues. A copy was already delivered to Akin's office in Missouri back in August, as well as to the office of his opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
"Rep. Akin was hardly the first member of Congress who had his facts wrong; nor will he be the last," the Educate Congress site says. "Every year, lawmakers vote on dozens of bills that affect women's health... [and] that have a very real effect on women and families."