President Obama and the Democratic National Committee have begun courting female voters for the upcoming presidential election. Even though many women voters defected last year after voting in record numbers for the president in 2008, DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Pembroke Pines, says the GOP’s current anti-reproductive rights stance will be a big help in recapturing those voters.

In 2008, women delivered big for the president. According to The Washington Times, they voted 56 percent to 43 percent over Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona. Women, in general, also turned out in record numbers. This bloc of voters represented a significant edge for Obama during the election.

Last year, though, women voted for Republican candidates over Democratic candidates 49 percent to 48 percent. The Times said it was “the first time in at least 30 years that Republican candidates received a majority of women’s votes.”

Wasserman Schultz told the Times that women defected for mostly economic reasons. However, she believes that recent anti-abortion rights legislation around the country and efforts to defund Planned Parenthood will be a big help in winning back this important bloc of voters.

“The voters have gotten a glimpse of what total Republican control would look like, an extreme social agenda that was nothing short of an assault on women, trying to redefine rape and deny women the opportunity to make their own reproductive choices,” Wasserman Schultz said, according to the Times. “Their record is a war on women and it’s a priority for them.”

So far this year, Florida’s GOP-led state Legislature and Republican governor passed five bills aimed at limiting abortion rights, cut family planning aid by almost $1 million, and also cut a whole host of women’s and children’s health services from the state budget. Recent polling also suggests that voters are mostly opposed to the current debate that surrounds reproductive health. Voters view the debate’s intense focus on abortion unfavorably.

In the state of Florida, the combination of austere budget cuts, a dwindling economy, and a significant focus on issues such as abortion and immigration has led to a lead in the polls for Obama’s in the state so far. Republican Gov. Rick Scott is also feeling the bite. Recent polling shows that 57 percent of the state disapproves of the governor’s performance.

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