Mitchell Reports | May 16, 2012
>> from the controversy over contraception to the cover of "time" magazine, women are at the center of the political controversy today. the archbishop of washington , d.c. to prevent georgetown university from having hhs secretary kathleen sebelius as the school's commencement speaker because of her role in implementing the president's health komplg for contraception. joining me is gail lemon. first of all, this whole controversy over a au commencement speaker . the president of georgetown is standing birm. he also issued a very strong support of sandra fluke when that controversy emerged that kathleen sebelius should be the commencement speaker . again, engaging on this whole question of contraception and what will women should have access to.
>> right, and this whole question about the war on women and women at the center of the campaign is not going away. you know, it depends on which way you frame it. some people are framing it as reproductive freedom and some as religious freedom . the white house wants women 's votes. the obama campaign is focused on women . we saw the barnard speech monday, "the view" on monday, the life of julia be the week before. i think this whole discussion cuts both ways because in some ways are you going to a yinnate people who would be your natural allies but women stay at the center of the discussion.
>> women stay at the center of the discussion here at home, this whole contraceptive debate, 30 or more states now rolling back contraceptive rights. at the same time, you have focused so intensely, you lived in afghanistan and worked and written about the women of afghanistan and are preparing to go to the nato summit meeting. we're clearly going to see an accelerated withdrawal timetable for combat forces from afghanistan . what are we going to leave behind in terms of the women and their rights and opportunities?
>> you know, i think it is such an open question right now. women have really been talking about this among themselves. and women leaders have been speaking up. but they still get shutout of so many conversations. so it's going to be up to the international community i think to help amplify their voices. i did a piece recently for foreign affairs about how we've all been talking about the importance of human rights . whether we back that up with financial support for people fighting for them and education support, i think remains very much an open question .
>> and i wanted to ask you about the piece you wrote i guess linked of pegged to mother's day about single moms and your own mom which was so affecting. i didn't know the history of your mother and all of her struggles. and your close connection.
>> i mean, i think what moved me to write the piece which was called "in praise of single mothers " was so many people have talked about single moms this campaign season but season but people write about single parenting , single moms with the familiarity they use as mars. they have absolutely no concept of what women 's lives look like, and so many timesvil v implt llify things they don't know and they are teaching hard values and responsibility and sacrifice and that you should embrace things that are hard and not just go for the easy path and that's what i learned from all the single moms i grew up with not a one of them that graduated from college and were all on the economic edge all the time.
>> how did your mother give you the tools to do everything you have done, harvard, business, foreign policy . she launched you into the world with so much.
>> it is so funny. people ask me where do you get the work ethic. the funny thing is our upbringing looked more like 9 to 5 through the ice storm so we grew up women that were hustling and working two jobs and and sometimes three to make sure they fed their kids and got their homework done and the school registration done and always well fed and at least decently clothed, you know, and all of this stuff was because we saw women who never gave up. so that, when i read about people calling women who are single moms, you know, as part of the destruction of the fabric of society i want to say there is a whole other way to look at family values which is that these are the women that are teaching all the things that really matter in a generation that wants everything easy and quick.
>> it is such a pleasure to see you.
>> great to see you.
>> you're a role model. thank