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First lady: Women will fight 'tooth and nail' to preserve rights

Christopher Dilts / Obama for America

At a roundtable on Tuesday, Michelle Obama said women will fight “tooth and nail’’ to preserve their rights, no matter the election's outcome.

The first lady answered questions in a small discussion before speaking at a rally in Loudon County, Va., an area where many front lawns are littered with Romney campaign signs. In an election where headlines are dominated by a perceived Republican-waged "war on women" on issues from abortion to contraception to equal pay, Obama said she does not worry that women’s rights could be eroded with a Republican victory in November.

“I don't let myself go to that place, because the truth of this country is...that in this country, we've always moved forward,’’ Obama told reporters. “We struggle. We're not completely there with everything; we still have work to do. But it is the rare instance where we take a deep dive backwards, where rights and freedoms are allowed to be yanked away. I just don't believe that women will not fight tooth and nail to make sure that we continue to progress. 

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“I don't believe for one second that we're going to go backwards. So that doesn't keep me up at night."

Whether President Obama is re-elected or not, the first lady intends to keep fighting for women’s rights.

“I'm not going to let it happen, whether I'm here or not,’’ she said. “I just think that sometimes we take it for granted that this stuff is settled. But we forget how long of a fight it was for women to get the right to vote, and we're still dealing with equal pay. We're still underpaid individuals in this society. We're still discriminated when it comes to health care, being charged more for the same treatments and similar diseases. So it's still there."

Part of her Tuesday agenda was to stress the importance of voting, as she urged potential voters in Virginia to register before the state’s Monday deadline. She believes that goes hand in hand with women having their voices heard.

“The reality is that nothing is guaranteed,’’ she said. “We can't take anything for granted. And I think it's important for our daughters and granddaughters to understand that you’re always fighting.’’

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