One of my top priorities in Congress is to make sure we change our laws to advance justice and equity for women. I have worked consistently to improve the health, safety, and economic empowerment of women and their families.
The health and safety of women and girls will always be a priority for me. That is why one of the legislative achievements of which I am proudest is the Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young (EARLY) Act.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 41, I wanted to ensure that all young women would have the knowledge, resources and support necessary to make informed decisions about their own breast health. Under the EARLY Act, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is implementing a national education campaign about the threat that breast cancer poses to young women of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The EARLY Act was enacted into law in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act and recently reauthorized in 2014.
The EARLY Act was just one of many Affordable Care Act provisions which promote the health of women and their families. The ACA makes it possible for women to get preventive care services such as mammograms, new baby care and well-child visits, with no out-of-pocket costs. It also protects women against being charged a higher premium just for being a woman.
When it comes to weighing personal medical decisions, I trust women to make their own decisions about what is best for their bodies and their families. To that end, I will continue to be a staunch advocate for a woman’s right to access all legal, safe resources for planning her family.
The Supreme Court has upheld legal assertions that decisions regarding a woman’s body should be kept between her and her doctor. I will always defend this right, including access to abortion services, for women here at home and around the world as a principle tenet of women’s comprehensive health.
Violence Against Women
Additionally, we cannot truly promote the health of women without working to prevent and end violence against women and girls. Domestic violence, rape, trafficking, and assault of women are not private issues to be kept in the shadows – they are unacceptable violations of basic human rights. In addition to always supporting a fully-funded, inclusive Violence Against Women Act, I am proud that two of my bills challenging violence against women – the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act and the Trafficking Awareness Training for Healthcare Act of 2015 – have been signed into law. The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act encourages states to allow a woman to terminate the parental rights of a rapist, and the Trafficking Awareness Training for Healthcare Act develops best practices for health care professionals to identify and respond to victims of human trafficking.
I will always fight for policies that allow women and their families to remain healthy and free from violence.
Women’s Economic Agenda
We must commit to creating workplaces that are fair, inclusive, and family-friendly.
I am proud to cosponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help ensure all employees receive equal pay for equal work, and to support the creation of a national paid leave program to guarantee paid leave. I also support legislation to address sexual harassment in the workplace, because all women should feel safe at their place of employment.
As a working mother, I am proud to fight for these policies. There is no excuse for our persistent gender pay gap, or for parents to have to choose between caring for their children or being able to put food on the table.
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