From the signing of our Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 until 1920, American women had no voice in our nation.  As we approach the centennial of universal sufferage, we must recognize that there is still work to be done. American women make up slightly more than half of our population.  While most issues affect woman the same that they do men, there are areas of special concern that I will be focusing on.

Contraception

The burden of family planning has fallen largely on women.  Contraceptive choices are something best left to woman and their medical providers. I understand the financial burdens that women face every day. The ACA gives women access to contraceptive services without an additional co-pay. However, the Trump Administration has issued rules that widen the range of employers and insurers that can invoke religious or moral beliefs to avoid the ACA requirement that birth control pills and other contraceptives be covered by insurance as part of preventive care. When I’m in Congress, I will fight to restore the law to its plain meaning.

Women’s Health

The ACA removed the pre-existing condition exclusion for many conditions women face.  Some insurers used to treat a Cesarean section as prior condition and would not cover the subsequent need for that procedure, even in the case of an emergency.  The ACA also removed the “women’s tax” on health care premiums, charging women a higher premium just for being a woman.  I will fight any attempt to return us to those days.

We need to keep in place the requirement that women can get treatment by an OB/GYN without the need for a referral or prior approval, regardless of the type of insurance a woman has.

Choice

I am committed to preserving a woman’s right to choose and maintaining safe access to reproductive health services. Sensitive decisions should be left up to the judgment of a woman and her doctor.

I also supported legislation that would expand access to preventive health care services to help reduce unintended pregnancies, which would have the effect of reducing the need for abortions, as part of a comprehensive plan to improve access to women’s health care.  I oppose the assault on women’s health care, including efforts to slash federal funding to health clinics where millions of women get access to critical health care services. Cutting funding to these vital programs only serve to imperil women’s health.

Equality and Opportunity

We need to close the wage gap between men and women in this country.  Women still only earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.  We need to strongly implement Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – the law makes it easier to sue over gender discrimination in the workplace.  I will also fight for the enactment of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide a much-needed update to the Equal Pay Act by providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work.

I also support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, such as permission to use a stool while working a cash register, or carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated, or temporary reassignment to lighter duty tasks. It will also prevent employers from forcing women out on leave. These protections would allow pregnant women to keep working and supporting their families while maintaining healthy pregnancies.

Women in the Military

More and more women are serving with distinction and honor throughout our military. I fully support integrating women into combat roles. Women have proven time again throughout our history, that when given the opportunity, they can and will succeed. The U.S. military has successfully used the talents and skills of women in every recent war our nation has fought — from Women Air Service pilots in WWII to participation in combat teams in Afghanistan. Women can both lead and succeed.

Now, the U.S. military has opened all jobs to women, there are no longer limits to the contribution a person makes to national security. I will fight any attempt to limit the role of women in our armed forces.