As a husband, father of a daughter, and longtime supporter of women's rights, the issues that impact women have always been extremely important to me. Whether it is women's health, equality in the workplace, or protecting a woman's right to choose, as a U.S. Senator, I will be a fierce advocate for women.
Supporting Choice and Reproductive Rights.
I will fight to protect a woman's right to choose and ensure that abortion remains safe, legal and rare. My understanding of the importance of this right was reinforced by my experience as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. As Connecticut's Attorney General, I have strongly and consistently opposed measures infringing upon women's reproductive rights.
* Preventing Violence Outside Reproductive Health Facilities. I brought the first lawsuit to enforce the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which makes it a crime for demonstrators to use force or block access to reproductive health facilities. I obtained a permanent injunction against protestors who refused to comply with a court order to keep away from clinic entrances in Connecticut.
* Ensuring that All Legal Forms of Contraception Remain Available. I filed suit to halt enforcement of the so-called Provider Conscience Rule, which would have allowed any health service worker or organization to refuse to provide services it opposed. When Walmart announced that it would ban "Plan B" emergency contraceptives in its stores, I worked to ensure that no Connecticut retailer could refuse to stock emergency contraception.
Improving Women's Health Care.
I believe that public officials can help advance women's health care and ensure that the particular medical issues that affect women receive the attention they require. I called on the Connecticut General Assembly to enact legislation prohibiting insurance companies from charging women more for health insurance based on their gender, and I proudly support the provision of the health reform legislation that declares this practice to be illegal. I support increasing funding to research the cancers that affect women and efforts to increase research and awareness of women's heart health.
Ensuring Equality in the Workplace.
Although the treatment of women in the workplace has improved significantly, I believe there are still far too many cases of discrimination, sexual harassment, and pay inequity. In Connecticut, women earn only 76 cents on average for every dollar earned by a man. I supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which improved the ability of victims of pay discrimination to challenge that discrimination in court. As a U.S. Senator, I will work to permanently close the wage gap, expand career opportunities for women, and prevent sexual harassment.
Standing Up Against Domestic Violence.
Domestic violence threatens families and children alike. It can never be tolerated. Strong support networks are needed to prevent it. Toward that end, I've served as the chair of the "Men Make a Difference" campaign and "Men Against Domestic Violence" for Interval House, a nonprofit organization and shelter in Hartford providing support for women and children who are victims of such violence.
In the Senate, I will be a tireless advocate for expanding and fully funding The Violence Against Women Act to ensure that law enforcement has the tools it needs to keep families safe. The Violence Against Women Act ("VAWA") will be re-authorized next year. It is a landmark statute aimed at combating domestic violence, as well as sexual assault and stalking. It provides billions to support investigations and prosecutions of vicious acts, as well as additional protections and remedies for assaulted women.