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Issue Position: Women's Rights

Issue Position

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Preserving and Advancing Women's Rights

Michelle is more than just an ally or a reliable vote against the Republican War on Women. She brings a lifetime of experience and hands-on activism that prepared her to stand up to Republicans in Congress who are giving corporations more personal power and more personal freedoms than they're giving women. Michelle will carry the torch for the future of our daughters.

REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE

Michelle is absolutely committed to supporting a woman's right to choose and will strongly oppose any move to limit access to that right.

The right to choose has been a fundamental right enjoyed by women for more than two generations. But today that right is more tenuous than it has ever been in the last four decades because of repeated attempts by Republicans in Congress to turn back the clock on women and families. Michelle is life-long supporter of women's reproductive rights. She will stand strong against attacks on the right to choose, women's health care, and Planned Parenthood.

As Health Secretary, Michelle defied the Bush Administration's abstinence-only policy. Instead, she invested in age-appropriate, comprehensive sex education, including birth control. She expanded school based health centers statewide, which included the provision of sex education and family planning services. And she increased funding for Planned Parenthood in New Mexico.

In Congress, Michelle will oppose legislation requiring parental notification or consent prior to a young women being able to access contraceptive services or abortion. She also opposes fetal crime legislation that ascribes personhood to a fetus. She supports requiring insurance coverage for contraceptive medications and over-the-counter access to emergency contraception. And she supports stem cell research that could save lives and cure diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Most importantly, Michelle views these issues within the larger framework of reproductive justice, which is the confluence of reproductive rights, health care and social justice issues of poverty, race and ethnicity, human rights and the empowerment of all women.

HEALTH CARE

I find it shameful that Republicans are trying to deny basic preventative health services for women as political leverage. Not only will I stand to that kind of bullying, I will aggressively challenge the male-dominated Congress to follow a more progressive path that provides all women with increased access to quality affordable health care.

The Affordable Care Act is a good first step. Ultimately, we must transform the health care system in this country to provide the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

In Congress, I will lead the way for a comprehensive approach to prevention, invest in primary care, manage chronic care issues and promote quality of life until the end of life. We must face the looming long-term care crisis in this country.

ECONOMIC SECURITY

Despite incredible progress we've made during the past years on women's rights, it is shameful that wage discrimination is still prevalent in America in 2012. On average, women make 77 cents for every dollar that men make in the workplace. Hispanic women earn even less -- just 56 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make.

What are Republicans doing about this inequality? They're making it worse as they wage their War on Women and attack the economic security of working families. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who Mitt Romney calls his "hero," recently repealed an equal pay law. And House Republicans continue to fight against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will help bridge the wage gap between men and women.

With your support, I will be the first Democratic woman elected to represent New Mexico in Congress. I will fight for working families and target wage discrimination, especially for those who work in female-dominated or minority-dominated jobs.

SUPPORT FOR WORKING FAMILIES

As we create more jobs, we must invest in all of the issues that affect working families, starting with a substantial commitment to increase access to quality affordable child care. The Child Care Assistance Program is a critical program that provides low-income working families access to childcare so they can continue working.

I will continue to support school-based nutrition and school-based health centers, which have helped working families in New Mexico and ensured that children are ready to learn.

We must also explore and build on innovative programs and incentives, like the Family Medical Leave Act, that support families who need to take off the time they need to address family health issues. And today, more than ever, we need to support families as they care for newborns.

FAMILY CAREGIVER SUPPORT

Women, in particular, are more often the ones with the responsibility and burden of providing care at both ends of the spectrum -- from child care to care for aging parents. Without adequate support to address these family caregiving responsibilities, it is difficult for all the adults in the household to hold down good paying jobs, which further drives many families into poverty.

I have spent a career advocating for home and community-based long-term care programs. Now, as I care for my own mother, I recognize how critically important these programs are to families who need the help as they juggle work and the responsibility to care for aging parents.

EDUCATION, INCLUDING EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Nearly a decade after No Child Left Behind became law, the achievement gap has not improved and too many children are not prepared for the changing workforce. We need a massive overhaul of our federal education policy, and we must involve our most successful educators in the design of a new system. We need to scrap our over-reliance on high-stakes tests and focus, instead, on more teaching in the classroom and more effective testing that truly measures student strengths and weaknesses. And I oppose Republican efforts to rely on student test scores to evaluate a teacher's effectiveness in the classroom.

We have shown in New Mexico that an investment in early childhood education, in the form of full-day kindergarten, kindergarten-plus, and increased access to quality pre-school programs (both public and private) can have a significant impact on the achievement gap. If the federal government is going to hold schools accountable for meeting high standards, Congress should help states pay for proven programs, like early-childhood education, to prepare all students to succeed.

DOMESTIC ABUSE

The sad truth is that domestic violence is primarily a crime against women, and represents a pattern of dominance and control, resulting in nearly 17,000 homicides a year.

As Health Secretary, I spearheaded an agreement between several state agencies to streamline and prioritize behavioral services and care, including providers of services to victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence. And I am working as a Bernalillo County Commission to ensure that resources and educational programs are directed to reducing violence in our homes.

When I am elected to Congress, I will stand up to Republicans who are delaying the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, and trying to exclude protections for Americans who are high risk of becoming victims of domestic violence, including gay and transgender, immigrant and rural tribes throughout the country.

EQUAL RIGHTS

I strongly support legal equality and the same basic human rights for all and will fight against discrimination in any context -- housing, school, employment, finance, public accommodation -- regardless of race, creed, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

I was an early advocate for the Hate Crimes Act and spearheaded efforts to recognize same-sex partners as legally qualified to make medical and healthcare decisions for their partners. New Mexico was the first state to include the provision in state law, and served as a model for other states.

Throughout her career I have been a strong leader and advocate for elder rights, patient rights, access to comprehensive health care and other social justice issues, all of which impact women and their families.

In my work with elders and families, there has always been an emphasis on the specific impact and issues of women, since there is a higher percentage of women over age 65; women are the primary caregivers and healthcare decision-makers in families; and women are at a particular financial disadvantage in regards to benefits and consumer issues.


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