I am a proud advocate for women's rights. I have helped pass legislation to ensure that women are paid the same as men for the same work and to improve economic opportunities for women. I fight against violations of women's reproductive rights and speak out against any effort to weaken protections for women from abusive partners. I supported Health Care Reform, which grants more women more access to more care, and ends premium discrimination based on gender.
Women experience some of the greatest cost and care disparities in our current health care system, and I have worked hard to establish policies reversing that trend. I support universal access to our health care system. No one should be denied the chance to see a doctor, get quality care or make informed decisions about their own well-being.
I voted for health care reform, ensuring that insurance companies cover breast and cervical cancer screenings. Because of the new reforms, no insurance company can say pregnancy is a pre-existing condition. Young women (and young men) can now stay on their parents' health care plans until age 26, extending coverage to more and more young adults. The Health Care Reform law also ends the practice of charging women more money for policies.
I have also pushed -- and will continue to push -- for more research about gender and health disparities and to establish outreach programs in underserved communities.
I am steadfast in my belief that women should hold the sole right to their reproductive choices, without interference from politicians or government. I support comprehensive family planning services and making methods of contraception more easily available.
I have been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut in the past and am seeking their endorsement for 2012.
While I support the right of a woman to make her own reproductive choices, I respect those who hold other views. This is a deeply personal issue and one that evokes strong emotion. There is more we can do to achieve goals shared on both sides of this complex issue. I will support efforts to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies, ensure that potential parents are empowered and informed so make good choices, and see to it that every child grows up in a stable, loving family.
Equal Pay and Economic Opportunity
Women still only make 77 cents to every dollar a man earns for the same job, and I am committed to reversing this injustice.
With one of the first votes I ever took, I helped pass the Lily Ledbetter Act, which helps pave the way for women in this country to earn equal pay for equal work. I also co-sponsored and voted for improvements to the Equal Pay Act. I support the increasing the penalties for wage discrimination on the basis of sex and prohibiting employers from retaliating against women who try to find out if they are, in fact, being paid less than their male counterparts.
I meet with, and helped secure funding for, the Stamford Women's Business Development Center, helping that organization get small businesses started throughout southwestern Connecticut. I also wrote and passed legislation making it easier for small firms, many of which are owned by women, to get access to the capital they need to grow and create jobs. In addition, I have helped local women-owned businesses apply for the necessary certifications to compete for and win new contracts.
Freedom from Domestic Violence
I fought against Congressional Republicans' efforts to water down the Violence Against Women Act. When this law was up for re-authorization in 2005, it passed the House by a 414-4 vote. Yet this year's Republican majority took a law that nearly everyone supports, and tried to remove protections for some women -- recent immigrants, Native Americans, and members of the LGBT community among them. All victims of domestic violence deserve the full protection of the law. Period.