This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to our Constitution which gave many women the right to vote. We have come far, and I entered Congress with the largest class of women in the House of Representatives’ history, but we have so much more to do. I have fought hard for equal pay for equal work and equal treatment in the workplace. I want to ensure that my two daughters have the same opportunities and the same rights as my two sons. But early studies show that coronavirus is making it even more difficult for women to achieve equality as they navigate homeschooling, trying to work from home, or losing jobs as they are caring for their families.
Even before the crisis, women in New Jersey made on average 82 cents for every dollar that men made for doing the same job. That drops to 58 cents for African-American women and 43 cents for Latinx women. Equal pay is an issue of economic fairness for all our families. That’s why I fought hard for the passage of the bipartisan Paycheck Fairness Act in the House, which strengthens and closes loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act and have worked hard to support legislation and guidance to protect childcare facilities and schools.
I am pro-choice and support women’s access to healthcare. A woman’s health decisions should be between her and her doctor. The federal government should have no say on when, how, or with whom women decide to start or grow a family.
In New Jersey, we unfortunately experienced first-hand the devastating impact of Governor Christie’s cuts to women’s health care after defunding Planned Parenthood in New Jersey. From 2009 to 2012 there was a 31 percent drop in clinical breast exams provided at Title X health centers. By 2015, rates of sexually transmitted infections increased 35 percent. We can’t allow out of touch politicians to follow that same playbook and put women’s healthcare in jeopardy.
In Congress, I have been a forceful voice against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, restrict access to birth control, and efforts to limit safe family planning services. I have worked to protect Title X funding so women in New Jersey have access to healthcare.