Leading women members of Congress spoke about the politics of women’s health yesterday at an event on Capitol Hill organized by the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms Magazine. Representatives Hilda Solis (D-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) addressed a full room during the program, titled From Campus to Congress: the Politics of Women’s Health. The event also featured Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) President Eleanor Smeal, FMF Campus Organizer Janel Quarless-Cole, Advocates for Youth Director of Domestic Policy Sonya Clay, National Research Center for Women and Families Director of Policy Research Dr. Janet Phoenix, and Center for Health and Gender Equity Senior Associate for Policy and Research Healy Thompson.
The members of Congress reminded attendees that women’s access to legal abortion and birth control must not be taken for granted, and that the threat to women’s health remains imminent and real. Rep. Maloney expressed the need for young women to rally around the Women’s Equality Amendment, formerly known as the Equal Rights Amendment, and encouraged young women to urge their members of Congress to support the amendment. Rep. Solis discussed the rising rate of teen pregnancy among Latina and African American teens, and how public policy, like the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act that she sponsored, could halt the dangerous trend.
Sonya Clay discussed the importance of comprehensive sex education, while Cari Simon, a staff member from Rep. Louise Slaughter’s (D-NY) office, urged young women to support the Prevention First Act, which will “expand access to preventive health care services that help reduce unintended pregnancy, reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women’s health care.”