It’s been another busy week of events, fundraisers, and talking to voters.
We are reaching the end of March, and Women’s History Month. Unfortunately, it’s ironic that recognizing women and some of the latest news are in major disconnect mode.
Women In Government just put out a “Pulse Poll,” drilling down on Sexual Harassment in State Legislatures. Based on responses from 23 states, the stats show that “54 percent have rules or procedures for legislators and/or staff established by the legislature. 25 percent have state administrative rules/legislation by the executive branch; 21 percent have state law passed by the Legislature.”
Meanwhile, here in District 34, critical budget negotiations began -- and it included a conversation on creating new sexual harassment policies.
But guess what?
There was not one woman at the table to give her insights on what was needed. So much for stakeholders being represented.
On the bright side, an online petition demanding that State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins be included in the talks went viral and got plenty of traction.
Although my concerns are hyperlocal, I am constantly monitoring the national news. During the past week, women’s reproductive rights had several challenges.
The United States Supreme Court listened to arguments in the NIFLA v. Becerra case, which deals with the Reproductive FACT Act. In a nutshell, it’s about “crisis pregnancy centers” which exist primarily to disseminate disinformation about abortion care. This frequently results in delaying access to legitimate health services.
In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant signed HB1510, making it a law that bans abortions for women after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except in the case of severe fetal abnormality or a medical emergency.
I want New York state to be at the forefront of protecting women’s health and medical choices. I also want to see every day of every month stand for women’s history, achievements, and concerns. That’s a key part of the agenda for my campaign and my district.
For the record, I strongly support pushing New York to adopt a state ERA (Equal Rights Amendment). This would provide a way to prevent the unequal treatment of women in New York that was grounded in the law of the state constitution. Currently, it’s still in committee.
On a personal note, when sixteen term New York Rep. Louise M. Slaughter died on March 16, it gave me pause to consider how much she had accomplished. She served in the New York State Assembly from 1983 to 1986. She was one of the Congresswomen who urged her Senate colleagues to allow Anita Hill to testify about her inappropriate work experiences at the hands of Clarence Thomas. She fought for unions, victims of domestic violence, and to pass the Affordable Care Act.
Slaughter showed how women can be leaders and actively engaged in determining the course of civic life. She spoke truth to power.
What an inspiration.