Women's Issues / Legislation | Democratic Women's Working Group
- Child Care Facilities Financing Act – Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
- Child Marriage Bill – Rep. McCollum
- Runaway Reporting Improvement Act – Rep. Maloney
- Equal Rights Amendment – Rep. Maloney
- Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Senate should ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) – Rep. Woolsey
- The Fair Pay Act – Rep. Norton
- The High School Athletics Accountability Act – Rep. Slaughter
- Balancing Act – Rep. Woolsey
- Family and Medical Leave Restoration Act - Rep. Shea-Porter
- FIRST Act (Family Income to Respond to Significant Transitions Act) – Rep. Woolsey
- Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act - Rep. Shea-Porter
- Medical Debt Relief Act – Rep. Kilroy
- The Support Working Parents Act - Rep. Schwartz
- Work Life Balance Award Act – Rep. Woolsey
Education and Awareness
- 21st Century STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act – Rep. Woolsey
- Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act of 2010 – Rep. Roybal-Allard
- Expressing support for the designation of the month of October as National Work and Family Month – Rep. Caroly McCarthy
- Family Engagement in Education Act – Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
- Honoring the life of Miep Gies, who aided Anne Frank’s family while they were hiding and preserved her diary for future generations – Rep. Kilroy
- Military Spouse Pin Act - Rep. Shea-Porter
- Professional Social Work Month and World Social Work Day - Rep. Shea-Porter
- The REAL Act (Responsible Education About Life Act) – Rep. Barbara Lee
- Supporting the goals and ideals of National Women’s History Month – Rep. Woolsey
- Access to Birth Control Act – Rep. Maloney
- Asthma Management Plans in School Act - Rep. Shea-Porter
- The Bleeding Disorder Screening Awareness, and Further Education (SAFE) Act – Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
- Cancer Centers Assistance for Renovation and Expansion Act – Rep. Kilroy
- The EARLY Act (Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act) – Rep. Wasserman Schultz
- Emergency Contraception Education Act – Rep. Slaughter
- Endocrine Disruption Research Act – Rep. Slaughter
- Exemplary Breastfeeding Support Act – Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
- Expressing support for designation of the last week of September as National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week and the last Wednesday of September as National Previvor Day – Rep. Wasserman Schultz
- Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding guidelines for breast cancer screening for women ages 40 to 49 – Rep. Wasserman Schultz
- MOMS (Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services) for the 21st Century Act – Rep. Roybal-Allard
- The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act – Rep. Roybal-Allard (2008)
- Obstetric Fistula Prevention, Treatment, Hope, and Dignity Restoration Act – Rep. Maloney
- Part D Off-Label Prescription Parity Act – Rep. Kilroy
- The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act – Rep. Slaughter
- Prevention First Act – Rep. Slaughter
- Safe Prescription Drug Disposal and Education Act - Rep. Shea-Porter
- Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services Act – Rep. Maloney
- Supporting efforts to raise awareness, improve education, and encourage research of inflammatory breast cancer – Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
- Women's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Act – Rep. Slaughter
- Women’s Health Office Act – Rep. Maloney
Violence Against Women
- Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act – Rep. Maloney
- Domestic Violence Leave Act – Reps. Woolsey, Roybal-Allard and Carolyn Maloney
- Family Violence Option - Rep. Gwen Moore
- Family Violence Prevention and Services Act - Rep. Gwen Moore
- Force Protection and Readiness Act – Rep. Slaughter
- The Improving Assistance to Domestic and Sexual Violence Victims Act of 2009 – Rep. Wasserman Schultz
- International Violence Against Women Act – Reps. Delahunt and Schakowsky
- Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act – Rep. Maloney
- Military Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Act – Rep. Slaughter
- The SAFE Act (Security and Financial Empowerment Act) – Rep. Roybal-Allard
- SAFER (Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry) Act – Rep. Maloney
Child Care Facilities Financing Act (H.R. 1685) - Rep. McCarthy
Authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award competitive grants to eligible entities to deposit into child care capital funds for technical and financial assistance to eligible child care providers to pay the costs of acquisition, construction, or improvement of child care facilities or equipment, or for technical assistance to such providers to help them undertake facilities improvement and expansion.
Child Marriage Bill (H.R. 2103) - Rep. McCollum
Child marriage in developing countries is a human rights violation and undermines the substantial U.S. investments in foreign assistance to improve women's and girls' education, health, and economic and legal status. This bill requires the U.S. Department of State to address the status of child marriage in countries with high rates of child marriage, calls for a White House plan to combat child marriage, and integrates child marriage prevention into pre-existing USAID development programs. Read Rep. McCollum's press release on the Child Marriage Bill.
Runaway Reporting Improvement Act (H.R. 4129) - Rep. Maloney
This legislation that will help find and protect runaway children by requiring law enforcement agencies to: certify that their agency is complying with federal law by entering all missing children into the NCIC database, and provide the parents/guardians of missing children direct access to resources including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Runaway Switchboard.
Equal Rights Amendment (H.J.Res. 61) - Rep. Maloney
The ERA is a constitutional amendment which would prohibit denying or abridging equal rights under law by the United States or any state on account of sex by: clarifying the legal status of sex discrimination for the courts, by making sex a suspect category subject to strict judicial scrutiny, as race, religion, and national origin currently are; guaranteeing equal footing for women in the legal systems of all 50 states; and ensuring that government programs and federal resources benefit men and women equally.
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Senate should ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (H.Res. 22) - Rep. Woolsey
Women around the world continue to be raped as an act of war, suffer violence in their homes, face exploitation, and are forced in to labor. Women are also discriminated against and harassed in the workplace, and are deprived of a role in public life and equality before the law. To date, 185 countries—more than 90 percent of United Nations members have ratified CEDAW. We must strengthen our leadership on human rights issues by ratifying CEDAW and this resolution is an important step in showing women across the world that the U.S. stands with them.
The Fair Pay Act (H.R. 2151) - Rep. Norton
Prohibits the discrimination in the payment of wages based on sex, race, or national origin. The Fair Pay Act takes on sex segregated jobs where gender influences wages and leaves the average woman worker without any remedy for equal pay. The Fair Pay Act allows women to have a vehicle for taking on deliberate gender-steering, wage-settings by gender and sex segregation in the workplace.
The High School Athletics Accountability Act (H.R. 2882) - Rep. Slaughter
In the thirty-eight years since Title IX was enacted, women’s participation in sports has grown exponentially and female athletics are gaining more and more national attention. However, high school girls still receive what amounts to 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play sports than high school boys. Federal law requires colleges to make gender equity in sports information publicly available each year, but high schools are not required to disclose this data, making it difficult for parents and communities to ensure fairness at the secondary school level. H.R. 2882, the High School Athletics Accountability Act, will help high schools improve opportunities for girls in sports, and thereby encourage greater participation of both girls and boys in athletics. The bill requires that high schools report basic data on the number of female and male students in their athletic programs and the expenditures made for their sports teams. Better information can help high schools and parents of schoolchildren foster fairness in athletic opportunities for girls and boys.
Balancing Act (H.R. 3047) - Rep. Woolsey
In today’s economic environment, workers are having an increasingly difficult time balancing the demands of work and family. In more than two-thirds of families, either parents (or the only parent in a single parent home) work outside the home. In addition, recent polls have shown that these parents are working more and more hours to support their families. This comprehensive bill would improve the lives of working families by providing family and medical need assistance, child care assistance, in-school and afterschool assistance, family care assistance, and encouraging the establishment of a family friendly work place.
Family and Medical Leave Restoration Act (H.R. 2161) - Rep. Shea-Porter
The Family and Medical Leave Restoration Act repeals certain restrictive rules regarding the use of Family and Medical Leave. “The Family and Medical Leave Act helps ensure that workers do not have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a loved one or themselves,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “My bill will restore the Family and Medical Leave Act to its original intent and spirit.” Since its enactment in 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act has helped workers and family members balance the responsibilities of the workplace with their or their families’ medical needs.
FIRST Act (Family Income to Respond to Significant Transitions Act) (H.R. 2339) - Rep. Woolsey
For most families, balancing work and family is a daily struggle, and they need help. This bill would authorize $1.5 billion in grants to states to implement state paid family leave programs. The grants could also be used for start-up activities to promote state programs, wage replacement, and incentives to small businesses to provide job protection to employees who need leave.
Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act (H.R. 901) - Rep. Shea-Porter
The Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act would provide a safety net for individuals who are in a financial crisis due to a personal or family medical catastrophe. Roughly half of all bankruptcies in the United States originate from medical debt. “An unexpected emergency or illness should not wipe out everything a family has,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “My legislation will help protect the homes of families who are struggling with catastrophic medical bills.” The Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act would protect $250,000 in the value of the medically distressed debtor's residence and protect a family caregiver from having his or her case dismissed or referred to Chapter 11 or 13.
Medical Debt Relief Act (H.R. 3421) - Rep. Kilroy
The Medical Debt Relief Act would prohibit medical debt paid off or settled as a criteria for credit bureau’s to determine approvals for mortgage rates and other consumer purchases. Countless women throughout our nation have been affected by medical debt, and the problem continues to grow as we weather the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression. This legislation will ensure that for them and all Americans, an illness or injury will not permanently damage their credit worthiness.
The Support Working Parents Act (H.R. 5260) - Rep. Schwartz
Across the country, working mothers and fathers face an all-too-common dilemma: finding quality child care that won’t break the bank. Putting Americans back to work is central to our economic recovery, but too many families are forced to limit their productivity and earning potential because of the high cost of child care. This bill expands the child care tax credit for middle income families, eliminating the current penalty on families making more than $43,000. Under H.R.5260 all families, regardless of income, would be eligible for the full 35% credit of allowable child care expenses, making work more affordable for two-earner families and increasing productivity in our struggling economy. The bill has been endorsed by Third Way and a broad coalition of children’s advocacy organizations.
Also, see our letter on the bill.
Work Life Balance Award Act (H.R. 4855) - Rep. Woolsey
This bill establishes an annual Work-Life Balance Award at the Department of Labor to be given out annually by the Secretary of Labor to employers with exemplary work-life workforce policies. These policies are defined as workplace practices “designed to enable employees to achieve a satisfactory work-life balance.” Any public or private employer of any size would be eligible for the award, as long as they are in compliance with federal and state labor and employment laws.
Education and Awareness
21st Century STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act (H.R. 6078) - Rep. Woolsey
A highly-skilled, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educated workforce is essential to ensuring U.S. competitiveness and leadership in the 21st century global economy but our country is facing a shortage of workers skilled in STEM. This bill will provide funding to school districts to carry out activities designed to better engage girls and underrepresented minorities in STEM. We must increase the number of girls and underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields by doing more to get these groups interested in STEM early and keeping them engaged.
Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act (H.R. 5033) - Rep. Roybal-Allard
Statistics show 53 percent of Latina and 51 percent of African American teenage girls will become pregnant at least once before they turn 20. The Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act of 2010 provides needed resources and educational programs to reduce teen pregnancies in minority communities. The legislation makes additional federal competitive grants available for existing and new school-based and community-based teenage pregnancy intervention programs in minority communities. The legislation authorizes a national multimedia educational campaign to provide public education and increase public awareness about teenage pregnancy prevention and the importance of promoting and building healthy relationships to preventteenage pregnancies. Finally, the legislation offers competitive grants to conduct research into the prevalence and underlying social causes of teen pregnancy and births in minority communities as well as to evaluate the most effective approaches to address and reduce teen pregnancies and promote healthy relationships.
Expressing support for the designation of the month of October as National Work and Family Month (H.Res. 1598) - Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
The resolution emphasizes the importance of healthy, flexible workplaces including. Job flexibility allows parents to be more involved in their children's lives, and parental involvement is associated with children's higher achievement in language and mathematics, improved behavior, greater academic persistence, and lower dropout rates.
Family Engagement in Education Act (H.R. 5211) - Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
Family Engagement in Education Act of 2010. Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to allocate funds to states and, through them, local educational agencies (LEAs) to develop certain policies and practices to strengthen family engagement in their children's education.
Honoring the life of Miep Gies, who aided Anne Frank’s family while they were hiding and preserved her diary for future generations (H.Res. 1074) - Rep. Kilroy
This resolution honors Hermine “Miep” Gies, who hid the Frank family from the Nazis for two years before they were discovered. Gies preserved Anne Frank’s diary by locking it in her desk drawer for safekeeping and returning it to Anne’s father Otto after World War II. Her character and bravery saved Anne Frank’s diary, an inspirational story about a young woman’s hope in the face of senseless tragedy and an important testament for future generations to the horrors of the Holocaust.
Military Spouse Pin Act (H.R. 4043) - Rep. Shea-Porter
The Military Spouse Pin Act would present an official lapel pin to the spouses of service members that have served in a combat zone for more than thirty days. Lapel pins would be distributed to all spouses of service members who have been deployed since September 11, 2001. Spouses of service members deployed prior to September 11th will also be eligible to apply for the pin if they wish to do so. “Military spouses are often the glue that holds families together while their spouses are fighting overseas,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “For their service, sacrifice, and patriotism, military spouses should be honored alongside the military men and women they stand beside.”
Professional Social Work Moth and World Social Work Day (H.Res. 1167) - Rep. Shea-Porter
H.Res. 1167 passed the House on March 17, 2010 and honors professional social workers. “Social workers dedicate their time, energy, and lives to assisting individuals, families, and communities,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “As someone who used to work in social services myself, I understand the unique challenges social workers often face. My resolution honors the more than 600,000 people in our country who help improve our society by devoting their lives to social work.”
The REAL Act (Responsible Education About Life Act) (H.R. 1551) - Rep. Lee
The Responsible Education About Life Act (REAL) would establish the first grant program for comprehensive sex education that promotes abstinence but also includes information about contraception. Comprehensive sex education programs would have to be age-appropriate, medically accurate and provide information about abstinence as well as the effectiveness of contraception. Read more details on Rep. Lee's webpage.
Supporting the goals and ideals of National Women’s History Month (H.Res. 211) - Rep. Woolsey
Up until the late 1970’s, women’s history was rarely included in K-12 curriculum and virtually was absent in public awareness. In 1987, Congress made it a national observance to recognize Women’s History Month. This resolution honors the increased awareness and knowledge of women’s involvement in history.
Access to Birth Control Act (H.R. 5309) - Rep. Maloney
This legislation will protect an individual’s access to legal birth control. It will require pharmacies to fill a valid prescription for birth control in a timely manner, and to provide over-the-counter emergency contraception. This legislation amends the Public Health Service Act and will stop pharmacists from infringing on the rights of individuals in this country by making pharmacy refusals illegal.
Asthma Management Plans in School Act (H.R. 4836) - Rep. Shea-Porter
The Asthma Management Plans in School Act would provide grants to schools to develop asthma management plans and to purchase asthma inhalers and spacers for emergency use. “Asthma is one of the most common childhood diseases, and it is crucial that schools have the tools they need to help children who have an asthma attack in the classroom,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “My legislation would provide grants to schools to purchase devices for asthma sufferers, and help teach school administrators and teachers how to help a child suffering from an asthma attack.” In May 2010, Congresswoman Shea-Porter founded the Congressional Asthma and Allergy Caucus to educate Members of Congress about asthma and severe allergies, and to increase public awareness and advance research.
The Bleeding Disorder Screening Awareness, and Further Education (SAFE) Act (H.R. 4846) - Rep. McCarthy
The bill authorizes grant programs to conduct screening programs for adolescents, educational programs for physicians, and continued research into bleeding disorders. Many bleeding disorders go undiagnosed for years and, while affecting both men and women, can be especially detrimental to women who face menorrhagia (excessive menstrual bleeding), childbirth complications, and unnecessary hysterectomies. Improved diagnosis and education can help improve the health of women suffering from bleeding disorders.
Cancer Centers Assistance for Renovations and Expansion (CARE) Act (H.R. 5807) - Rep. Kilroy
The Cancer Centers Assistance for Renovations and Expansion (CARE) Act would make federal loans available for the expansion, construction or renovation of cancer research facilities to help accelerate further research and treatment. For the roughly 700,000 women diagnosed with cancer each year, and for all cancer patients, access to cutting-edge medical care can be the difference between life and death. This bill will modernize existing cancer centers, build new facilities, and invest in cancer research.
The EARLY Act (Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act) (H.R. 1740) - Rep. Wasserman Schultz
Drawing on Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s own experience as a breast cancer survivor, the Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act (the EARLY Act) directs the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and implement a national educational campaign to increase awareness of the threats posed by breast cancer in young women of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and the particular heightened risks faced by certain groups. The campaign will help young women and providers identify the specific threats and warning signs of breast cancer that lead to early diagnoses, and prevention efforts women can undertake to reduce their risks. The legislation also provides assistance to organizations to support young women diagnosed with breast cancer and help them get the assistance they need, including social and psychological support, fertility counseling and recurrence prevention training. The EARLY Act became public law in March 2010 as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Emergency Contraception Education Act (H.R. 5561) - Rep. Slaughter
Each year, 3 million pregnancies, or one-half of all pregnancies in the United States, are unintended. Half of these end in abortion. Emergency contraception is a safe, effective, and FDA-approved medication that prevents pregnancy if taken soon after sex. In the United States, emergency contraception is now available over the counter for adults and by prescription for those under age 17. Yet, 1 out of 3 women of reproductive age, and even many health care providers, remain uniformed about this critical contraceptive option. At present, less than 16 percent of hospitals provide emergency contraception without restrictions at a woman’s request, and nearly 44 percent of hospitals, do not provide emergency contraception even in cases of sexual assault. H.R. 5561, the Emergency Contraception Education Act, will initiate a large-scale education campaign to better inform women and health care providers about emergency contraception. By raising awareness about emergency contraception,this bill will help reduce unintended pregnancies and the need for abortions.
Endocrine Disruption Research Act (H.R. 4160) - Rep. Slaughter
There is growing concern that hormone disrupting pollutants in our environment may explain the rise in occurrences of childhood cancers, testicular cancer, juvenile diabetes, thyroid disorders, learning disabilities, cognitive impairments and autoimmune disorders over the last 30 years. Despite the progress made in understanding the link between these chemicals and hormone disruption, further research is still needed. Investing in research today could prevent and treat a broad range of diseases and disorders in future generations. H.R. 4160, the Environmental Hormone Disruption Act, authorizes the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to conduct a comprehensive program to research and educate the public on the health effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals.
Exemplary Breastfeeding Support Act (H.R. 3626) - Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
Exemplary Breastfeeding Support Act seeks to strengthen existing breastfeeding promotion efforts within the WIC program. The bill provides state breastfeeding performance bonuses rewarding states that achieve the highest proportion of breastfed infant rates and creating incentives for improvement in states with lower rates. Providing performance bonus awards to state WIC agencies reflect a similar model employed in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program which has been found to be effective in driving improvements in State performance, and therefore promote an increase in the number of fully breastfed infants in the WIC population. By encouraging higher breastfeeding initiation rates and longer duration rates, this small investment in performance bonuses could achieve greater savings in health care dollars.
Expressing support for designation of the last week of September as National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week and the last Wednesday of September as National Previvor Day (H.Res. 1522) - Rep. Wassrman Schultz
It is estimated that three-quarters of a million Americans carry a gene mutation that causes a predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer. Raising awareness of hereditary cancer and knowledge of a genetic predisposition can directly lead to preventative strategies that can reduce the chance of dying from cancer. This Resolution would designate the last week of September as National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week. It would also designate the last Wednesday of September as National Previvor Day, which recognizes those who have survived a predisposition to cancer.
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding guidelines for breast cancer screening for women ages 40 to 49 (H.Res. 971) - Rep.Wasserman Schultz
On November 16, 2009, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent panel of experts, issued new breast cancer screening guidelines that reflected a change from its earlier mammography recommendations. These new guidelines caused concern and confusion among many health providers and women age 40-49. This resolution, passed by the House on December 15, 2009, underscores the sense of the House that the USPSTF recommendations cannot be used by insurers to deny women coverage for routine screenings. It also urges the National Cancer Institute to continue to invest and provide leadership regarding research to develop more effective screening tools and strategies for improving detection of breast cancer.
MOMS (Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services) for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5807) - Rep. Roybal-Allard
The United States spends significantly more on childbirth than any other industrialized country, but ranks far behind almost all developed countries in healthy child birth results for both mothers and babies. To address this national tragedy, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard introduced the Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services for the 21st Century Act which places a national focus on evidence-based maternity care practices to help achieve the best possible maternity outcomes for mothers and babies. The Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services for the 21st Century Act (HR 5807) creates a national focus on maternity care by establishing an Interagency Coordinating Committee charged with promoting medical practices proven to provide the healthiest results for mothers and babies. The legislation authorizes a public awareness media campaign to educate the public about the best proven maternity care practices. The legislation expands federal research on best maternity practices. The bill also authorizes data collection to pinpoint specific geographic areas of the country that lack maternity care providers. Finally, the measure puts in place a concerted effort to create a more culturally diverse and interdisciplinary maternity care workforce.
The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act (H.R. 3825) - Rep. Roybal-Allard
Approximately five thousand babies are born each year in the United States with detectable and treatable diseases. Forty years ago, these infants’ disorders would have gone undetected until symptoms appeared, leading to possible death or lifelong disability. Today, a simple blood test can detect life-threatening genetic illnesses before any symptoms begin, allowing crucial time for early treatment to prevent long-term damage. The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007 established national newborn screening guidelines intended to make comprehensive newborn screening widely available throughout the country. The law also provides federal funding to educate parents and healthcare professionals about the importance of newborn screening, and improves the systems for follow-up care for infants detected with an illness through the newborn screening tests. In addition, the law requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the quality of laboratories involved in newborn screening, and establishes a system for collecting and analyzing data that will help researchers develop better detection, prevention and treatment strategies.
Obstetric Fistula Prevention, Treatment, Hope, and Dignity Restoration Act (H.R. 5441) - Rep. Maloney
This bill supports a comprehensive approach to end obstetric fistula – prevention to eliminate occurrences, treatment to repair those women who already suffer, and rehabilitation to help those recovering fully heal and reenter society. It focuses on efforts to build local capacity and improve national systems to prevent and treat obstetric fistula.
Part D Off-Label Prescription Parity Act (H.R. 5732) - Rep. Kilroy
The Part D Off-Label Prescription Parity Act would allow Medicare coverage of medications when use is supported by experts. Currently, many Medicare consumers with serious and sometimes life-threatening conditions are unable to access safe and effective medications under Medicare Part D because they are prescribed for off-label purposes. This legislation would improve access to prescription drugs for seniors throughout the country.
The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 1549) - Rep. Slaughter
Antibiotic resistance is a major public health crisis, with deadly implications for women and their families. The CDC estimates that two million Americans will develop bacterial infections while in the hospital annually, and 90,000 of them will die. Antibiotic resistance particularly impacts women. For example, antibiotic resistance has made Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) increasingly difficult to treat. UTI disproportionately impact women, with 1 in 5 women getting a UTI in their lifetime. The CDC, FDA, and many other governmental agencies have concluded that agricultural usage of antibiotics has led to the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans. The Institute of Medicine, among others, concluded that reducing the agricultural usage of antibiotics was necessary. Their 2003 report on Microbial Threats to Health concluded, “Clearly, a decrease in the inappropriate use of antimicrobials in human medicine alone is not enough. Substantial efforts must be made to decrease inappropriate overuse in animals and agriculture as well.” H.R. 1549, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, will phase out the use of these seven classes of antibiotics on healthy farm animals to reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and to protect the strength of antibiotics in treating human illness.
Prevention First Act (H.R. 463) - Rep. Slaughter
In 2009, 46% of high school students reported that they had experienced sexual intercourse. About 20% of sexually active female teens become pregnant each year. Analysts report that sexual activity among high school-age children has increased, and contraceptive use among teenagers has dropped. A majority of the public believes providing more access to family planning services is an effective way to reduce the number of teen pregnancies and subsequently abortions in this country. H.R. 463, the Prevention First Act will protect women’s reproductive health, prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and provide women with the tools they need to prevent unintended pregnancies. It will offer increased funding for women’s health clinics and comprehensive sexual education programs while improving access to FDA approved forms of contraception.
Safe Prescription Drug Disposal and Education Act (H.R. 5925) - Rep. Shea-Porter
The Safe Prescription Drug Disposal and Education Act (H.R. 5925) would provide grants to communities to install prescription drug drop-boxes. The purpose of these drop-boxes is for disposal of unwanted prescription drugs, allowing people to get these drugs out of their homes and out of the reach of children. In addition, the bill would also provide grants to communities for classes for parents and children on the dangers of prescription drug abuse. “New Hampshire has seen a 200 percent rise in prescription drug abuse over the last ten years. It is a public health and safety issue,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “My bill will help address these problems. It will also prevent the improper disposal of prescription drugs, which pollute our water and harm our environment.” Congresswoman Shea-Porter is Vice Co-Chair of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus.
Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services Act (H.R. 5652) - Rep. Maloney
This bill would require the Federal Trade Commission to create rules that prohibit any person from advertising, with the intent to deceive the public into believing an organization is a provider of abortion services, if they don’t in fact provide abortion services.
Supporting efforts to raise awareness, improve education, and encourage research of inflammatory breast cancer (H.Res. 395) - Rep. McCarthy
A Resolution supporting efforts to raise awareness, improve education, and encourage research of inflammatory breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare but deadly form of breast cancer. Disproportionately affecting minority women, the five year survival rate for patients with inflammatory breast cancer is between 25 and 50 percent, much lower than the survival rate for patients with other types of breast cancer.
Women’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Act (H.R. 4161) - Rep. Slaughter
More than 80,000 chemicals have been introduced into our environment since the 1950s, and scientists have found that exposure to these synthetic chemicals disrupts hormone function and contributes to increased incidences of diseases. While the evidence is mounting that there is an association between these chemicals and hormone disruption, research remains limited, particularly on the chemicals’ impact on women. Increased investments in research now could prevent and treat a broad range of diseases and disorders in future generations. H.R. 4161, the Women’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Act authorizes the NIEHS to establish multidisciplinary research centers to investigate how environmental factors may be related to women’s health and disease prevention.
Women’s Health Office Act (H.R. 3242) - Rep. Maloney
Amends the Public Health Service Act to establish within the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) an Office on Women's Health, headed by a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women's Health. By giving Women’s Health Offices statutory permanence, this bill will ensure that the needs and gaps in research, policy, programs, and education and training in women’s health will continue to be addressed. The legislation provides statutory authority for the five federal women's health offices. [This bill was included as part of HR 3590, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law No: 111-148, signed March 23, 2010.]
Afghan Women Empowerment Act (H.R. 2214) - Rep. Maloney
Expresses the sense of Congress that the protection of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan and their full participation in the reestablishment of democracy are essential to Afghanistan's reconstruction, and to achieve such reconstruction the U.S. government must commit resources to advance the rights of women throughout Afghanistan.
International Women’s Freedom Act (H.R. 606) - Rep. Maloney
Express in United States foreign policy with respect to, and to strengthen United States advocacy on behalf of, individuals persecuted and denied their rights in foreign countries on account of gender, and for other purposes.
Violence Against Women
Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act (H.R. 5575) - Rep. Maloney
Through a series of block grants, the bill would provide shelter and care for victims, including specialized counseling, clothing and other daily needs in order to keep victims from returning to the street. It also aims to ensure adequate resources for law enforcement and prosecutors to rescue victims and put pimps behind bars. Importantly, the legislation will strengthen deterrence and prevention programs aimed at potential buyers.
Over two million people are physically assaulted by an intimate partner and an additional 1.3 million are the victims of stalking each year. The majority of these victims are women and they often need leave from work to address the effects of this violence. H.R. 2515 would expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to allow workers to take leave to address the consequences of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. It also would provide leave to workers so that they can care for a family member—spouse, parent or child—who is a victim of abuse.
Family Violence Option (H.R. 4978) - Rep. Gwen Moore
The bill would mandate that all states adopt the Family Violence Option (FVO) or a comparable policy through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant, expand “domestic violence” as defined under the FVO to include sexual violence, and require states to adopt enforceable standards and procedures with respect to screening, counseling, supportive services, and waiving of TANF program requirements. The bill would also strengthen the application process and instruct the Secretary of HHS to submit a report to Congress which examines the practices of states in implementing the Family Violence Option and identifies the best practices used to do so.
Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (H.R. 4116) - Rep. Gwen Moore
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act was originally passed in 1984, and since then, it has been at the center of our nation’s response to domestic violence. FVPSA programs include community-based efforts to intervene in domestic violence situations, and prevent this violence from taking place in the first place. However, FVPSA’s authorization expired in 2008, and the program remains underfunded. H.R. 4116 focuses on key improvements to FVPSA that would help us to build on FVPSA’s core strengths to better serve victims and their families, but also includes critical updates that are geared towards meeting the needs of underserved populations.
Force Protection and Readiness Act (H.R. 5347) - Rep. Slaughter
One in three women in the military will be the victim of sexual assault. A 2005 Sexual Harassment and Assault Survey of the Service Academies found that less than half the females who experienced sexual assault reported it. While the DoD has been making efforts to improve its prevention and response to sexual violence, services remain incomplete and inconsistent among the various branches. There have been reports that victims advocates, charged with protecting the victim’s rights, have been denied resources to do their job, and in some instances been forced off the base all together. DoD policies are not codified and do not offer the same protections afforded to civilian victims. And, perhaps most importantly, victims are unable to seek confidential counseling and treatment without fear that their records might become public if they press charges against their assailant. H.R. 5347, the Force Protection and Readiness Act will facilitate the reporting of sexual assaults by establishing an assault hotline and requiring that at least one Sexual Assault Victim Advocate is assigned to each battalion. Furthermore, this bill will permit advocates and health care professionals to maintain the confidentiality of their conversations with victims of sexual assault, encouraging victims to seek counseling and report their assailants.
The Improving Assistance to Domestic and Sexual Violence Victims Act (H.R. 3401) - Rep. Wasserman Shultz
The Improving Assistance to Domestic and Sexual Violence Victims Act of 2009 (H.R. 3401) seeks to make important technical changes to the Violence Against Women Act, a groundbreaking law enacted in 1994 that is the nation’s central commitment to combatingdomestic violence and other violent crimes against women. H.R. 3401 will strengthen existing victim protections; increase the number of resources and trained professionals available to victims of stalking, domestic and dating violence, and sexual assault; and eliminate perceived barriers to reporting child and elder abuse or neglect.
Gender based violence remains a serious problem throughout the world, particularly in places facing persistent armed conflict, poverty, and instability. IVAWA would ensure that ending violence against women remains at the forefront of our foreign policy agenda. IVAWA requires a comprehensive approach to fighting violence against women, addressing issues ranging from health programs and survivor services to public attitudes; from access to education and economic opportunities to legal and judicial protections. IVAWA has bipartisan, bicameral support, with over 100 cosponsors in the House.
Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Act (H.R. 4114) - Rep. Maloney
The legislation would help reduce the national backlog of over 180,000 untested rape kits currently on police shelves by creating incentives for jurisdictions to eliminate their rape kit backlogs, process their incoming rape kits in a timely manner, and publicly report their backlog numbers. The bill will also address several other factors that work to deny justice to victims of sexual assault – including the denial of free rape kits to survivors of sexual assault and the shortage of trained health professionals capable of administering rape kit exams.
Military Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Act (H.R. 840) - Rep. Slaughter
In 2004, the Department of Defense reported 9,000 incidents of spousal abuse. In its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, the DoD reported that, “There were a total of 3,230 reports of sexual assault involving military service members,” in 2009, an 11-percent increase from FY08. Secretary Robert Gates states that, “This type of act not only does unconscionable harm to the victim; it destabilizes the workplace and threatens national security.” H.R. 840, Military Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Act, will help to address this serious problem by establishing an Office of the Victims' Advocate within the Department of Defense to facilitate access to services for victims of domestic or family violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the military.
The SAFE Act (Security and Financial Empowerment Act) (H.R. 739) - Rep. Roybal-Allard
One of the key reasons victims stay with or return to their abusers is because they are financially dependent upon them. In order to break this cycle of dependence and abuse, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard introduced the SAFE Act to provide victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking with greater employment protections and increased economic stability. Under the SAFE Act, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking who are forced to leave a job because of the abuse would be eligible for unemployment benefits. They would also be able to take unpaid leave from work without the fear of being fired to address immediate needs such as obtaining legal assistance, medical care or to find a safe place to live.
SAFER (Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry) Act (H.R. 6085) - Rep. Maloney
To amend the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 to provide for Debbie Smith grants for auditing sexual assault evidence backlogs and to establish a Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry, and for other purposes.