With the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the court rolled back a constitutional right, out of step with 50 years of legal precedent, at the expense of the tens of millions of women who are now at risk of not having access to the care they need. States across the country are looking to ban abortion entirely with no exemptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother in an extreme, dangerous, and direct attack on our freedom.
The lives and livelihoods of women across the country are not safe, even here in New Jersey where we codified Roe at the state level. Mitch McConnell and Washington Republicans have said they want federal legislation to ban abortion in all 50 states. And Justice Clarence Thomas made it clear in his dissenting opinion that the attacks on freedom will not stop with reproductive rights — gay marriage and contraception are also at risk.
We are at a crisis moment in our country and I will continue to stand up against government overreach and defend reproductive freedom. I proudly voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act to provide statutory protection for reproductive health care for providers and patients and will keep pushing my colleagues in the Senate to codify Roe.
In New Jersey, we unfortunately know 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 politicians to follow that same playbook and threaten reproductive care.
In Congress, I have been a forceful voice against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, restrict access to birth control, and limit contraception and reproductive care. I have worked to protect Title X funding so women in New Jersey have access to healthcare. And I am sponsoring legislation to extend the World Trade Center Health Program to include uterine cancer as a covered condition for 9/11 first responders.
Another issue impacting women in our country is equal pay. Equal pay is an issue of economic fairness for all of our families — 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 Black women and 43 cents for Hispanic women. 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. And I’m leading the charge in the House to ensure women athletes are treated fairly in college sports.
I want to ensure that my two daughters have the same opportunities and the same rights as my two sons. I refuse to let GOP politicians in Washington and in New Jersey restrict our freedoms and roll back the advances we have fought so hard for.