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Women's Issues and Gender Discrimination

Women still face many structural barriers to equal treatment under the law. Women face unequal employment opportunities and are still consistently paid less than men doing the same work. I have supported and will continue to support community events and legislation aimed at promoting women-owned businesses and creating more economic opportunities for women. In order to connect, motivate, and empower women to face and overcome these challenges, each year in December I host a Women's Conference in the District, known as Sister-to-Sister. Last December we held our Fifth Annual Conference.

There are many issues that come before Congress that address the unique opportunities and problems that women face. My voting record on women's issues speaks for itself. I co-sponsored H. J. Res. 37, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women. I have also co-sponsored H. RES. 67 that asks the Senate to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Violence against women remains a major issue in our society that requires legislation and social programs for education, counseling and support for shelters to protect battered women. I co-sponsored H.R. 3171, to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 2005, and amends numerous related acts including the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act and the Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 2000. H.R. 3171 would reauthorize, revise and establish various programs for prevention of violence against women, including domestic violence, child abuse, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Another way Congress can promote the advancement of women is by recognizing their achievements. I co-sponsored H. Con. Res. 96, which acknowledges the significant achievements and contributions of African American women scientists, mathematicians, and inventors. I also voted in favor of H.J. Res. 59, supporting the idea of establish a day to commemorate the women suffragists who fought for and won the right of women to vote in the United States.

Women's Health and Reproductive Rights

Women's health and reproductive rights remain areas where women face particular barriers or discrimination. I will continue to support legislation regarding women's health and disease prevention. With regards to women's health issues in general, I have recently co-sponsored three bills.

The first of these is H.R. 1245, the Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act, which would initiate a national campaign to increase the awareness and knowledge of women with respect to gynecologic cancers. This bill has strong support.

The second is H.R.1849, the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, which would require insurers to provide coverage of inpatient (and in the case of a lumpectomy, outpatient) coverage and radiation therapy for breast cancer treatment.

The third is H.R. 3313, the Environmental Health Research Act of 2005, directing the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to develop multidisciplinary research centers regarding women's health and disease prevention.

I support a woman's right to choose. Since 2001, I have received 100% approval ratings on my voting record from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood.

Women and Families

As the reader surely knows, with the soaring cost of medical bills, medical insurance, energy bills and so much else, women as single or joint head of households are facing ever mounting challenges to the task of raising children and providing for their families. I have co-sponsored legislation that would provide assistance. The Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1902) would provide for paid sick leave to ensure that Americans can address their own health needs and the health needs of their families. The Balance Act (H.R. 1589) seeks to improve the lives of working families by providing family and medical need assistance, child care assistance, in-school and after-school assistance, family care assistance, and encouraging the establishment of family-friendly workplaces.

Children's Issues

Since 2001, I have received 100% approval ratings on my voting record from the Children's Defense Fund. I co-sponsored H.R. 1668, the Kids First Act, which would amend the Social Security Act to ensure that every uninsured child in America has health insurance coverage. I voted in favor of the Child Medication Safety Act of 2005 (H.R. 1790) would direct the Comptroller General to review the prescription rates of psychotropic drugs for children diagnosed with ADHD, and would prohibit school personnel from requiring students to obtain prescriptions for such drugs.

Children under foster care require special consideration. I have am supporting two bills concerning foster care. I co-sponsored the Foster Care Mentoring Act (H.R. 822), which would establish or expand public and private community programs to provide mentoring for children in foster care. I also voted for The Fair Access Foster Care Act (H.R. 3008) would amend the Social Security Act to provide for the making of foster care maintenance payments to private for-profit agencies. I also voted yes to the Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act (H.R. 1409) to amend the Foreign Assistance Act to provide assistance for orphans and other vulnerable children in developing countries.

Another issue that concerns me greatly is the use of child soldiers, especially in Africa, recruited under the age of 18, often under the age of 15. World-wide there are over a quarter of a million child soldiers. In 1999, I introduced the Code of Conduct on Arms Transfers Act (H.R. 2269) which would prohibit U.S. military assistance and arms transfers to a foreign governments who are involved in human rights violations, or who are not participating in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. This bill would curtail U.S. involvement withe regimes that do not respect human rights, and that includes the recruiting of child soldiers.

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