Issue Position: Women's Issues

Issue Position

"Since coming to Congress, I have fought for women's interests on multiple fronts. Working for fairness in health care coverage, protecting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, supporting equal pay for equal work, and seeking gender equity in schools are some of the many issues affecting women that I continue to fight for here on Capitol Hill." - Rush Holt

Rep. Holt's work in Congress on issues important to women reflects his commitment to protecting and expanding equality, and ensuring that no American is denied the rights to which he or she is entitled.
In this section:

* Equal Pay for Equal Work
* Reproductive Rights
* Women's Health Care
* Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
* Ensuring Gender Equity in Schools

Equal pay for Equal Work
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, working women performing the same work as men earned only 77 cents on the dollar. Working women should receive equal pay for equal work. Rep. Holt is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1338), which would strengthen enforcement of prohibitions against discrimination and increase penalties for infractions. He worked to win approval of the bill in the Education and Labor Committee and on the House floor.

In January 2009, Rep. Holt supported The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to respond to the Ledbetter v. Goodyear ruling of the Supreme Court, which fundamentally weakened fair pay and employment protections that employees enjoyed for over 40 years since passage of the Civil Rights Act. The Supreme Court's ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear set a precedent that employees only are entitled to protection from wage discrimination if they can discover that they are being treated unfairly and take legal action to correct it within 180 days. The legislation will clarify that every paycheck or other compensation resulting from an earlier discriminatory pay decision constitutes a violation of the Civil Rights Act.
Reproductive Rights

Rep. Holt has been unwavering in his support of the health and reproductive rights of women. Rep. Holt strongly believes that every woman has the right to make health care decisions without government interference, and he supports legislation to protect Roe v. Wade.

Rep. Holt is a cosponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would recognize the importance of a woman's fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman. Under this legislation, government interference into and government discrimination against the exercise of this right through regulation or provision of services, benefits, facilities or information would be prohibited.

Rep. Holt also supports measures that provide women with vital family planning services. Holt has cosponsored legislation that would provide access to preventive health care services that help reduce unintended pregnancy, reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women's health care. He also supported efforts to overturn the global "gag rule" on U.S. funding for international family planning services, recently lifted by President Obama in January, 2009.

Additionally, Rep. Holt has supported legislation to give women equitable coverage of prescription contraceptive drugs, devices, and services under health plans.
Women's Health Care

As a research scientist, Rep. Holt is fighting for increased investments in research at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is working to see that attention is paid to the special health needs of women, such as post-partum depression, cervical cancer, and breast cancer. He supports legislation that would direct the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to make grants available for eight centers to study the environmental factors that may be related to the etiology of breast cancer. Rep. Holt also has cosponsored the HEART for Women Act, which would provide for outreach and education on heart disease, one of the greatest threats to women's health.

To help ensure fairness in health care coverage, Rep. Holt has worked to put a stop to "drive through mastectomies." The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act (H.R.587) He has voted for legislation that would guarantee a minimum hospital stay of 48 hours for a woman having a mastectomy, and 24 hours for a woman undergoing a lymph node removal. Significantly, it would ensure that any decision to have a shorter hospital stay would be made by the patient and her doctor -- not an insurance company.
Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Rush Holt supports fully funding the programs authorized under the Violence Against Women Act and continues to support essential government programs that help abused women. Rep. Holt also supports increasing the cap on the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) fund, which provides federal support to many state and local programs that assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes. He has supported legislation that would require emergency contraception services be offered to victims of rape and sexual assault.
Ensuring Gender Equity in Schools

As a former teacher, Rush Holt is a strong supporter of equality in education. He is working to preserve the initiatives set forth in Title IX, the landmark civil rights law that gives women equal opportunity in education and athletics