Yesterday, the Supreme Court voted in favor of health care reform. Because of their historic 5-4 decision, the Affordable Care Act has now become the law of this nation, and a saving grace for millions of Americans.
As a mother I’m relieved that my son can remain on my insurance until the age of 26. As a woman, I’m ecstatic that someone has finally recognized and stood up for our right to obtain equal health care. No longer will pregnancy be considered a ‘pre-existing condition’, nor will we be charged more for coverage than men. Women across this country should be celebrating, and that’s exactly what I plan do to NOW.
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This Saturday, I have the honor of being invited by Terry O’Neill to address the National Organization for Women’s (NOW) annual conference in Baltimore, Maryland. The country’s largest annual gathering of grassroots women’s rights activists and allies will bring together thousands of women and men in an effort to strategize and organize a vision for the months ahead in the fight for women’s equality. Present at the NOW conference to receive an award will be Sandra Fluke, who last February testified before Congress about the need for access to affordable preventative health care for women. This year’s theme, ‘Energize! Organize! Stop the War on Women!’, couldn’t be more appropriately titled. While we won a historic victory yesterday with passage of the Affordable Care Act, there is much work that remains.
Even though the Equal Pay Act was established under President Kennedy, women today still only earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. Whether we’re working in the services industry or in the executive suites, women are still not respected and paid on the same level as our male counterparts even though we do the same work. And the disparity is far greater of course when it comes to women of color.
The generation prior to mine fought and strived to win abortion rights and the ability for women to control their own bodies and livelihoods. At a time when we should continue to see progress, we’re instead watching some lawmakers and those looking to score political points strip away those very liberties. Across the country, we’ve seen attacks against Planned Parenthood and other medical facilities, while some of the legislation introduced in various states has just been outrageous.
In the coming months, there is plenty of work for us to do. The Violence Against Women Act must be reauthorized, and we must work to level the playing field for females in all levels of society. NOW’s conference this weekend is guaranteed to bring together some of the greatest minds in creating and establishing change. I look forward to joining them as we continue to end this virtual war on women. And I hope you will do the same in your daily lives for the sake of your mothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends – or yourself.