Susan believes all individuals should have the information they need to make informed decisions about their health. As a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus and a grandmother, Susan is committed to preserving a woman's right to choose and maintaining safe access to reproductive health services. Sensitive decisions should be left up to the judgment of a woman and her doctor.
Susan has consistently supported legislation that would expand access to preventive health care services to help reduce unintended pregnancy and abortions and improve access to women's health care. She thinks that cutting funding to important programs that provide these services would be a mistake and would hurt women’s health.
In the 113th Congress, she has opposed every bill that would roll back on choice for women. In addition, Susan is a proud cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act (H.R. 3471), a bill to combat unnecessary and excessive restrictions on women’s reproductive rights.
When the new health care reform law was enacted last year, women benefitted significantly. It not only stopped women from being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, but also prohibited insurance companies from charging women more for simply being a woman. Susan was pleased that two of her women’s health provisions were included in the final health care reform package – the Medicaid Birth Center Reimbursement Act and the WOMAN Act.
Susan has also championed women’s health and reproductive rights abroad by cosponsoring the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2013, which would promote access to sexual and reproductive health services in developing countries.
Thanks to the new health care law, women can finally have access to contraceptive services without additional co-pay. As a mother, Susan understands the financial burdens that women face every day. That’s why she, along with her colleagues, sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius to stand firm on the department’s decision.
Keeping Birth Centers Viable
Birth centers are part of a vital safety net for Medicaid mothers across the country. However, over the past few years, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has begun disallowing federal matching funds for state Medicaid payments for freestanding birth center facility fees, claiming that it lacks clear statutory authority and direction to allow these payments. The Medicaid Birth Center Reimbursement Act preserved crucial maternal health care by providing that authority and ensuring Medicaid birth center facility fee payments to states.
Getting Direct Access to an OB/GYN
The WOMAN Act is built on a California law that Susan championed in the State Assembly. This legislation removed the barriers complicating women’s access to their doctors and recognized the significant roles OB/GYN play in women’s health. It gives women direct access to their OB/GYN and prohibits plans or issuers from requiring a referral or prior approval.
Susan strongly believes in keeping these new and necessary rights for women’s health. When a bill to repeal the health care law was debated in Congress, Susan fought to add an amendment to it that would maintain protections for women. Read more by clicking here.
Equality in the Workplace
It’s easy to forget that there is still a major wage gap between men and women in this country. Women still only earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. Susan strongly supported the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was signed into law in 2009. The law gives women equal pay for equal work and makes it easier to sue over gender discrimination in workplace. She is also fighting for the enactment of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide a much-needed update to the 49-year-old Equal Pay Act by providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work.
This year Working Mother Magazine named Susan as “Best of Congress” for the second consecutive Congress. She was recognized for creating a family-friendly office and for her leadership on women’s health issues. Susan was very proud to have her office profiled in Working Mother Magazine for her commitment to work-life balance! To read the article click here.
Women in the Military
Women are serving in capacities like never before and performing admirably in our military. As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, Susan has long been an advocate for our female military service members, as well as for our military families. She travels to Afghanistan regularly in order to spend time with active servicewomen. She also continues advocating for the need to include women in combat arms roles in the military, and reaches out regularly to our military families to better understand their needs.
As then-chairwoman of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, Susan continues an intense examination of sexual assault in the military by holding a series of hearings. Past hearings have looked at victim advocacy and support, as well as the prevention programs put in place by the DOD as well as findings and recommendations of the Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services. Following those hearings, Susan led the historic effort to include a stand-alone title within the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, the most comprehensive package of legislative proposals addressing sexual assault in the military in the Committee’s history.
Bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues
For over thirty years, the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues has served as a bipartisan Members’ organization dedicated to promoting women's economic, health, legal, and educational interests. The Caucus serves as both a legislative resource on women's issues and an advocate on behalf of those issues.
Bipartisanship is a key component of both the Caucus' strength and success. Democratic and Republican Congresswomen are committed to improving the lives of women and families through their participation in the Women’s Caucus, putting their partisan differences aside to do so.
Susan has been a member of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues since coming to Congress. She is proud to Chair the Caucus’ Women in the Military/Veterans Task Force and has been active in organizing and attending Caucus events. Susan has also been a strong advocate for women’s health care legislation and increasing educational opportunities for girls.
For more information on the Women’s Caucus, please click here.
Women in Congress
The Office of the Clerk has created an interactive website for the recently released third edition of Women in Congress, featuring historical essays, member profiles, artifacts, and statistical data about the women who have served and are serving as Members of Congress since 1917.