As a result of the Affordable Care Act, women are no longer denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies are also prohibited from charging women more for simply being a woman.
The ACA also included two of Susan’s bills on women’s health – the Medicaid Birth Center Reimbursement Act and the WOMAN Act.
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.
Birth centers are part of a vital safety net for Medicaid mothers across the country. However, over the past few years, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has begun disallowing federal matching funds for state Medicaid payments for freestanding birth center facility fees. 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.
As a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus, 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. Susan is standing up to the constant assault on women’s health care, including recent efforts to slash federal funding to health clinics were millions of women get access to critical health care services. Cutting funding to important programs that provide these services only hurt women’s health.
She continues to oppose attempts to roll back on choice for women. In addition, Susan is a proud cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill to put a stop to ongoing efforts to place unnecessary and excessive restrictions on women’s reproductive rights.
The ACA gives women access to contraceptive services without an additional co-pay. As a mother, Susan understands the financial burdens that women face every day. In Congress, she continues to fights against efforts to cut federal funding to these vital services.
Equality and Opportunity
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 – the law makes it easier to sue over gender discrimination in the workplace. She is also fighting for the enactment of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide a much-needed update to the Equal Pay Act by providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work.
Susan is an original cosponsor of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, such as permission to use a stool while working a cash register or carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated, or temporary reassignment to lighter duty tasks. It will also prevent employers from forcing women out on leave. These protections would allow pregnant women to keep working and supporting their families while maintaining healthy pregnancies.
A longtime supporter of the rights of women, Susan is a leader in Congress on women’s issues. In each Congress, she is a cosponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment to ensure the equality of all Americans regardless of gender.
When the House passed an update on career and technical education, Susan made sure that language from her Equity in Career and Technical Education Act was included. These provisions will help close the equity gap to ensure all students - especially historically disadvantaged and vulnerable students - have the opportunity to succeed.
Women in the Military
Women are serving in capacities like never before and performing admirably throughout our military. As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, Susan has long been an advocate for our female servicemembers.
Susan supported fully integrating women into combat roles. Women have proven time again throughout our history that when given the opportunity, they can and will succeed. The U.S. military has successfully used the talents and skills of women in every war our nation has fought; from Women Air Service pilots in WWII to female engagement teams in Afghanistan who have assisted in combat missions.
Now that the U.S. military has opened all jobs to women, there are no longer limits to the contribution a person makes to national security. Our military will continue to have the highest standards based on performance and capability, enabling our men and women the best opportunity to contribute to their full potential.
Susan created an annual Mother’s Day trip to Afghanistan where women in Congress have an opportunity to spend time with deployed servicewomen. These trips also include meetings with female members of the Afghan National Army and women in the Afghan Parliament.
As ranking member of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, Susan led an effort to put policies in place to prevent sexual assault in the ranks and to prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent. Moving forward, Susan will continue to press military leaders on the need to implement, enforce and improve upon the policies put in place to end sexual assault in our military.
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. Susan has also been a strong advocate for women’s health care legislation and increasing educational opportunities for girls. She has held events in her district to encourage girls to engage in the science, technical, engineering and mathematics fields.
For more information on the Women’s Caucus, please click here.
Women in Congress
The Office of the Clerk has created an interactive website on the women of 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.