Washington Community Action Network and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington blocked foot traffic near the Capitol Campus sundial on President’s Day to call attention to state legislators’ efforts this session to stand in the way of women’s reproductive and economic equality.
“We continue to see widening disparities in wealth and income between men and women; the gap is even more devastating among women of color,” said Mary Le Nguyen, Washington CAN Co-Executive Director. “Raising the statewide minimum wage is a necessary step towards eliminating that gap.”
This year, Rep. Jay Rodne, Sen. Steve O’Ban and Sen. Michael Baumgartner, among others, have supported draconian legislation that would roll back women’s rights in Washington state, while standing in the way of legislation that would abolish workplace penalties for pregnancy, raise the minimum wage, support pay equity for men and women, and expand access to women’s health care.
Specifically, Republicans in the legislature have sponsored legislation to ban sex-selective abortion, a back-door attempt to place new restrictions on abortion that would force doctors to serve as law-enforcement officers rather than caregivers. Legislation has also tried to eliminate funding for abortion care for low-income women in Washington, by eliminating state Medicaid coverage for abortion with no exceptions for rape and incest.
“We need lawmakers in Olympia who stand with women by supporting legislation like the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which gives pregnant workers the ability to stay on the job and have a healthy pregnancy, instead of standing in the way by supporting back-door abortion bans and age restrictions on birth control,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Washington Executive Director Rachel Berkson. “Legislation that restricts women’s access to health care has no place in Washington state.”
These legislators have stood in the way of women’s economic and reproductive rights by blocking or refusing to support bills that would provide 12 months of birth control at a time to eliminate the need for monthly trips to the drugstore and legislation that would give pharmacists the ability to prescribe birth control directly.
Stand With Women is a national campaign calling on our elected leaders to expand access to women’s health care, abolish workplace penalties for pregnancy and caregiving, raise wages to ensure pay equity between men and women, and invest in women and families by funding affordable child care and education.