Leslie believes it is time for women to be treated as full citizens. They deserve equal pay. It is disturbing that women still receive 20% less pay than men, 80 cents on the dollar. Women of color receive even less. This kind of discrimination is illegal. John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law in 1963. But it must be strengthened and given teeth. Too many women are heads of households and breadwinners. We must not defund the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and must allow the EEOC to collect pay information through the Employer Information Report. Otherwise, we operate in the dark. Leslie supports the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Gender wage discrimination has a severe impact on older women. According to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, 22 million older women receive Social Security benefits but receive, on average, $300 a month less than men. Leslie wants to help change that and supports the Eleanor's Hope initiative to promote women's retirement security. She also wants to equalize Social Security rules for disabled widows.
Women’s reproductive rights are under threat from the Trump administration and its allies in Congress. The irrational attacks on Planned Parenthood mean cruel and unusual punishment for millions of poor women. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that denying Planned Parenthood federal funding for one year will result in thousands of unwanted pregnancies. It will increase Medicaid spending by 21 million.
Under the Affordable Care Act, contraception was provided to poor women for next to nothing. Because of this, as of 2014, abortions declined to a record low. For the first time since 1975, the abortion rate in the US fell to under a million. Publicly funded family planning visits saved state and federal governments over 13 billion dollars a year. Let’s respect a woman’s right to choose.
Leslie wants to end Trump’s global gag rule. The rule denies US foreign aid to NGOs that provide sexual and reproductive health services, such as contraception and HIV testing, to women abroad. This is barbaric and should be reversed.
The proposed bills to demolish the Affordable Care Act have casually slashed maternity and newborn coverage, now regarded as essential care. This affects at least 9 million women. Whatever the final bill is, Leslie, a mother of three, will work to restore this coverage.