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Women's Rights

Rep. Chu honoring local Women of Distinction

When women succeed, we all succeed. That is why I am fighting so that women who do the same work as men earn equal pay. Taking care of a sick child or going through pregnancy should not mean having to lose out on badly needed funds. And healthcare choices should be made by women, not their employers.

Fighting to Protect Women's Access to Reproductive Health

In recent years, numerous state legislatures took action to impede a woman’s constitutional right to access safe, legal abortions. Between 2011 and 2013, more state abortion restrictions were enacted than in the entire previous decade. In 2013 alone, 22 states enacted 70 provisions seeking to restrict access to abortion services. Many of these restrictions have nothing to do with women’s health or safety, instead they prescribe specific size requirements for buildings or require admitting privileges at hospitals for physicians performing abortions at outpatient clinics. Its no surprise that the number of states that are hostile to women’s rights grew to 27 states compared to the 13 states in 2000.  As a result, women in states like Texas must travel 300 miles back and forth to obtain abortion services, and some doctors there are reporting that desperate women are performing self-induced abortions due to lack of access.  

That is why I introduced H.R. 3471, the Women’s Health Protection Act. This bill creates federal protections against state laws that fail to protect women’s health and that intrude upon personal decision-making. It prohibits medically unwarranted restrictions that single out abortion services or the facilities that provide them. In doing so, women will have access to safe, legal abortion services, and this constitutional right will no longer hinge upon the state in which they reside.

Helping Women Victims of Violence
The terrible circumstances in which a woman finds herself as the victim of domestic violence should not be exacerbated by a lack of resources for those who are trying to help her.  Recent events in the news have reinvigorated discussion not only about why someone stayed, but also about what was available when they left. This is one of the reasons why I fought to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The new law authorizes $659 million a year over five years for programs that strengthen the criminal justice system’s response to crimes against women and some men, such as transitional housing, legal assistance, law enforcement training and hotlines. And because many immigrant women are afraid to report their abusers because they are afraid of being deported, I fought to make sure immigrant victims of violence would be protected by a special U visa program.

Supporting Women-Owned Small Businesses
As a member of the Small Business Committee, I am constantly thinking about how we can get more women-owned small businesses to benefit from the federal government, which is one of the largest contractors in the nation.  In 2013, the federal government bought goods and services worth over $460 billion.  However, due to the sheer complexity of the system, it is often difficult for small businesses, and especially women-owned businesses, to gain a foot-hold in the federal procurement system.  

The federal government has a goal to award 5 percent of the contracts to women-owned businesses. I find this to be shockingly low, but I'm disappointed that the federal government has not ever achieved that goal. In fact, women-owned businesses only received 4.3 percent or $15.4 billion of all federal contracts.  And, when you consider women make up more than half of the U.S. population and a third of all businesses nationwide, we can do better.
So this year, I fought to help increase the number of government contracts awarded to women-owned small businesses. I offered an amendment that would raise the goal of federal contracts awarded to women-owned small business from 5 percent to 6 percent.
While the amendment failed on a party-line vote in Committee, I will continue to fight to improve this situation because it is imperative that the government opens up its doors to women-owned small businesses.  

Working for a Women's Economic Agenda
I am pushing for a Women’s Economic Agenda, which would bring today's policies on minimum wage, child care and paid leave into the modern age. The fact is that today, women still earn just 77 cents for every dollar their men earn. This must change since women make up nearly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers and with wages at historic lows.

We must also improve access to affordable childcare. Too many women have to choose between a paycheck and making sure that their children are properly cared for. Nearly two-thirds of women in the workforce today have pre-school aged children. The average cost of child care – for just one child – ranges from $4,000 to $12,000.  For a single mother bringing home about $15,000 a year in a minimum wage job, this is simply out of reach.

I also believe that it’s time for the U.S. to join the 145 other countries who offer workers paid sick days. Our country is one of four countries that don't offer paid leave to new mothers.  I am pushing for policies that would make paid sick leave, and paid family and medical leave the standard in this country.  

If we could tackle these issues, if we could improve the economic situation for 50% of Americans, we could improve the economy of this whole country.  Said another way, “If Women Succeed, America succeeds.”

More on Women's Rights

July 10, 2018 Press Release

Washington, DC — Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement on President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court:

June 26, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), alongside Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus Co-Chairs Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-NY) released the following statement after the Supreme Court Decision on National Institute of Family and Life Advocates vs. Becerra:

October 19, 2017 In The News

If passed, the “Protect Access to Birth Control Act” — introduced by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in the Senate, as well as Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) in t

October 19, 2017 Press Release

Washington, DC -- Four House leaders on women’s rights today introduced a bill to block recent Trump administration moves to limit women's access to birth control. Co-chairs of the Congressional Pro Choice Caucus Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY), along with Judy Chu (D-CA) and chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group Lois Frankel (D-FL), authored the Protect Access to Birth Control Act to safeguard this right for every woman in America.

May 31, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, an interim final Trump Administration rule that would allow any employer to be exempt from the requirement to provide health insurance that includes contraception was leaked to the public. Reps.

May 18, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Reps. Judy Chu (CA-27), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Jackie Speier (CA-14) sent a letter to Ivanka Trump inviting her to a meeting on women’s health issues, including access to affordable contraception.

April 28, 2017 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – April 29, 2017 marks the 100th day of President Trump’s presidency, a marker used for every President since Franklin Roosevelt. Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement regarding the impact of President Trump’s first one hundred days:

March 21, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Judy Chu, Diana DeGette, Louise Slaughter, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, Suzan DelBene, Jerrold Nadler and Katherine Clark today blasted Republicans’ latest changes to their disastrous healthcare repeal bill, which threatens the health and well-being of women and families. Under the latest version of the Republican bill, states would be allowed to kick new mothers off Medicaid if they can’t find work within 60 days of giving birth.

March 2, 2017 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Exactly one year after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the most significant reproductive rights case since Roe v. WadeWhole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt – U.S. Representative Judy Chu (CA-27), was joined by Representatives Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11), Lois Frankel (D-FL-22), and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act today.