Annie’s column, published in the Concord Monitor, Huffington Post, Daily Kos and Patch.com in February 2012:
For the past 25 years as an adoption attorney, I have witnessed the extraordinary courage and compassion of women – from age 14 to 40 – facing unplanned pregnancy. Not once did I believe that the government should interfere with their personal and private decision. In fact, I believe in less government interference in people’s personal lives, including whom to marry, when and whether to bear a child and how to raise kind and compassionate children.
But now, Congressman Charlie Bass and N.H. House Speaker Bill O’Brien want to deny access to family planning and impose their own religious beliefs on our most private and personal family decisions. For over a decade, health insurers in New Hampshire have included family planning in our health care coverage, including prescription birth control pills and the accompanying physician visits. For over a decade, no one has raised any objection to this provision.
The truth is that contraception saves lives, prevents unplanned pregnancies, improves outcomes for children and reduces the number of abortions. As an adoption attorney, I know firsthand how difficult and how private these choices are for New Hampshire women. Now, thanks to health care reform, women across the country with private health insurance have access to family planning, including birth control, without additional expense to their family budget. Women will make their own private decisions about when and whether to raise a child and children will be raised in loving, supportive families. Everyone wins.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “99% of all sexually experienced women have used some method of contraception.” Congressman Bass and Speaker O’Brien partnering up to repeal the birth control coverage benefit will roll back one of the biggest advancements for women’s health under the guise of respecting religious freedom. No one—not Congressman Bass nor Speaker O’Brien—should be able to pick and choose the health care women in New Hampshire can access under their private health insurance coverage.
I stand with the majority of Americans who believe that women will make the right choice for their families and everyone will win.
Equal pay for equal work
This is an edited speech from the New Hampshire Women United rally on Saturday April 28, published on Daily Kos, Blue Hampshire, and Patch.com
Standing up for women right now could not be more important.
The Republicans here in Concord and down in Washington D.C. would have us believe that the War on Women is a phony war. Michele Bachmann and Fox News would have us believe that the whole thing is “political fiction.”
But women – and the men who love them – know that this is not fiction. Whether we are talking about access to affordable birth control, feeling safe from violence in our homes, or being able to earn the same amount of money as our male counterparts, these are rights that all people deserve and they are being threatened.
And the War on Women is not just about women – it’s about putting the squeeze on the middle class.
In New Hampshire women earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man, and women are increasingly carrying the financial burden to support their families. Most families rely on two incomes to make ends meet, and when a woman earns less we put working families at a huge disadvantage. Despite this, politicians and pundits on the right refuse to come out publicly in support of equal pay for women. Here in New Hampshire, Republicans are saying that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is nothing more than a “handout to trial lawyers.”
And now Republicans in Congress are holding up passage of the Violence Against Women Act, an act that gives additional protection to victims of abuse as well as their children.
The extreme positions being advocated by the radical right will roll back the clock on women’s rights and access to the wages and healthcare we need.
As many of you know, for the past 25 years as an adoption attorney, I have represented women – from age 14 to 40, from students in junior high school to juniors in college, living in cars and living in prestigious neighborhoods – who face unplanned pregnancy. Every time, I witnessed the courage, compassion and conviction that women across the country face every day.
Thanks to the United States Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, women have the choice – the personal, private and legal choice – to decide their future.
There is more we can do. Thanks to health reform, women across the country with private insurance can get birth control without paying out of pocket. This lets women make the health care decisions that are right for them and puts every one of us in charge of our own reproductive health. I know firsthand how painful these choices are, and these are the steps that will prevent so many women from having to face this challenge. Unfortunately Republicans in Concord and in Washington D.C. don’t see it that way, and would rather make it more difficult for women to get access to birth control.
The War on Women is fundamentally about women and the men who love them, not about politics. This is about our grandmothers, our mothers, our sisters, sons and daughters, and the kind of life they all deserve.
It is not enough for us to stand up – we need to push back. Women are 51% of active voters in New Hampshire, and this November we have to tell members of the far right here in Concord and in Washington that enough is enough.
We have to get involved, we have to be engaged, and most important of all we have to vote. It’s true that things need to change – and to quote Sweet Honey In The Rock, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
Fairness in our tax code
The following statement on the Buffett Rule was made on April 12, 2012.
The Buffett Rule represents a balanced approach to our tax system and would insure that people earning more than $1 million per year pay their fair share to reduce the deficit.
When Granite Staters pay their taxes this week, they should know that all citizens are sharing the burden and that the budget will not be balanced on the backs of middle class Americans.
Republicans’ priorities are clear, they once again voted for the Ryan budget that ends Medicare as we know it while cutting taxes for the wealthy. I will bring fair solutions to the problems facing our country and will fight to protect New Hampshire families, seniors and Medicare.