There are some in Congress who want to repeal the last 50 years’ worth of advances in reproductive rights for women, whether it’s through legislation or by cutting funding for vital women’s health services such as Planned Parenthood. I will continue to stand with women and make sure that their right to reproductive choice is protected.
I offered an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to increase funding by $4 million for programs to reduce the backlog of rape kits at law enforcement agencies. The House of Representatives passed the amendment, and it later passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by President Obama on 12/18/15.
Additionally, I have cosponsored many pieces of legislation regarding victims of sexual assault and domestic violence including the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, the Domestic Violence Safety Plan Grant Program Act of 2015, and the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act. These bills would make it a right for sexual assault survivors to have a rape kit preserved for as long as an assailant could be prosecuted under the law, establish a grant program to promote and teach relatives, friends, and co-workers how to combat domestic violence, and create an incentive for states to prohibit rapists from seeking custody of children conceived through rape.
Equality in the workplace is very important to me. I cosponsored of the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen the Equal Pay Act by providing effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work and protecting employees from retaliation for sharing salary information with their coworkers. I also cosponsored the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requiring employers to make reasonable, low-cost, non-disruptive accommodations to employees who have limitations stemming from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer.
Access to safe and affordable healthcare is a crucial issue for women. I am a cosponsor of the Affordability is Access Act. This bill clarifies that if the Food and Drug Administration approves an over-the-counter oral contraception, that insurance companies would still be required to cover it without a prescription.
In addition, I am a cosponsor of the Fund Essential Menstruation (FEM) Products Act. This bill allows feminine hygiene products to be purchased with funds from a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account.
In June 2014, I wrote to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell to encourage the Department to ensure that women have access to breast feeding services. Specifically, he called on the Department to:
Take whatever further action may be necessary to ensure that women receive the breastfeeding benefits guaranteed by law
Ensure that women have access to breastfeeding equipment and lactation counseling.
Ensure that Qualified Health Plans in states that use federal certification are fully compliant with the lactation services and supplies requirement;
Encourage states to enforce the ACA’s lactation services and supplies requirement;
Educate insurers about their obligation to make breastfeeding supports available without cost-sharing, including through out-of-network providers when the plan has not established a network of lactation providers;
Engage with key stakeholders to reexamine coverage standards, such as the public facing materials that allow plans to provide coverage for a manual breast pump, and develop new guidance that ensures the benefit actually meets women’s needs; and
Increase consumer education and awareness about the benefits of the ACA, including breastfeeding coverage, so more women can access these important benefits and can appeal insurance company decisions if their plan does not comply with the law.
I am a cosponsor of the Women Veterans Access to Quality Care Act of 2015 to ensure that our female veterans are taken care of both at home and oversea. This bipartisan bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish standards that require the characteristics necessary to meet the gender-specific health care needs of veterans, including privacy, safety, and dignity, to integrate such standards into its prioritization and methodology.
More on Women's Issues
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen joined Congresswoman Alma Adams, PhD, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood and more than 30 other members of Congress as founding members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, today voted for, and the House passed, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), which preserves and improves protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The vote was 263 to 158.
Congressman Cohen made the following statement:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted for, and the House passed, H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which strengthens and closes loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act, including providing effective remedies for women who are not being paid equal pay for equal work. The vote was 242 to 187.
Congressman Cohen made the following statement:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) watched President Trump’s second State of the Union message to Congress on television at his office in the Rayburn House Office Building and released the following statement:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, today praised the use of DNA evidence to win a conviction against the perpetrator of an 18-year-old rape that occurred in southwest Memphis.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Head Start have awarded Porter-Leath, formerly known as the Children’s Bureau, two grants totaling more than $3.1 million to further their work in early childhood development.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, expressed his opposition to President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, saying he fears it will move the nation’s highest court further to the right and undermine important civil rights. He made the following statement:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, released the following statement in response to today’s 5-4 ruling in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today introduced legislation to address America’s unacceptably high infant mortality rate with concrete measures in the Nationally Enhancing the Wellbeing of Babies through Outreach and Research Now (NEWBORN) Act.
WASHNGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) condemned the Trump Administration policy change that has separated nearly 2,000 children from their parents along the Mexican border in recent weeks. He made the following statement: