by Peggy Walsh
Women must vote on November 3rd, a crucial one for women and families. Many of the upcoming legislative decisions will affect the lives of women and their families. Our votes honor the suffragettes who fought bravely to obtain the vote for women in America in 1920, a mere 95 years ago. Each of us must regard our voting privilege as a duty to ensure that we elect representatives who will advocate for women and families.
The budget impasse continues with social service agencies and schools, especially those in underfunded districts, suffering the most. Women must send a clear message to legislators that their priority should be the welfare of our families, of our children.
Women’s economic status has a huge impact on the health of our families and, therefore, the health of our society. Women make up half of all workers on US payrolls; half of working mothers are the sole wage-earners in the family. Legislation that raises the minimum wage and demands fair pay will benefit these women.
In addition to fighting for a just, living wage, women also deal with the problem of finding affordable child care. Good child care is often unavailable or unaffordable, and nearly half of the women who work report that they do not get paid when they miss work to care for a sick child. Legislation such as the Family and Medical Leave Act will help these women to care properly for their children and keep sick children out of schools because caring mothers have no other options.
Why have so many legislators voted to defund Planned Parenthood with false claims that it is a federally funded abortion provider? The truth is that Planned Parenthood by law cannot use federal funding for abortions, which account for only 3% of the organizations total budget. What PP does provide is reproductive care for women who do not qualify for the ACA or who fall into the Medicaid gap because their governor has refused the federally funded expansion. These services include mammograms, regular gynecological examinations, and birth control. Certainly, effective birth control and family planning are the best realistic preventers of abortions.
And why do so many of those legislators, who would take away women’s reproductive rights, refuse to provide legislation that would create a safe environment for women and families? Gun legislation in PA rivals those in the most extreme NRA loving states. We are rated by Guns & Ammo magazine as more gun-friendly than any other of our mid-Atlantic neighbors. According to the Harrisburg Patriot News, we have more NRA members than any other state. Many of the guns that are used in Domestic Violence crimes are available because our lawmakers refuse to support sensible gun legislation. Women need to use their vote to support the brave legislators who have introduced bills that would begin to address common-sense regulations like universal background checks .
An Inquirer review of the movie Suffragette ends: “”If we now take a woman’s right to vote and to hold public office for granted, Suffragette reminds us that it wasn’t that long ago when . . . wives, mothers, factory workers, teachers artists, even the (few) female scientists and doctors—a hundred years past, not a one could choose the politicians who represented them in government, who wrote the laws.” We can honor the struggle of these courageous women. We must vote on November 3rd to secure a better future for women and families!
Peggy Walsh is a retired English teacher who is pleased to find a dedicated group of women who are committed to creating a safe, fair, and hopeful society for women and families. When she is not writing blogs, she is caring for her two grandchildren. Peggy keeps her hand in education through tutoring.