The Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus today held a press conference to discuss several pieces of legislation focused on advancing rights and opportunities in all aspects of women’s lives.
“Women are a majority of the population and can make a difference when we unite behind legislation that will improve lives of women and families,” said State Representative Nancy Garland (D-New Albany), Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “Women’s History Month is a great time to refocus our attention on common-sense policies designed to support, benefit and encourage the advancement of women here in Ohio.”
Several bills recently introduced by members of the Women’s Caucus help ensure all women have access to quality healthcare, including HB 419, the CARE Act; HB 281, the Prevention First Act; and HB 412, to establish health insurance exchanges in Ohio. All three bills were introduced by State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood).
“We must continue to support Ohio women’s right to access basic healthcare and accurate information regarding their healthcare decisions,” Rep. Antonio said. “These rights should not be legislated away nor used as a political football. Women’s lives hang in the balance.”
Members of Women’s Caucus have also introduced legislation to protect Ohio women and families from violations of their right to safety and security. HB 262, sponsored by State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), aims to stop human sex trafficking in Ohio and to protect young women and girls from being forced into sexual slavery.
“Human trafficking victims are more likely to have HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and are more likely to suffer from mental illness,” Rep. Fedor said. “And the average trafficking victim wants to leave prostitution but can’t.”
A woman’s right to security also extends to security in her own home. State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) is cosponsoring HB 103, a bill to protect victims of domestic violence by keeping their home addresses confidential. Additionally, State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) is cosponsoring HB 105, legislation to protect and support domestic violence victims by guaranteeing their rights to safety at home and at work.
“Survivors of domestic violence deserve to live safe from their abusers. I truly hope Ohio can join 37 other states by enacting this important Address Confidentiality Program legislation,” said Rep. Clyde.
“Victims’ advocates have said that stability in housing and employment are the largest hurdles in keeping their lives together, staying safe and protecting their children,” said Rep. Driehaus. “We need to empower victims so they know it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to ask for time off, it’s okay to ask for new locks, and it’s okay to leave when their safety or their children’s safety are at risk.”
In addition to discussing the many pieces of women-focused legislation, the members of the Women’s Caucus reinforced their commitment to creating good-paying, long-term jobs for Ohio’s women through job creation measures such as the Local Government Jobs Fund and the Small Business Working Capital Loan Program.