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Senate Democratic Conference Announces Upcoming Events to Discuss and Advocate for Women’s Issues

Senate Democratic Conference Announces Upcoming Events to Discuss and Advocate for Women’s Issues

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Published by: New York State Senate Democratic Conference on May 09, 2012
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For Immediate Release
: May 9, 2012
Contact
: Gary Ginsburg | garykginsburg@gmail.com | 518-817-6193
Senate Democratic Conference Announces Upcoming Events to Discuss andAdvocate for Women
s Issues
 Events will Highlight Need for Legislative Action to Confront the
“ 
War onWomen
 
(Albany, NY)
 – 
The Senate Democratic Conference today announced a series of events tohighlight issues currently facing women in New York. Additionally these roundtables andforums will focus on legislation currently proposed in the Senate regarding pay equity, equaleconomic opportunities for women, health and reproductive rights, and protection from domesticviolence.
In light of the Senate Republicans
refusal to bring much needed legislation to the floor for avote, our conference will be conducting open forums and roundtables to ensure these bills andissues are discussed in public,
 
Conference Leader Senator John Sampson
said.
Throughoutthe country we are seeing the hard-won rights of women being infringed and outright stolen. Wehave an obligation as legislators to take a stand against this radical agenda and not simplyprovide assurances for these rights, but also expand them to provide better safeguards andprotections for New York State women.
 As a national
war against women
continues to be waged in Congress and state capitolsthroughout the country, the Senate Democratic Conference is standing up to continue NewYork 
s proud tradition of progressive leadership. The conference rejects the notion that equalrights and protections for women is a polarizing issue, and therefore is reaching out across theaisle to Senate Republicans to be active participants in the upcoming events.A roundtable will be held by Senator Liz Krueger to discuss pay equity and economicopportunities for New York State women. This event will focus on legislation designed topromote fairness and help stimulate and strengthen our state
s economic recovery throughhelping women enter or remain in the workplace and ensure their equal rights and fair pay. Bygrowing the workforce and providing funds for training opportunities, New York can achievelong-term economic growth and fiscal security.
Fairness and economic growth go hand in hand, and it
s time for the State Senate to get off thesidelines and work for both,
said
Senator Liz Krueger
.
Women earn less than men doing thesame work, and women are disproportionately represented in low-wage jobs. Eliminating thewage gap and helping New York 
s women pursue higher-wage jobs are key steps both forfairness and for the kind of economic growth that will benefit New York 
s working families.
 
 
 
Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson will preside over a forum to discuss the issue of providingadditional protections to the victims of domestic violence. The forum will focus on the need toreform and improve the criminal justice system
s responses to domestic violence-related offensesand protect victims of domestic violence from further assaults by their attackers.
The issue of addressing and ending domestic violence and reforming the criminal justice systemshould not turn on whether you are a Democrat or a Republican,
 
Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson
said.
The issue should be decided on what is good for the people of the State of New York and how to tailor public policy to advance the safety of our children and familymembers who may be victims of abuse and violence. Our public forums will give advocates andmembers of the public the opportunity to present their ideas for effective public policy. We inviteeverybody concerned with domestic violence issues to join us in Albany.
 A forum will be hosted by Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins on women
s health issues andconcerns. Legislation will be discussed at this forum which focuses on improving andmodernizing New York 
s public health laws. The forum will not only examine current attacks onwomen
s reproductive rights, but will also discuss bills not yet brought before the Senate for avote which have a direct impact on all aspects of women
s health.
It
s time to have a real conversation about the specific health needs of New York 
s women,
 said
Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins
.
This forum will bring issues such as reproductivehealth, breast and cervical cancer screening and other women
s health matters to the forefront.Indeed, many states have proposed or enacted measures that threaten the system of care thataddresses women
s unique health needs. It is more important than ever that New York stand upand affirm the rights of women to access these critical health services.
 These three events will highlight critical issues facing New York State women, as well asmultiple pieces of legislation that will address these problems when enacted. Unfortunately,these bills have not yet been brought before the entire Senate for a vote. It is the hope of theDemocratic Conference that following these roundtables and forums and after hearing fromadvocates, experts and concerned New Yorkers, the Senate Majority will agree that these are notpartisan or controversial issues, but simply matters of equal rights and protections.
There are some on the other side of aisle who say that Democrats have manufactured a phony
war on women.
There
s nothing phony about women making $0.77 on the dollar compared tomen,
 
Senator Toby Stavisky
said.
There
s nothing phony about state legislatures trying tocriminalize a women
s right to make healthcare decisions for herself. There
s nothing phonyabout Congressional Republicans dragging their feet on reauthorizing the Violence AgainstWomen Act. This
war on women
is real, it has real consequences, and we
re not going to standidly by while a generation
s progress towards equality is threatened. Equality for one meansequality for all
 – 
and that includes women.
 
By defending the rights of women we are defending the rights of everyone. There is no rationalbasis for the blatant disregard against the rights of women as evidenced in legislation proposedby lawmakers in some states, and even in Congress
 
Senator Velmanette Montgomery
said.
 
 
New York State, a progressive State, should set a national example on this issue. I applaudSenator Krueger, Senator Stewart-Cousins, and Senator Hassell-Thompson for chairing theseforums and I join with my leader, Senator Sampson, in calling on the Majority to attend andbring women
s legislation to the Senate floor during this session.
 
Now more than ever, we recognize that advances in women
s rights cannot be taken forgranted,
 
Senator Suzi Oppenheimer
said.
These forums focus attention on important issuessuch as pay equity, reproductive freedom, and domestic violence prevention that impact womenof all ages and circumstances.
 
The Women
s Suffrage movement started in New York in the 19
th
century and achieved manyaccomplishments,
said
Senator Shirley L. Huntley
.
However, in the 21
st
century women arestill struggling to attain a level and fair playing field in relation to pay equity, employment, andhealth rights. It is imperative that issues that affect a woman
s life and opportunity to succeed arehigh priorities for those engaged in policy decisions across New York State.
 
M. Tracey Brooks, President and CEO of Family Planning Advocates
, said,
We applaud theSenate Democratic Conference for the leadership it has shown in advancing legislation importantto New York 
s women, especially in the face of the anti-women
s agenda in other parts of thecountry and in Congress. It is common sense that when a woman is safe, healthy andcompensated fairly, she is a greater contributor to the economic stability of her family, hercommunity and the state. Our hope is that the planned forums will raise awareness of theseissues and bring much-needed legislation to a vote in the Senate, including the ReproductiveHealth Act. Seven out of 10 New York voters support passage of the Reproductive Health Actwhich will guarantee a woman can make her own personal, private health care decisions,especially when her health is endangered during pregnancy.
 
Sonia Ossorio, President of the National Organization for Women in New York City
, said,
If working class women earned dollar for dollar what men earned, poverty rates in New York would be cut in half. Pervasive stereotyping about care-giving responsibilities impact salaries,pay increases, and promotions and women bear the brunt of it. Equal pay in the work place is notonly a right earned by all women, but it is also the right way to strengthen New York 
seconomy.
 
Andrea Miller, President of NARAL Pro-Choice New York
, said,
We applaud the senatorswho are confronting the
War on Women
by continuing New York 
s strong tradition of bipartisan leadership on issues that help strengthen New York 
s women and families. Access toquality reproductive health care is central to our ability to be healthy and control the trajectoriesof our lives. New York has a singular opportunity this year to improve the health of its residentsand set an example for the rest of the country to follow. Passing the Reproductive Health Act thisyear will mean that women will be able to make their own personal, private health caredecisions, especially when their health is in danger. While other states are rolling back the clock on reproductive rights, New York can - and should - be moving the ball forward.
 
Dina Bakst and Sherry Leiwant, Co-Presidents of A Better Balance
, said,
A Better Balancecommends the Senate Democratic Conference for hosting a series of roundtables to highlight

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