This year, Louise was named one of the most influential women in Congress and she has used her influence to advocate for women’s rights and equality. Louise is a leading voice on equal pay, equal access to healthcare, and equal protections under the law. She has earned a long list of victories for equality and never backs down when it comes to ensuring that women have a fair playing field.

Economic Equality

Louise believes it is wrong that women are still paid less than men for doing the same work. A report by the Center for American Progress found that 62 percent of workers earning minimum wage are women. And women who worked full time only earned, on average, 77 cents for every dollar men earned. African American women earned only 64 cents and Latinas earned only 56 cents for each dollar earned by a white man. That isn’t right. Louise believes that equal work deserves equal pay. It’s why she was a lead co-sponsor of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2009. Louise is also a strong supporter of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would ensure equal pay for equal work.

Louise believes we need family-friendly policies, like paid family and sick leave. She also supports raising the minimum wage, which would overwhelmingly affect women, since two thirds of low-wage workers in America are women.

Reproductive Rights

Louise is the co-chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus and a strong defender of a woman’s constitutional right to choose. She has fought hard against anti-choice legislation and attacks on women’s reproductive freedoms. In response to the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Supreme Court case, Louise introduced the Not My Boss’s Business Bill, which would prevent corporations from denying women access to federally mandated health services. Louise has also led the fight against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, which at its core is an effort to take vital health services away from millions of Americans and the one in five American women who have utilized Planned Parenthood for health services.

Violence Against Women Act

Louise Slaughter is an original co-author of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which has reduced cases of domestic violence by 67 percent since 1994. In 2013, she led the effort to reauthorize the law to include immigrant, LGBTQ, and Native American survivors of domestic violence.

Pioneering Research on Women’s Health

It is hard to believe, but prior to 1993, all clinical trials at the National Institute of Health (NIH) were conducted only on white men. That meant diseases that predominantly affect women, like breast cancer and ovarian cancer, or those that disproportionately affect communities of color, such as sickle cell anemia, were not being researched properly.

Louise secured the first $500 Million in federal funds to breast cancer research at NIH, and passed the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993, which required the NIH to include women and communities of color in all human subject research.

Equal Access to Affordable Healthcare

Louise was instrumental in the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Before the ACA, domestic violence was considered a pre-existing condition and insurance companies could deny coverage in eight states and Washington, DC. The ACA provides vital health services like well-women visits, breast and cervical cancer screenings, domestic violence screenings, and a full range of contraceptive methods. Among other important measures, it also ended the practice of charging women more than men for the same health insurance policies.

Stopping Sexual Assault In The Military

Louise Slaughter has led efforts to stop sexual assault in our military and has supported sexual assault survivors throughout her time in Congress. In the early 1990’s, she held one of the first hearings on the issue to shine a light on the problem and encourage the Department of Defense to act. In 2011, provisions of her bill were included in law she wrote that allows survivors to transfer from the base of their attacker right away so they can seek justice in a safe environment. Louise has also successfully lobbied for full funding for the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. Louise continues to push the Department of Defense to focus on ending sexual assault in the military.