CT News Junkie, April 3, 2012
By Michael Lee-Murphy
If success has a thousand fathers, it may well count a few mothers as well, as over 20 people gathered behind a podium Monday to announce that a new study has determined Connecticut is the best state in the nation for women.
The Capitol press conference featured members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation, along with state lawmakers and advocates from across the state.
The study, by the website iVillage, found that Connecticut’s women far the best “in an aggregate picture that includes healthcare coverage, education, economic well being, parenting support systems, and percentage of women in elected office,” according to a press release from the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, flanked by U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro and John Larson, joined members of the state’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women to say that although Connecticut may be the best state in the country for women, the fight goes in “the war on women’s health.”
“This rating ought to be a call to action, not a cause for complacency. Because make no mistake: we are in the midst of a war on women’s healthcare. We see it in washington. We cannot ignore what’s happening in Washington at our peril, because it is our war as well,” Blumenthal said.
DeLauro, the only woman in the state’s congressional delegation and its “dean” and “princess-warrior” according to Larson, said that the state legislature and the PCSW have led the nation in “pro-family policies,” referencing the 1987 Family and Medical Leave Act and last year’s paid sick days law.
“Women are the bulk of minimum wage workers and obviously [paid sick days legislation] helps everyone, but I think they’re feeling the burden most of all,” she said after the press conference.
She stood in front of posters showing that women still only make 76 cents for every dollar that men make and make up only 31 percent of the state legislature.
“Progress and change does not come through pride, but through an unflinching recognition of the many problems we still face,” she said.
“And, as we have seen in Washington lately, women’s health and basic rights still come under continual attack from some corners.”
DeLauro characterized the constitutional challenge to the national health care reform law as a further attack on women’s health.
Women “can no longer be denied coverage due to pre-existing condition, or because they have had a child, a c-section, or been the victims of domestic violence” under the new law she said.
Many of the politicians referenced the work of Planned Parenthood in their remarks.
“If you know anything about what Planned Parenthood does in Connecticut, it’s on the frontlines it in the trenches in providing mammograms cervical screening and all kinds of cancer care. I’ve cited in on the floor of the United States Senate when I speak about this issue,” Blumenthal said.
Judy Tabar, the president of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, was on hand to accept the accolades.
She said that one out of every four teen girls suffers from a sexually transmitted infection, and that the number soars to one in two for minority teens.
The Hartford press conference fell just hours after a Planned Parenthood office in Wisconsin was bombed.
Both DeLauro and Blumenthal used the same word to describe U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal with regards to women’s health: devastating.
“It would be devastating for the country, devastating for women,” DeLauro said.
“This continuing assault on women’s health care is reflected in the Ryan budget and its part and parcel with what the agenda seems to be on the right wing.”