Bill is pro-choice and proud to have consistently received a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Consistently, Bill has fought for the rights of women, both domestically on the House floor and internationally on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. One of his first acts as a newly-elected Member of Congress was to form a local Women’s Advisory Board. Comprised of female professionals, public servants, community leaders, and small businesswomen from across the Ninth District, its goal was to provide insight on how to best serve the female population of the South Shore, South Coast, Cape, and Islands.
Additionally, Bill strongly supports preserving Title X funding. Title X of the Public Health Service Act supports approximately 4,500 health centers nationwide. These centers are often the only access to preventive care like cancer screenings and HIV testing, as well as to family planning services, for low-income and uninsured individuals. It is one of the most cost-effective public health programs, saving nearly $4 in Medicaid-related costs for every $1 invested. Reversing recent cuts and restoring funding is needed to meet the increasing demand for care and to ensure that the safety net remains in place.
Bill is supportive of making preventative care available to health insurance plan holders without a copay, including women’s health services. He disagrees with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which held that closely-held for-profit corporations may be exempt from a law its owners religiously object to if there is a less restrictive means of furthering the law’s interest. Bill firmly believes that all health care decisions should be left to the individual and her doctor, and that a person’s employer has no place in such personal health care choices.
He is a proud cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which increases penalties for employers who fail to pay equal wages to men and women performing the same work. It would also create programs for training, research, technical assistance, and pay equity employer recognition awards. Furthermore, this legislation would make it more difficult for employers to avoid liability under the Fair Pay Act and would make sure that employees are protected from retaliation from their employers.
Bill believes that American workers should have paid family and sick, and understands how this issue often impacts women in a disproportionate way. For that reason, he is a strong supporter of the Family and Medical Leave Act, and is a cosponsor of the Healthy Families Act, which would provide workers the right to earn up to seven paid sick days each year. As nearly half of America’s private sector workers and over three-quarters of America’s food and public accommodations workers are denied even a single paid sick day per year, this legislation would go a long way to protect the health and job security of millions of working parents and caregivers.
An advocate for victims of domestic violence since his time as Norfolk County District Attorney and a long time White Ribbon Ambassador, Bill strongly supported the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization in 2013. Since the legislation was first passed, VAWA has helped combat domestic and sexual violence by ensuring protective orders are enforced, holding rapists accountable with stronger penalties, and helping victims get access to resources and support. The 2013 VAWA reauthorization expands federal protections to previously marginalized groups, such as the LGBT community, and permits Native American women assaulted on tribal lands to seek recourse through the tribal-court system.
In addition to opposing legislation that seeks to curb women’s rights, Bill has strongly supported bills that uphold women’s causes at home and abroad. Often, women and girls are at a social and economic disadvantage, being born into societies that enable gender-based discrimination and increase their vulnerability to poverty, violence, and limited access to an education.
As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Bill has consistently advocated for the expansion of access to maternal and prenatal care for women and children abroad, including countering attempts to prohibit financing for the United Nations Population Fund. He led a first-of-its-kind hearing of the Foreign Affairs Committee on women’s access to education and role in promoting security.
Additionally, he is a cosponsor of the Global Democracy Promotion Act, which would repeal the global gag rule and the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2013, which would promote sexual and reproductive health for individuals and couples in developing countries.
Bill believes that empowering and educating women by preserving their access to these basic human rights is a critical component of U.S. foreign policy and contributes to our own safety at home, because when you invest in women, they in turn can provide opportunities for future generations.