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Shaheen Reads Inspirational Book to Third Grade Class To Highlight Women’s History Month

 Shaheen School 2(Londonderry, NH) – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) visited Matthew Thornton Elementary School to read the book Grace for President to students to highlight Women’s History Month. Grace for President sends a positive message to children about the importance of civic engagement and the vital role women play in our democracy. Shaheen took questions from the class and discussed her experience as a woman in public service. 

“It’s absolutely critical for our nation that women continue to play a greater role in public discourse and decision making,” said Shaheen. “Throughout our nation’s history, women have made invaluable contributions to all aspects of our society. This Women’s History Month we should all take a moment to reflect on the many ways women have helped form our great nation and encourage the young women and girls around us that they too can do something great for their country.”

Shaheen School 1 

NH House Kills 9 Bills Attacking Women’s Health

Ten Bills Voted on Today, Nine defeated by the NH House that Formed a Broad Agenda to Ban Abortion

Planned_Parenthood_logo.svgConcord, NH — Today the New Hampshire House voted to oppose dangerous changes in the landscape of reproductive health. Ten bills, an unprecedented number of attacks on women’s health, were voted on. One bill, a repeal of New Hampshire’s voluntary Buffer Zone law, was passed and will go to the Senate for further consideration.

“On behalf of New Hampshire’s women and families I applaud the New Hampshire House today for rejecting a package of legislation that would devastate reproductive health in the Granite State. Today’s proposed legislation was part of a broad agenda to ban abortion and eliminate reproductive care. We are pleased that a majority of Representatives stood up to extreme legislators and stood with New Hampshire’s women and families,” stated Jennifer Frizzell VP for Public Policy at the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.

Ten Separate Bills were voted on today

Extreme anti-women’s health lawmakers attempted today to pass legislation that would make the constitutional protections of safe and legal abortion under Roe v. Wade, established more than 40 years ago, meaningless for New Hampshire women and families. The vast majority of these dangerous bills were stopped, including bills to ban abortion later in pregnancy, a bill to ban fetal tissue donation for medical research, and a bill that would deny family planning (Title X) funding to New Hampshire which provides preventative care like birth control, well women exams, and STI screenings.
The majority of the New Hampshire House agreed with their constituents. Support for access to safe, legal abortion is higher in New Hampshire than any other state in the country and that more Republicans here consider themselves pro-choice than pro-life on issues like abortion and funding for Planned Parenthood.

New Hampshire has a strong tradition of respecting women and doctors, not politicians, to make personal, private decisions about pregnancy and childbearing, and today the House respected that tradition. New Hampshire currently has some of the best public health outcomes in the country for women, including the lowest teen pregnancy rate, and the best perinatal and maternal health outcomes. The proposed anti-women’s health legislative package would have dramatically jeopardized care for New Hampshire women and reduce access for New Hampshire communities.

Despite the views and values of their constituents, a handful of extreme Republicans continue their assault on women’s health care. At the beginning of the 2016 session, they introduced a legislative package consisting of 16 bills that aimed at dismantling women’s preventive care and ending access to safe, legal abortion.

“Planned Parenthood of Northern New England knows that ruthless attacks from extreme politicians will continue. However, we won’t let these politicians take us backwards and make it impossible to get safe and legal abortion, putting women’s lives and health in danger. Today’s successes show that the majority of New Hampshire’s Representatives understand the importance of fighting from preventing these dangerous bills from becoming the law. The stakes for women’s health and rights have never been higher, and our doors will always remain open,” stated Jennifer Frizzell, VP for Public Policy at the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.

Ten Bills Voted on Today:

HB 1662: relative to abortion-inducing drugs.

CACR 19: relating to the taking of human life. Providing that the general court shall not appropriate nor authorize any expenditure to benefit any corporation having as its object the taking of innocent human life.

HB 1328: limiting pregnancy terminations to pregnancies of 20 weeks or less.

HB 1399: requiring licensure of outpatient abortion clinics.

HB 1570:  repealing the law governing access to reproductive health care facilities (Buffer Zone Repeal). *bill passed 160-152

HB 1623:  prohibiting an abortion based on genetic abnormalities.

HB 1625: relative to banning abortion after viability.

HB 1636: prohibiting abortions once an unborn child can feel pain.

HB 1663:  prohibiting buying, selling, and experimenting on unborn infants or bodily remains resulting from abortion.

HB 1684: prohibiting the use of public funds, employees, and facilities in assisting or performing abortions.

Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including legislative education, grassroots organizing, and advocacy. Follow us on Twitter.

Kuster Praises Canada’s Approval Of “Preclearance Agreement” With United States

Concord, NH – Yesterday, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) released the following statement regarding the Prime Minister of Canada’s endorsement of a major preclearance agreement between Canada and the U.S. that would streamline travel and commerce operations between the two countries, thereby expanding trade opportunities for Granite State businesses and helping to strengthen our national security. Kuster introduced legislation last week to finalize the agreement.

“I’m very pleased Prime Minister Trudeau has endorsed the preclearance agreement that was supported by Canada’s previous Administration. With his support, we are one step closer to passing this legislation into law, which would be a great boon to New Hampshire’s local economy – and at the same time would greatly strengthen our national security. This is a win-win agreement, and I urge House leadership to bring my bill to the floor for consideration.”

The legislation Kuster introduced paves the way for expansion of preclearance facilities, operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, at land, rail, maritime, and air ports of departure in Canada. Prime Minister Trudeau’s endorsement today paves the way for the Canadian parliament to introduce similar legislation, which is needed in order to implement the preclearance agreement.

The Promoting Travel, Commerce, and National Security Act was introduced in the House last week by Congresswoman Annie Kuster, and in the Senate by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).  By expediting travel processes between the U.S. and Canada, the bill would increase trade opportunities for local businesses and help bolster New Hampshire’s tourism industry – the second largest industry in the state. Additionally, the agreement would enhance our national security procedures along the Northern border by requiring Customs and Border Protection officials to address potential threats early on, before they reach U.S. soil. 

New Poll Shows 66% Of Republicans Oppose The TPP, Spelling Possible Trouble For Ayotte

Former NH State Senator Jim Rubens Challenges
Sen. Ayotte to a debate on American worker wages

A poll released today by the conservative group Americans for Limited Government and independent pollster Pat Caddell shocked the establishment about voters’ attitudes on the 2,000 page Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership agreement.  The shocker: 66% of Republicans oppose the TPP.  Some highlights from the results: 

– 69% of Republicans say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for U.S. Congress who promises to put a stop to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

– 63% of Republicans oppose an effort to pass TPP in a special session of Congress.

– 85% GOP voters agree that “political leaders are more interested in protecting their power and privilege than doing what is right for the American people.”

– 76% of Republicans say “the same political elite who have been rigging the political process in Washington are the same ones that have been rigging trade deals that hurt Americans, but benefit themselves.” 

-77% of Americans oppose a Republican leadership effort to vote on TPP in a lame-duck session.

– An astoundingly low 4 percent of GOP voters think that free trade deals have been “more of a benefit to the U.S.”.  

Jim Rubens issued the following statement in response to the poll results: 

“Since the first drafts were leaked in 2014, I have publicly opposed the TPP.  I am firmly on the side of American workers.  It’s time for the U.S. Senate to take the side of American workers and against the crony capitalists and their bought-and-paid-for politicians who want to export American jobs and drive down American wages.

“Conservative Republicans are way out front in opposition to the TPP.  It’s unfortunate that Sen. Kelly Ayotte not only supports this crony capitalist agreement, but she voted last May to give President Obama fast-track trade authority to grease it through Congress.  New Hampshire is among the top 10 states most hurt by our trade deficit with China, having lost over 22,000 jobs over the decade ending 2011.  It’s clear that voters think that Washington career politicians are selling them out.

“Many people have referred to the TPP as ‘NAFTA on steroids’ because this deal benefits other countries at the expense of American workers who are being replaced by cheap foreign labor.  85% of GOP voters have lost faith in the Washington political class because of their blatant crony capitalism.  I’m running for senate to give voters a way to stop this wholesale sell out of the American worker.”

In the press conference discussing the poll results, pollster Pat Caddell predicts there will be significant primary losses based on this issue.  

Rubens challenges Sen. Ayotte to a debate on TPP and how to get American wages rising again.

Investing in the Care Economy: A Pathway to Growth

A new study released today by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) shows that investment into the care economy of 2% of GDP in just 7 countries would create over 21 million jobs and help countries overcome the twin challenges of ageing populations and economic stagnation. 

 Care economy

The report which analyzed the employment growth potential in the care economy in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA, also demonstrates how investing in care narrows the gender pay gap, reduces overall inequality and helps redress the exclusion of women from decent jobs. The G20 has set a target to increase women’s participation in the workforce by 25% in the coming years. This can only be achieved when the care sector is properly funded. 

The report cites additional evidence from South Africa and Turkey showing that the economic stimulus from care investment is not limited to the world’s richest countries. 

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “This study shows how sustained investment in care is not only vital to societies, it also provides an indispensable motor for economic growth and an antidote to the destructive impact of failed austerity policies. Most of the burden of service cuts has been borne by women, which has in turn depressed household incomes at a time when boosting purchasing power and economic demand is crucial to restoring global prosperity. The care sector itself has high rates of precarious work and low pay, and it is essential that workers in this sector have the full protection of labour legislation in line with international standards.” 

Economists from the Women’s Budget Group carried out advanced modelling of the employment impact of investing the equivalent of 2% of GDP into the “social infrastructure” of education, health and social care services. They found that: 

  • It would increase overall employment by between 2,4% and 6.1% depending on the country;
  • between 59% and 70% of the directly-created jobs would be taken up by women; and,
  • the employment multiplier effect from these new jobs would also increase overall male employment, by between 1.4% and 4% in different countries.

“Some governments have acted to lift investment in physical infrastructure projects, to stimulate growth and overcome decades of underinvestment. We now have clear empirical evidence of the economic and social benefits of investing in care as well. Governments should look to this rather than sticking with an austerity agenda which was based on deeply flawed analysis from the outset,” said Burrow.

The evidence in the report shows that investment of 2% of GDP would create:

  •  13 million jobs in the USA
  • 3.5 million jobs in Japan
  • 2 million jobs in Germany
  • 1.5 million jobs in the UK
  • 1 million jobs in Italy
  • 600,000 jobs in Australia
  • 120,000 jobs in Denmark.

“Cuts in public care services have had a double impact on women. They are finding it harder to get decent jobs, and in most countries the pressure on social investment means that it is mainly women who end up filling the gap as unpaid carers. This in turn keeps them out of the paid workforce for even longer and pulls apart the fabric of households and communities. Our new study confirms that the right kind of investment can turn this social crisis around, and we call on governments to take up the challenge and break from their obsession with simply keeping the financial sector happy. The evidence from these seven countries reinforces the huge jobs and growth potential in the care economy worldwide,” concluded Burrow.


The ITUC represents 180 million workers in 162 countries and territories and has 333 national affiliates.

Kelly Ayotte’s Performance Review: “New Hampshire Deserves Better”

Concord, N.H. – Not only have editorial boards had scathing words for Kelly Ayotte’s partisan blockade of the Supreme Court (see the Concord MonitorNashua TelegraphPortsmouth HeraldKeene SentinelValley News, and Coos County Democrat), but recent letters to the editor have strongly condemned her obstructionism and refusal to do her constitutional duty. 

See below for a few highlights:  

 “By Kelly Ayotte announcing that she will back Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz in their plan to refuse to confirm President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, she has been clear that she places party leadership ahead of the people of New Hampshire, and ahead of her constitutional duty as our senator.” – Ann Heffernon, North Swanzey

 “I’m glad Sen. Ayotte has shown her true colors and made clear to all N.H. voters that she will align with her party even though this position is clearly unethical and unprecedented. She has helped us to see the real stakes in the upcoming presidential and senate elections.” – Scott Marion, Rye

It seems that she feels what is important to the Republican party is more important than what is important to our country.” – Richard Friedman, Bedford

“Where the heck do Kelly Ayotte and other Republican senators, and even presidential candidates, get off saying that they won’t even consider any nominations put forward by a sitting president for a Supreme Court justice. That’s part of their job! Where I come from, if an employee refuses to perform one of the requirements set forward in a written job description, they are fired.” – Lucy Natkiel, Hill

 “I hope that Sen. Ayotte will remember her pledge to preserve and protect the constitution and reconsider her position that she refuses to carry out her responsibility as a United States senator. New Hampshire deserves better and Justice Scalia deserves better.” – Marjorie Smith, Durham

 “Once again, Sen. Kelly Ayotte has demonstrated her total disregard for the will of the New Hampshire electorate.” – Rich DiPentima, Portsmouth

“Kelly Ayotte has once again demonstrated her membership in the ‘my way or the highway gang’ by joining Mitch McConnell and the other obstructionist Republicans in pandering to their base rather than respecting the majority of voters, the founding fathers and the Constitution. We won’t forget that in November.” – Cynthia Muse, Rye

The dysfunction in Washington now is much worse than in 1988, and Republicans like McConnell and Kelly Ayotte continue to fight in lockstep against the opposition party without regard to all the people they represent… the total absence of a compromising tone in the rhetoric we have heard so far from McConnell, Republican presidential candidates and others is extremely disappointing.” – Richard Foss, Webster


I am very disappointed that Kelly Ayotte has fallen into the obstructionist camp, refusing to honor and act on President Obama’s constitutional duty to appoint a Supreme Court nominee.” – Judi Garfinkle, Lancaster


“Ayotte, not satisfied with obstructing the government, the Senate, and the president’s foreign policy, now wants to obstruct the Supreme Court. She has now decided to extend her obstruction by not even allowing a hearing on the president’s Supreme Court nominee.” – Bob Bettilyon, Hollis


“She has meekly lined up with the radical Republicans in the Senate stating that the Senate will not even hold a hearing on any Supreme Court nominee that President Obama sends to them for consideration. It is the president’s duty to nominate someone to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court when one occurs. It is the Senate’s duty to receive that nomination, hold hearings on the nominee’s qualifications to hold that office, and to vote on that nomination. To do otherwise is to shirk their responsibilities, something this Senate has shown a remarkable penchant for doing.” – Dick de Seve, Gilmanton

We can’t wait a year – the Senate needs to do its job and act on Obama’s nomination now. Please write to Sen. Kelly Ayotte and ask her to support a vote on the Supreme Court vacancy.” – Joe O’Neill, Amherst   

“Sen. Kelly Ayotte: You and the GOP congressional leadership insult the memory of Justice Scalia and his respect for the Constitution.” — Ken Williams, Canterbury

“Senator, you were elected to do a job just as President Barack Obama was elected to do a job. Moreover, as a United States senator elected by the people of the State of New Hampshire, you have a constitutional obligation to do that job.”  — Patrick Wood, Laconia

“Refusing to consider a nominee for no good reason – just because of party politics – is irresponsible. By taking the stance that no nominee from the sitting president will be given any consideration at all, those taking that stand are really saying that their political party comes before the best interests of the country.” – Jay Diener, Hampton

“By blindly following other obstructionist colleagues in the Senate, Ayotte is not the new voice she once promised to be, but one of the rabid-dog types who try to stop any positive movement in Washington.” – J. Larry Brown, Lancaster

A look at Chris Sununu’s record on International Women’s Day

 Concord, N.H. – To celebrate International Women’s Day, the New Hampshire Democratic Party is highlighting Chris Sununu’s efforts to turn back the clock on women’s healthcare.

2015 was a banner year for Sununu. He cast the deciding vote to defund Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire, denying thousands of Granite State women access to preventative care, cancer screenings and low-cost birth control.

Not only did Sununu cast the deciding vote, but he admitted to NHPR—during the very same meeting where he voted to strip its funding—that, “in his Seacoast district…Planned Parenthood is the only facility that offers care like low-cost birth control, STD testing and cancer screenings.”

Even after Planned Parenthood was cleared, the orchestrators of the smear campaign against Planned Parenthood indicted, and the New Hampshire House rejected a bill to investigate Planned Parenthood, he refused to apologize, doubling down on his position, and calling Planned Parenthood and its supporters “bullies.”

“As New Hampshire women celebrate their achievements and progress today, they’re also remembering Chris Sununu’s disastrous record on women’s issues,” said NHDP Spokeswoman Holly Shulman. “Not only did Sununu lead the attack to strip low-cost quality healthcare from thousands of Granite State women, but he demonized them when they stood up for their rights. Sununu put partisan politics before the well-being of New Hampshire women and we won’t forget in November.” 

But Sununu’s efforts to block quality healthcare for women hasn’t been limited to defunding Planned Parenthood. Sununu fought to prevent Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire from ever coming to the table, even though the majority of Medicaid expansion beneficiaries are women.  Furthermore, the Medicaid Family Planning initiative provides access to family planning resources, prenatal services and infant care for thousands of Granite State women and their families.

Sununu bragged about his efforts to kill Medicaid expansion as recently as last month on the Girard at Large radio show.

Urgent Call to Action for New Hampshire Legislators on International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day we celebrate the accomplishments of the women’s rights movement and call on our local legislators to continue to take action on gender parity

CONCORD, NH –International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide today, March 8, 2016. Statements from Granite State Progress Education Fund and NH Citizens Alliance are below. 

Statement from Granite State Progress Education Fund Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

Granite State Progress“On International Women’s Day we applaud the accomplishments of Governor Maggie Hassan, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster who have continuously championed women’s rights and equality. We also applaud the dedicated leaders within the New Hampshire House and Senate who are working toward creating a better and more inclusive future for women and girls in the Granite State. We specifically want to highlight the legislators who have stood up to support and sponsor bills such as SB 488, which prevents discrimination against pregnant women and their families in the workplace, and HB 1346, which eliminates the sub-minimum tipped wage that disproportionately impacts the economic security of women and people of color. Bills like these will help end discrimination against women, and pave the way for equal participation in all aspects of professional and personal lives.”

Statement from NH Citizens Alliance Executive Director Kary Jencks:

NH Citizens Alliance“This week the House will convene to vote on some of the most oppressive reproductive rights bills against women our state has seen since the Bill O’Brien legislature. Bills such as HB 1328, HB 1623, HB 1625, and HB 1636, which all seek to limit or ban abortion, and HB 1684, which would remove funding from any health facility that offers abortion services, jeopardize a woman’s right to self-determination and economic security. We urge these legislators to take today to really think about their constituents and to reflect on whether they plan to Stand with Women or Stand in the Way during the House session.”

On International Women’s Day, Bipartisan Coalition Announces Resolution Supporting International Women’s Day

 Resolution recognizes March 8 as International Women’s Day 

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), leading a bipartisan coalition of Senators, announced their resolution to recognize March 8, 2016 as International Women’s Day and commemorate the achievements of women around the world. The International Women’s Day resolution, co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women while recognizing the obstacles women continue to face in the struggle for equal rights and opportunities.

“Recognizing International Women’s Day sends an important message around the globe that the United States continues to be a leader in encouraging social, political and economic equality for women and girls,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “When girls and women succeed, their families succeed, their communities succeed, and their countries succeed. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to renew our commitment to advancing global gender equality.”

“With this resolution, the U.S. Senate has reaffirmed its commitment to International Women’s Day and the pursuit of a world that not only empowers women, but also recognizes the important contributions that women are making across the globe,” Senator Susan Collins said. “It is imperative that we continue to pursue policies that guarantee the basic human rights of our mothers, daughters, and sisters around the world.”

“No country can reach its full potential when half its people are left behind,” Senator Barbara Boxer said.

“International Women’s Day reminds us to celebrate the contributions women make around the world and here at home,” Senator Barbara Mikulski said. “Every day, women fight to build stronger economies, improve conditions for families and communities, and inspire the next generation of young girls. That’s why I fight every day to make sure that women are at the table and empowered to make a difference.”

“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on the challenges we have overcome and recommit to surmounting those that we still face regarding equality for all women around the world,” said Senator Ed Markey. “This Resolution is an opportunity for the United States to once again pledge our leadership on global gender equality and honor women and girls around the world for their achievements.”

“Denying women full control of their health, productivity, and voice impoverishes the whole human family,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “On this International Women’s Day, let’s recommit to the work of removing barriers that stand in the way of women’s equal rights and access to reproductive health care worldwide.”

“America has an important role to play being a leader in advancing the cause of International Women’s Day,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin. “By joining together to celebrate the achievements of women and working to empower women and girls, we are reaffirming our commitment to building stronger communities around the globe.”

“International Women’s Day is a time to recognize the progress we have made toward equal rights for women and a call to action for all of us to work together to empower women and girls around the world,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “When women have the opportunity to raise their voices and achieve their full potential, it strengthens our families, our communities, and our economy.”

“I have often said that you can judge a country by how it treats women,” said Senator Dick Durbin. “On International Women’s Day, let us not only pay tribute to those women who have pioneered and inspired us, but let us challenge ourselves to build on their legacies by further advancing the rights of women around the world.”

“At home and abroad, the way women are treated is very much a barometer for the economic and social success of a given community,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “Ensuring that girls and women can reach their full potentials should be a cornerstone of American domestic and foreign policy not just on International Women’s Day, but all year round.”

“Today we recognize the women who empower their families, communities and workplace,” said Senator Mark Kirk. “We honor their achievements and commit to fighting for equality worldwide.”

“There’s a lot more we need to do to empower women and girls to succeed around the world,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said. “International Women’s Day is a chance to recommit to the fight for gender equality, from strengthening economic opportunities for women to ending violence and abuse.”

“International Women’s Day is an important reminder of how far the world has come and how much we still need to do. Yes, things are better than they’ve been, but at this rate it will take nearly 120 years for the world to reach global gender parity – that’s just too long,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “The United States and our allies must make women and girls’ human rights, education, economic opportunity, and inclusion in the political process a top foreign policy priority.”

“Women have made great strides in achieving equal opportunity whether in the boardroom or the Halls of Congress,” said Senator Maria Cantwell. “This progress has been hard-won and hard-fought. On this International Women’s Day, we celebrate our progress and acknowledge that we must continue to push boundaries, face our challenges and keep moving forward.”

“It’s crucial for the U.S. to lead globally on both recognizing the importance of women and protecting women,” said Senator Robert Menendez. “Let’s not forget that there are millions of women around the world who need us to raise our voices for them. From the Hindu Kush to the Maghreb, women, every day, are faced with extraordinary challenges going to school, learning to read and write, and protecting their children from being conscripted into a militia or trafficked on the open market for slave labor – or worse. On this International Women’s Day, let us vow to work toward making their lives better in the upcoming year.” 

In support of the goals of International Women’s Day, the resolution also affirms the advancement of women as a foreign policy priority for the United States. It also notes that the ability of women to realize their full potential through education and economic empowerment is critical to a nation’s ability to achieve strong and lasting economic growth, as well as political and social stability. Specifically, the bipartisan resolution highlights the underrepresentation of women in most aspects of public life, the denial of basic human rights for women in many countries, and the threat of violence and abuse that too many women around the world continue to face.

The full text of the resolution is available here.

On International Women’s Day, Senator Shaheen Calls on Congress to Act on Her Legislation to Empower Survivors of Sexual Assault

**At Together for Girls “Every Hour Matters” event in the U.S. Capitol, Shaheen highlights her legislation that would provide common sense rights to survivors of sexual assault as they pursue justice**  

Senator Shaheen addresses attendees at the Together for Girls International Women’s Day Event

Senator Shaheen addresses attendees at the Together for Girls International Women’s Day Event

(Washington, DC)—On International Women’s Day, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called on Congress to take action to empower survivors of sexual assault by passing her Sexual Assault Survivor’s Rights Act. Senator Shaheen made her remarks at an event in the U.S. Capitol sponsored by the nonprofit Together for Girls to highlight the importance of improving treatment for women and girls around the world who have been sexually assaulted. The Sexual Assault Survivor’s Rights Act codifies basic rights for survivors of sexual assault and builds on the success of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act to address unique challenges faced by sexual assault survivors, particularly regarding access to and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits. The bill would empower survivors to make more informed decisions throughout the criminal justice process, and supports state efforts to better notify survivors of available resources as well as applicable state rights and policies. In addition, the bill would establish a joint Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services working group to more effectively implement best practices regarding the care and treatment of survivors across the country.

“Today, as we renew our call for gender equality, it’s important to recognize the neglect and callous treatment that many sexual assault survivors experience both here at home and around the world,” said Shaheen. “The trauma of sexual assault is often compounded by the emotional trauma of a legal system that places needless obstacles in the path of survivors seeking justice. Our goal with this legislation is to change the culture around how sexual assault survivors are treated in our criminal justice system.  My legislation will help create an environment where survivors feel like the system is working for them, not against, and today, I’m calling on Congress take up this important effort.” 

Currently, depending on the jurisdiction, sexual assault survivors often experience a complex and cryptic maze of policies that deter them from pursuing justice. Senator Shaheen authored this legislation,  working closely with Rise, a national nonprofit, led by Amanda Nguyen, a sexual assault survivor who has bravely shared her harrowing experience navigating the criminal justice system.

Amanda Nguyen, founder and president of Rise, meets with Senator Shaheen to discuss the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Rights Act

Amanda Nguyen, founder and president of Rise, meets with Senator Shaheen to discuss the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Rights Act 

“Justice for sexual assault survivors should not depend on geography,” said Amanda Nguyen, founder and president of Rise. “This federal Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, which brings together common sense best practices, is the first step to having uniform basic rights for survivors across the country.”

Some key rights that would be established by the bill include: 

·         The right to have a sexual assault evidence collection kit preserved for the entire relevant statute of limitations.

·         The right to be notified in writing 60 days prior to the destruction of a sexual assault evidence collection kit.

·         The right to request further preservation of a sexual assault evidence collection kit.

·         The right to be informed of important results of a sexual assault forensic examination.

The bill has been endorsed by RAINN, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV), International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN), Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations (CFSO), NH Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the VT Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

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