The lack of proper representation in our policymaking for addressing the issues women regularly face in their daily lives is one of the reasons I decided to run for office. Women, together with their families, need to be trusted to decide what is best for them. Women make up over 50% of the population, but are notably underrepresented proportionally in our governance, holding only 23% of government offices. This situation needs to change, as research has shown (such as in peer reviewed work like this) that when there are more women in government, there are marked improvements in areas such as overall health, education, labor participation and paid leave for workers. Women need this representation in order to increase their participation in the labor market and to achieve pay rates that equal a man doing that same job. They must be given the same opportunities to reach their full potential in life as a man is given.

I am a determined proponent for a woman’s right to make her own reproductive healthcare decisions for herself and for having sovereignty over her own body, away from government intrusion into these most personal of matters. The constant attacks on a women’s right to privacy, and her right to her personal liberty over making these decisions for herself are unconstitutional.

Though I am personally against abortion for myself, I recognize what a difficult decision it is for women. I also recognize that this medical procedure is at times absolutely necessary for the life and well-being of the woman, and that the outright banning of abortion and restrictions to contraception invariably results in the *killing* of women. History demonstrates this to be the case, so resorting to these policies is *not* an option. Decades of statistical evidence globally confirms that such legislative bans do *not* reduce it. This is why I stand for using facts and evidence in guiding our policymaking, and not ideological propaganda like the Republicans seem to rely all-too-often upon. I look to the research which shows us how to actually reduce abortion – providing a strong education to all, providing women with equal social and economic opportunity, and providing equal and universal access to proper healthcare, including contraception. These are the things I will fight for in order to give women the tools they need to avoid unplanned pregnancies. I support policies that help reduce abortion rates by supporting mothers in their task of raising their families, like equal pay for equal work, paid leave for parents, and universal childcare, all of which help them when a new child enters the world. We all too often see the effects when those opportunities and that support isn’t there.

Unfortunately, Ohio currently has some of the highest maternal and infant death rates in a country that has the highest such rates in the world, with our black population suffering disproportionately in this regard. There’s really no legitimate basis for labeling ourselves “pro-life” unless and until we address this massive problem and the needless loss of human life that it entails. Universal healthcare will go a long way towards providing an effective antidote to this failure and the inequalities in our current system. Such a system will also serve to liberate women from being trapped in unfulfilling and even abusive marriages or undesirable employment arrangements simply in order to maintain some semblance of healthcare insurance due to our current employer rather than citizen-based system of coverage.

Women also continue to this day to experience harassment and discrimination in the workplace. I support having a state-run arbitration board that would be available at no cost to women who are experiencing unfair harassment or abuse in the workplace. Unfortunately, the cost of legal representation prevents many women from being able to effectively stand up against inappropriate treatment, and we should work to eliminate this barrier by establishing a publicly-supported and universally available tribunal.

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The People With Kim McCarthy