Op-ed: A Voice and a Vote for Reproductive Freedom

By Becky Whitley

May 13, 2024

LIKE MANY, I’ve watched in horror and disbelief as one in three American women have lost access to abortion in their home states since Roe v. Wade was overturned. I watched in horror and disbelief as Congress failed to guarantee that right for women in the years since.

But I’ve done more than watch, I have spent my entire tenure as a state senator fighting to protect our reproductive freedoms, expand access to reproductive health care, and prevent further deterioration of our rights by extreme actors.

The U.S. Supreme Court seems poised to sign off on the suffering of women as they decide whether pregnant people will be excluded from a law guaranteeing treatment for emergency medical conditions. The stakes for Americans and particularly American women have never been higher — and that is why I am running for Congress.

While my fellow Democratic men can — and should — be strong pro-choice advocates, the attacks on women and families make it essential that our next voice in Congress be someone who has faced these challenges personally and has successfully fought back against extremism.

As a state senator when Republicans suggested their own 15-day abortion ban here, I fought to expand access to reproductive health care and for increased access to medication abortion, health care that can literally save the lives of women with no other options.

New Hampshire’s challenges are only a microcosm of our country’s. MAGA Republicans have created dysfunction in Congress, taken our rights away, and created catastrophe for working families. We need representatives standing up to them and delivering bold solutions to improve lives. That is what I have always done.

I introduced and helped enact the New Hampshire “MOMnibus” law, which resulted in brand new investments in maternal and infant health and supports for new moms in the workplace.

I also helped secure a historic $60.5-million investment in childcare to improve access and affordability; and as housing costs rise, I was proud to cosponsor the New Hampshire “HOMEnibus” bill, which will help communities add workforce housing.

In Congress, I will work for a national law to protect comprehensive and equitable access to reproductive health care for all Americans — including not only abortion care, but also equitable access to IVF for all types of families who want to welcome a child, miscarriage care, birth control, and equitable access to maternal health care.

You’ve heard the adage, “if you want something done, ask a busy person.” I’d amend that to, “if you want something done, ask a busy mom.” Somehow, the more things get piled onto our plates, the better we get at focusing on what really matters. That’s why, as a busy working mom, lawyer, and state senator, I have always rolled up my sleeves and delivered big results on issues that matter most.

As a disability rights lawyer, climate organizer and activist, children’s health specialist, and now lawmaker in the trenches, I’ve been a steadfast, fearless champion for women, children, and working families. My entire career has been focused on improving lives. I’ve successfully led on the toughest issues facing our state, and New Hampshire needs that know-how in Congress.

I was born in the 2nd Congressional District, raised by a single mom who sacrificed much for me and my sister, but who was laser-focused on preparing us to live productive and happy lives. I put the values my mother instilled in me into action and built my family and my career here, because I love New Hampshire and I wanted to work like hell to ensure everyone had access to the opportunities I had.

When I had my son, finding and affording child care seemed impossible. It took my mom retiring and moving near to help take care of our new baby so that I could keep working and our family could make ends meet. My family, like many others, has dealt with rising costs, the lack of affordable childcare and housing; and, as a woman, I’ve watched as my reproductive freedoms deteriorate. That is why I am stepping up to fight back.

I’m running for Congress because New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District deserves the proven and effective leadership I have always demonstrated. Someone who will stand up for an economy that lifts all families and for a government that protects the rights of all citizens.

Granite Staters are counting on leaders in Washington to take immediate and audacious action to protect our freedoms and fight for families. I believe in our country and that progress is possible when Congress is filled with diverse decision-makers who represent us all. When we work together as a community, as a state, and as a nation, we can make a difference and change the status quo.

Change can’t wait, and neither can we. I look forward to traveling the state, hearing what matters most to you, and earning your vote.

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