On April 15, California Congresswoman and Mills alum Barbara Lee visited Mills and spoke at the Lokey Graduate School of Business about reproductive health rights for women. The event was presented by the Mills chapter of Choice USA, an organization that provides ways to organize and network with others to promote pro-choice issues. The meeting was called out of concern for the direction of legislation regarding pro-choice issues and for Mills women to have a discussion about it.
Lee, a Democrat from California’s 13th Congressional District, is an avid supporter of reproductive rights and has authored or co-authored every major bill having to do with HIV/AIDS since taking office. She was asked to come to campus to discuss her work as a Congresswoman, the current legislative issues in Washington D.C. and the opposition she and her colleagues face.
Lee and many of her fellow Democrats fight for equal wages for women in the workplace, funding programs that will assist working women, and keeping reproductive healthcare options open and available for women who need them.
“If you look at the record, you know it’s the Tea Party Republicans; they’ve waged a war on women,” Lee said. “Instead of working with [the Democrats] to try to create jobs and economic opportunity and to fight poverty, they have over and over and over again systematically attacked women’s healthcare and reproductive rights in an unprecedented fashion.”
Lee is also a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus, a group comprised of members of Congress who work towards gaining the full extent of reproductive health services to all women. According to Lee, she and her fellow caucus members are working towards fighting these attacks from the Tea Party.
“[We] are working to ensure all women have access to a full range of comprehensive reproductive and pregnancy related health services, and that must include access to birth control, including oral contraceptives and abortion care,” Lee said.
During the question-and-answer portion of the talk, Lee was asked what advice she would give to the outgoing 2014 seniors.
“Pursue your dreams and your passions,” she said.
Jessica Sankus, a junior at Mills, found Lee’s talk inspiring.
“Barbara Lee is engaging and personable,” Sankus said. “She is an amazing asset to Mills College. I’m so proud to go to the school she went to.”
For more information on Barbara Lee and her work, visit http://lee.house.gov