Women’s History Month: current legislation for women

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, the DFL wants to recognize the current legislation we are fighting for that supports all women.

SF 879 proposes the removal of the time limit on the Equal Rights Amendment and calls for the federal recognition of the ERA. Having these accomplished will explicitly state at a federal level that all rights protected by the U.S. Constitution will be protected without regard to sex or gender. SF 850 / SF 423 provides a similar amendment at a state level and fights for equality under the law to not be denied because of sex or gender. They also call for a vote during the general election in 2022 on the question of “shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that equality under the law must not be abridged or denied on account of gender?”

SF 731 / SF 1995 or better known as the Protect Reproductive Options Act fights for every individual to have the fundamental right to choose or refuse reproductive health care, choose or refuse contraception or sterilization, and choose to continue a pregnancy and give birth to a child, or choose to obtain an abortion. This bill also states that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the laws of this state and prohibits the interference of reproductive decision-making.

Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act (SF 877) addresses the oppression of Black and Indigenous communities with the greatest health disparities related to maternal and infant mortality and morbidity by requiring education on implicit bias and anti-racism training. The overall goal of this bill is to improve maternal and infant health as well as improving birth outcomes in groups with the most significant disparities that include Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, rural communities, and people with low incomes.

SF 171 prohibits employers from asking about past pay or “pay history”. This will substantially reduce pay disparities for Black and female employees because it will generate substantial pay increases for them and is an important step to closing the wage gap.

SF 845 calls for a grant for Girls in Action programming. Girls in Action is an organization that provides and expands Twin Cities metropolitan area school and community-based programs that encourage and support low-income girls of color. According to their website, “in its debut year, the project resulted in a dramatic 50% decrease in school violence, suspensions, delinquent and destructive behavior among girls and a significant increase in academic engagement.” Providing a grant to their program will allow them to continue to motivate, mentor, and empower young women of color in the Twin Cities area.