Women are an essential cornerstone of families and community. While many strides for women’s equality continue to be made progress on even the most common-sense issues are often met with Republican opposition. Kent County Democrat and State Representative Winnie Brinks knows the value of standing up for basic women’s rights, and in spite of the odds she does this every day in Lansing.
Better Access to Birth Control A Must
According to the Michigan Department of Community Health In Michigan, cuts to funding for family planning
over the past decade has been correlated to an increase in unintended pregnancies. “Family planning is a cornerstone of women’s health, which is why it is so critically important that we give women the tools they need to control their fertility,” said Brinks, as chairwoman of the Progressive Women’s Legislative Caucus in 2014.
“Access to birth control and basic family planning is still a problem for Michigan women and the biggest step toward preventing abortion. Providing adequate reproductive health care protections and resources enables women and men to plan their families which improves the economic stability of our state.”
The Caucus introduced a package of legislation that would provide measures to make it easier for women to access the contraceptives they need, prohibit discrimination against women on the basis of contraceptive use and call on the State to take steps to reduce Michigan’s high rate of teen pregnancies.
Helping Women Beat Breast Cancer
When Attorney Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch was told she had breast cancer, it was the size of a pickle. Just a few months after her last test came back clear, she felt a lump that was thicker and more painful than normal. “I was diligent about getting my mammograms because I thought they could detect cancer, said Teresa. “They gave me a false sense of security.”
Forty percent of all women have dense breast tissue. “Masking” occurs when dense tissue surrounding a tumor obscures cancer growth with regular tissue in test results. Women with extremely dense breast tissue have a 6 times greater risk of developing cancer than women with fatty breasts. Rep. Brinks worked with Teresa on introducing legislation that would prevent what happened to her from happening to other women.
“In response to this need I introduced House Bill 4260 that would require doctors to notify women if their mammograms detected breast dense tissue. Women need complete information to make the best health care decisions possible.” The Republican-controlled legislature wouldn’t allow Winnie’s bill to even get a hearing, however another version of this bill is now law.
Fighting domestic violence
Along with the Progressive Women’s Caucus, Winnie introduced a number of bills offering paid sick leave to victims of domestic, sexual violence and stalking. Another bill would ensure an individual would not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits for conduct that was a consequence of domestic violence. Another would prevent landlords and realtors discriminating against individuals on the basis of being a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Due to Republican inaction on these bills, in the fall Winnie issued a call to action for the legislature to act on these bills that were introduced back in March. “Domestic violence is a serious problem in Michigan, and people who are trapped in abusive relationships need assistance to restore safety and security to their lives. These proposals we have introduced would make a real difference in the lives of people trying to escape violence and abuse. Surely Democrats and Republicans can set aside partisan differences to do the right thing for these people who need our help.”
What can you do: Give $5 to the Kent Dems, your generous donation goes to support re-electing Democrats like Winnie Brinks to office.