As a District 4 constituent, I have contacted Congressman Chris Smith’s office on two issues that affect women in New Jersey. Statistics show that 52 women a month are killed due to domestic abuse in America (more than any other developed nation), but Smith, along with many other congressmen, has refused to support expanded national universal background checks that would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. He has also voted against the Violence Against Women Act.
Smith’s voting record on women’s health care has resulted in the shuttering of accessible neighborhood health care clinics, necessitating expensive, long-distance travel for women who care for sick children, elderly parents or themselves. Turning the clock back on reproductive rights increases the suffering of women when access to a safe abortion is removed, especially in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
Smith’s bill to block private insurance and flexible spending money from paying for birth control also affects a couple’s right to plan for their family’s future and again causes undue financial burden.
In this election season, we have an opportunity to choose a forward-thinking candidate who will stand firm to help women on these issues, as well as increase aid in areas such as education, income equality, child welfare and social justice. After 36 years, District 4 deserves a representative who is interested in tackling head on all the issues that pose a threat to our health and well-being.
This letter also appeared in the Asbury Park Press.