Congressman Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) stance on human trafficking is commendable, which leads us to believe he champions women’s rights. However, Congressman Smith’s long-term voting record underscores an alternate stance on women’s civil rights and basic health care services.
Congressman Smith has voted to outlaw the birth control pill and wrote legislation blocking private insurance and personal flexible spending account money from covering women’s contraception and basic health care.
He voted against income equality and the Violence Against Women’s Act, and he voted to close needed health care facilities that provide breast cancer and cervical cancer screening.
Congressman Smith wrote HR-3, redefining rape to “forcible rape,” which re-victimizes women and empowers rapists. In Congressman Smith’s world, women have no choice, even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
As chairman of the Congressional Pro Life Caucus, Congressman Smith leads Congress in the personhood movement that relinquishes the civil rights of the mother to her fetus. Personhood legislation also bans all oral contraception, stem cell research and in-vitro fertilization, and it criminalizes abortion with no exception.
In addition, Congressman Smith does not support gun safety legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers even though, on average, 57 women in America are killed by guns every month.
I thank Congressman Smith for his common sense approach to human trafficking. But whether in bondage, in poverty or in other dire straits, women want to know their bodies, minds and spirits will not be controlled or crippled in any other way, and certainly not by their own congressman.