Congressman Chris Smith’s stance on human trafficking is commendable, which leads us to believe that he champions women’s rights. However, Smith’s long-term voting record underscores an alternate stance on women’s civil rights and basic health care services.
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 voted to close needed health care facilities that provide breast and cervical cancer screening. Smith wrote bill HR3, redefining rape to “forcible rape,” which re-victimizes women and empowers rapists. In Smith’s world, women have no choice, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
As chair of the Congressional Pro Life Caucus, 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, 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 Smith for his common sense approach to human trafficking. But whether in bondage, in poverty, or in other dire straits, women want to know that their bodies, minds, and spirits will not be controlled or crippled in any other way, and certainly not by their own congressman.