After reading the article “Susan Collins criticized for vote to cut funding for Planned Parenthood” (Aug. 4), I, along with many Maine women, am disappointed with what was portrayed as a lack of support of basic health care for women.

Equality for women begins with having control over our own bodies, affordable health care, no-cost birth control and pregnancy and maternity care. Our elected officials need to encourage, understand and stand behind these fundamental rights.

As a young woman nearing the end of my undergraduate education, I face many uncertainties in my future.

When I enter the workforce I will strive, along with most women, for the same opportunities and wages as my male colleagues.

Today, women receive inadequate pay for doing the same job as their male counterparts, and we are vastly underrepresented in leadership positions and promotions.

I am excited to have a family one day. And I do realize the tremendous impact this decision will have on me. In order to stay present with my family and in the workforce, I need guaranteed access to health care and equal opportunity.

Our elected leaders should support the freedom and basic right for women to make decisions regarding our bodies and our reproductive rights. They should encourage family values and pay women and men equal pay for equal work.

By investing in this equality and giving women the same ability to contribute to our economy, enormous potential for transformation will be unlocked. I hope Sen. Susan Collins chooses to stand with women by taking action to advance fairness, opportunity and freedom.

Sophia Richards

Portland


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