We Need leaders Who Fight for Women’s Rights!

March is Women’s History Month!

Written by Barbara A. Smith,

Concerned Hamilton Citizen and Activist Blogger for transparency in government.. at Hamilton Wenham Liberals for Democracy


As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it is important to examine how our elected officials further women’s rights in all areas but especially….. healthcare, employment, safety from domestic violence and representation in leadership- so that we never again allow misogynists onto the Supreme Court. Certainly, Vice-President Kamala Harris is helping to break that glass ceiling! Now we need to have the same high expectations of our local elected leaders.

The Massachusetts Roe Act

Hamilton Democrats are represented in the 4th Essex District by Republican State Representative Brad Hill. Previously he worked as manager for his family’s clothing store and was an Ipswich selectman. Hill has been in office since 1999. I remember shortly after moving to Hamilton- the friendly candidate knocked on my door asking for my support. I asked him if he supported women’s rights to choose and he looked uncomfortable. He explained that he had been adopted. Yeah….so? I didn’t then and do not now see any connection between his personal family history and my right to make personal decisions concerning my body. My uterus is nobody’s business!!!! He does not represent autonomous women……

Three-quarters of Americans say they want to keep in place the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal in the United States. My right to make the most personal healthcare decisions possible has been under attack for decades but when 45 got away with illegally choosing 3 extremist supreme court judges, the threat is closer than ever. Hill, Tarr and Baker did not shout out in anger at this injustice.

Massachusetts Democrats took action with passage of Bill No. H5179, known as the “Roe Act” on 12/28/20 despite vetoes from Hill, Tarr and governor Baker. The Roe Act expands abortion access and codifies it into law so that women in Massachusetts cannot have their rights taken away at the whim of the Supreme Court or another misogynistic administration.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, compared to other New England states, Massachusetts had some of the most restrictive laws denying young people abortion access. With the passage of the Roe Act, Massachusetts is the first state in the country to legislatively ease burdensome restrictions on young people’s access to care. Previously the law required that a young person under the age of 16 must have permission from their parents or a judge to seek abortion care. However, it streamlines access for those under 16 years old by allowing remote hearings, minimizing harmful delays to care. 

Now Massachusetts women are allowed abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases with a fatal fetal anomaly and in instances when a physician deems it necessary “to preserve the patient’s physical or mental health.”

When Hill, Tarr and Baker voted against the Roe Act, they proved that they don’t care about women’s health and safety, especially when the woman is under age 18. They don’t trust women to make the best choices for themselves and their families. At the same time, they seem to think 16 to 18 year old girls are capable of supporting and raising babies. These men are oblivious to the role of child abuse, domestic violence, incest, poverty, mental and physical illness plays in making these private decisions.

Democrats deserve representation by officials who are intellectually competent to understand and care about women’s health and safety. That’s why I supported Allison Gustavson in 2018.

Massachusetts leaders must reflect our Democratic values!

It is time to elect Massachusetts leaders who represent our Democratic values of freedom to make personal medical decisions, end discrimination against women, the LGBTQ community, people of color and immigrants.

Democratic values include economic justice so that women are paid a living wage, affordable child care and medical coverage of reproductive health care. When women receive justice, we all benefit.

End Hypocrisy!

Representative Hill is proud that he voted to create a Women’s Rights History Trail to promote education and awareness of the struggle for women’s rights in Massachusetts. However, women have no rights until they control their own bodies. This irony is not lost on Democrats.

Stop Endangering Women and their Healthcare Providers

In 2014 Brad Hill voted vetoed a bill that would stop protesters from harassing women entering building to seek health care. This is a dangerous situation because angry extremists have murdered doctors and staff who provided reproductive health care. The bill S 2283: Authorizes Withdrawal Orders around Reproductive Health Care Facilities passed despite the veto by Hill and Baker.

The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts blasted Baker’s veto. Planned Parenthood:

“Instead of standing up for patients, Gov. Baker has decided to pander to anti-abortion extremists for cheap political points and veto legislation that would remove racist & discriminatory barriers to abortion care,” the organization tweeted.

Elect Pro-Choice Women and Feminist Men!

Pictured below are members of the Massachusetts Women’s Caucus in 2019, wearing red for Women’s Day at the state house to raise awareness about women’s heart health.


Currently, 31% of the Massachusetts legislature is comprised of women. There are 12 female Senators and 50 female State Representatives, all of whom are members of the Caucus.

For the current legislative session, the Caucus Co-Chairs are Senator Joan B. Lovely and Representative Patricia A. Haddad. They will serve through the 2021-2022 legislative session. Click here to read about important, past legislative accomplishments impacting women and girls……

What would it be like for the 4th Essex District to have a representative who reflects Democratic values? Let’s take a look at a nearby district…

According to the Massachusetts Red Cloaks, Representative Tram Nguyen’s election in 2018 brought Massachusetts one person closer to gender and racial equity in the State House, but there’s so much further to go: 70% of state legislators identify as male, and only 6 legislators as women of color. Listen in to a conversation about whether the gender and racial imbalance at the top of Beacon Hill makes it possible or impossible to pass the ROE Act this session. Rep. Nguyen’s successful strategy in wining in 2018 was to put her authentic self out to voters, and she has remained true to this approach in her tenure and in her current campaign. What can ROE supporters learn from Rep Nguyen? 

Republican Values

Brad Hill vetoed on 06/18/2014 a bill that Establishes Labor Standards for Domestic Workers. The bill passed and provided labor standards and protections to a largely female work force including
  • Housekeeping;
  • Cleaning and home management;
  • Nanny and caretaking services; and
  • Home companion services.
Brad Hill vetoed on 05/30/2012 a bill that Authorizes Child Care Workers to Form Labor Organizations. The bill passed and allows a predominantly female work force of day care workers to organize for better training and wages. A “family child care provider” was defined as an individual who provides child care services for low-income and at risk children who receives payments from the state for such services based on a rate structure for voucher and contracted payments (Sec. 2).

Pro-women legislators do NOT vote to keep our lowest wage earners in poverty while they struggle to raise families. This is why we need a minimum wage of at least $15.00/hour. This is especially true for women of color who are concentrated in service jobs such as chashier and child care.

GBLTQ Rights are Human Rights

Bruce Tarr voted nay on May 12, 2016 to prohibit Discrimination Based on Gender Identity. Democrats know that discrimination is WRONG. The bill passed despite Hill’s veto and the following basic human rights are codified:

  • Prohibits an owner or employee of any public accommodation from directly or indirectly discriminating against an individual based on gender identity (Sec. 1).
  • Requires any public accommodation to grant all individuals access to public accommodations segregated by sex consistent with an individual’s gender identity (Sec. 2).

Democrats Fight Hate…...

This week haters targeted Asians, specifically women of Asian decent. The racist guy who used to live in the White House called the Covid virus “the China Flu“. This is not OK. Neither is it OK to elect leaders who think White Supremecists are good people and that its OK to grab female genitals. Republicans and Democrats are not the same when it comes to hate. Republicans across the country are working hard to take rights away from transgender people. When any group is targeted, we all suffer. Join Democrats in working for equality and fighting hate.

Please follow the FaceBook page Hamilton and Wenham Liberals for Democracy for local democracy updates…..


  1. Yes! State Rep Hill and State Senator Tarr often do not vote to represent their female constituents and our rights.

  2. Barbara, thank you for this informative piece. Rep Hill and Senator Tarr have often supported issues that have been important to me. But I was totally unaware of their history of opposing women’s rights issues. We need to find solid candidates who will support all the issues backed by liberal voters.

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