Advocating for Women
Women's rights are civil rights. That means standing up against unjust attacks on every woman's access to equitable reproductive health care and advocating for equality under the law by passing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
Fighting for women's rights is at the forefront of my career.
As a legislator and a community activist, I have worked to establish women's reproductive rights and reproductive justice, as well as to bring a high profile to these issues. Whether a patron of a reproductive rights bill, an anti-discrimination bill or a menstrual equity bill and an advocate for passage, and working to ensure implementation, I actively seek broader social justice goals in our education system and in our criminal justice system. I have organized community action in Iowa, Rhode Island and Virginia to support these goals. I became an elected School Board Member and Delegate to pursue equity and create leadership opportunities for women and girls, and strengthen our pro-choice support.
Through founding and chairing the Women's Reproductive Health Care Caucus in the Virginia General Assembly, I have built a strong base to support reproductive justice and push for change. I have attended and spoken at rallies and marches at the Capitol and traveled with the ERA bus. My successful bill, HB83 (2018), requiring prisons and jails to provide menstrual supplies at no charge and upon request — instead of an allotted amount — for incarcerated women was the first in the nation. I have gone into jails and prisons to learn firsthand the specifics of health care offered to women. I have also organized a public panel of formerly incarcerated women to publicize the travesties and inequities in our criminal justice system and hope to schedule more in the future.
Establishing civil equality and the right to choose reproductive health care should not be the century-long fight that it has become. Unfortunately, equality looks like a threat to the privileged. This has been borne out again and again. Not one more generation of women should have to fight this fight. Our Constitution must establish legal equality for women. Until that time, I will fight against gender inequity everywhere I find it.
"From one force to be reckoned with to another, I am proud to support Delegate Kory's re-election. We have worked together closely to improve the conditions of jails and prisons in which women are incarcerated, including on her bill, HB 83, which was the first in our nation to supply feminine hygiene and menstrual products to women inmates and prisoners at no cost to them."
The ongoing battle over reproductive rights in 2019.
The Republican-controlled House of Delegates rejected Governor Northam's effort to remove language in our 2019 budget that would restrict state funding for abortion services unless required by federal law under the Hyde Amendment. Federal funds can pay for an abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger under the Hyde Amendment. Republicans have also rejected the Governor's budget amendment restoring the current Long-Acting Reproductive Contraceptives (LARC) program which funds 12 health care providers to provide LARCs to patients whose income is below 250% of the federal poverty level, particularly women who are uninsured or under-insured.
I spoke on the House Floor urging support for the Governor's efforts, but my Republican colleagues refused to hear me out and are instead going to war against women's reproductive freedom. The Governor's amendments would have undoubtedly passed if we had a Democratic majority in the General Assembly, and women in Virginia would have been safe from another attack on their reproductive freedom from the right.
While these changes may not affect very many women in Virginia, those who desperately need this assistance are being punished for being poor. No family should be denied this care simply because they cannot afford it.
Senator Barbara Favola
"Kaye's leadership as the co-founder and House Chair of the Women's Reproductive Health Care Caucus is critical for the expansion of equitable reproductive health care access, justice, and freedom in the Commonwealth of Virginia."
“When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”
— Michelle Obama, 2013
Teach a Girl to Lead — inspiring young girls to follow in the footsteps of women leaders.
As a woman legislator and leader in the House of Delegates, I hope to inspire the young girls in our 38th District to be woman leaders themselves one day. That’s why I have been going to schools in our community to read Grace for President — a book about a young girl who is disheartened that there are no women presidents in all of United States history and channels this energy into running for president of her school — as a volunteer for the Rutgers University and Center for American Women in Politics "Teach a Girl to Lead" project. After reading this book at elementary schools in our 38th District, I lead a discussion with the students on its themes of women in leadership. I am always looking for ways to weave the theme of women's civil rights in the fabric of my community.