NARAL Pro-Choice Honors Philly’s State Rep. Brian Sims

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Feb 3, 2014

On February 4, State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., the first openly gay elected state senator in Pennsylvania history, will be honored by NARAL Pro-Choice America with a national "Champion of Choice" award in Washington, D.C. The awards ceremony will take place at the Washington Hilton.

"As President Obama said in the State of the Union, when women succeed, America succeeds!," wrote Sims on his House of Representatives website. "As a first-term representative, I am humbled and honored to receive this national award for my defense of women's rights, and I will continue to stand up for those rights and oppose the attacks on them. Women's rights are human rights."

Sims is strongly pro-choice and attracted national acclaim for his impassioned defense of women's rights during an April 2013 state House debate on legislation that restricts a woman's right to an abortion and access to health care by putting government restrictions on private insurance companies and how women can spend their own money.

"NARAL Pro-Choice America is proud to recognize Rep. Brian Sims as an ally and tireless champion for reproductive rights as we celebrate our 45th year fighting to make sure that every woman in America is free to exercise her right to choose," said Karen Ritter, Board Vice Chair of NARAL Pro-Choice America and former Board Chair of NARAL Pro-Choice Pennsylvania. "As a lawyer and ardent defender of the Constitution, Rep. Sims recognizes when lawmakers seek to curtail those rights and is a powerful voice against policies that discriminate against women."

As a member of the Women's Health Caucus in the legislature, Sims is sponsoring one of the caucus' bills with Rep. Erin Molchany, D-Allegheny. House Bill 1890 would clarify and update the legal standards for pay-equity lawsuits. The bill would also strengthen anti-retaliation protections for employees attempting to bring a pay-equity lawsuit against their employer and those who share information about their pay.

Sims also supports the rest of the caucus' proactive agenda, which also includes workplace accommodations for pregnant women, sanitary conditions for nursing mothers, increased eligibility for breast and cervical cancer screenings, protections for domestic violence victims and a ban on intimate partner harassment (sometimes called "revenge porn").

On his Facebook page, Sims shared his excitement about being honored with women and organizations including Dolores Huerta, Matha Shane and Lana Wilson, and Representatives from Young Women United, while simultaneously holding off pro-life and anti-women comments.

"Though I've had the opportunity to attend some pretty kick-ass events, being recognized during this NARAL dinner has to be at the top of my list," wrote Sims. "I'm still in shock about this, and again, I'm humbled and excited to get to meet some of my (s)heroes from all across the country who are fighting for women's health and a woman's right to choose."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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