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PA Politician [Feb. 12th, 2004|01:45 pm]
As the only woman from Pennsylvania in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, I researched Congresswoman Melissa Hart, who represents southwestern Pennsylvania. Hart is the first female Republican to serve in the House of Representatives and was the first female Republican to serve in the state Senate.

Because she is one of a few Republican women in Congress, Hart’s comments and stance about women’s issues are often listened to, at least more so than her male colleagues’ remarks. As a result, it is important to examine what issues are important to her and what her priorities are.

Hart does not place a particular emphasis on women’s issues, except for those relating to pregnant women/abortion. She proudly co-sponsored the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act”, which increases penalties for assailants who harm an unborn child or the child’s mother. She also opposes making the Morning-After Pill available over the counter, citing that adolescent girls, in particular, will use it as the only form of birth control. Reading articles with her comments about such women’s issues as these, it was clear that Hart’s gender played a big role in highlighting her credibility. (For example, see: http://hart.house.gov/News.asp?FormMode=detail&ID=169, where she is the only person quoted.) After all, if a woman thinks that the Morning-After Pill should not be used, then maybe we should pay attention to her and rethink our decisions.

Hart appears to have no stance on any other “women’s issues” and appears to cater her priorities toward poverty, the elderly and education. However, I have not found any evidence of work that she has done to help college students or address young adult issues (other than those related to reproductive health).

Perhaps looking at Pennsylvania’s State Senate and House of Representatives will provide a broader picture of female politicians in Pennsylvania and give a better idea of the range of issues they support.