Flags at the Capitol were lowered to half-staff last Friday in honor of U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, who died on March 16 at the age of 88. “Ms. Slaughter, a 16-term liberal Congresswoman who represented an upstate New York district in Congress for more than three decades, pushed to protect health privacy and abortion rights and played a key role in the passage of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. “ (New York Times) U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said the congresswoman will be remembered “as one of the great, pioneering women in our country’s history.”
Slaughter had many legislative achievements, especially related to public health, but perhaps her role as a co-sponsor of the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993 was most significant. Slaughter fought to ensure the legislation included language guaranteeing that women and minorities were included in all federal health clinical trials from that point forward. Previously, all NIH-funded research was done on white males, even in trials related to predominately female diseases such as breast cancer. Slaughter also fought to include language establishing an Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) at the NIH in the legislation, and in 1993 secured the first $500 million earmarked by Congress for breast cancer research at the NIH.
In 2007, she first introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which would limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to counter the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Slaughter also strongly supported the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, designed to prohibit discrimination by employers or health insurers based upon an individual’s genetic information. (Wikipedia)