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Pat Schroeder, Ex-Colorado Congressmember Who Pushed for Women’s Rights and Against War, Dies at 82

HeadlineMar 15, 2023

Pioneering former congressmember and feminist Patricia Schroeder has died at the age of 82. Schroeder was elected as the first woman to represent Colorado in the U.S. House in 1973 and served for nearly a quarter of a century. She championed women and workers’ rights, access to healthcare and environmental protections. She led the fight to pass the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which guarantees workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

As the first woman on the Armed Services Committee, Schroeder called for arms control and reduced military spending. She faced unrelenting misogyny throughout her career but used her public platform to call it out and encourage other women to run for office. This is Pat Schroeder speaking on the House floor in 1992 in favor of the passage of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have codified Roe v. Wade.

Rep. Patricia Schroeder: “Especially as we are looking more and more towards national healthcare, we cannot have a national healthcare that does not recognize women equally; otherwise, we’ll be forcing all women into secondary-class citizens. And I certainly hope that the right-to-choose bill gets a majority of this body, we pass it out of here, and we say to America’s women, indeed, they are going to be treated equally.”

That was former Colorado Congressmember Patricia Schroeder, who died Monday at the age of 82.

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