"A true champion of women's health and rights"

U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, 1932-2009

Published August 26, 2009 1:27PM (EDT)

Ellen R. Malcolm, president and founder of EMILY's List, issued the following statement this morning on the passing of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy:

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Senator Kennedy. He was a true champion for women and families in the United States and around the world. Sen. Kennedy was a major supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment for constitutional equality for men and women; a strong advocate for Title IX that increased participation for women in college sports; and more recently a leader in passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that ensures equal pay for equal work. [Also, SCHIP, and so much more. -- LH] He will be truly missed.

And, from Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America family is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our nation's strongest leaders, Senator Edward Kennedy. Ted Kennedy is survived by a legacy of providing a voice to those Americans who otherwise would not have been heard. Through his leadership and utter dedication to standing up for people who are less fortunate, Senator Kennedy paved the way for many Americans to improve their lives, build stronger families and ultimately forge a stronger nation.

Senator Kennedy was a pioneer champion of health care reform. He understood that in order to live the American dream every American first needs to be healthy, and that access to affordable, quality health care is critical to that goal. He was also a true champion of women's health and rights, believing strongly that women should have equal access to opportunities including education, jobs, and health care.

Senator Kennedy's absence at this time in our nation's struggle to ensure all Americans have access to the health care they deserve is profound. We will miss his heartfelt commitment to reform, his leadership in our effort, and most of all his friendship.

And finally, Kennedy in his own words: “We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make.... I have lived a blessed time."

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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