Louise Slaughter, Congresswoman and Microbiologist, RIP

Friday, Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter died after complications from a fall. She was a stalwart for women’s rights, and co-author of the Violence Against Women Act; Slaughter also was one of the few congress(wo)men who attempted to delay the confirmation of Clarence Thomas. She was also an early defender of LGBT rights.

Slaughter also was a driver behind the STOCK Act, requiring more disclosure in campaign donations: this law is what ultimately led to former HHS Secretary Tom Price’s resignation. She was also a co-author of The Genetic Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). She also secured $500 million in breast cancer funding at the NIH, and fought for inclusion of women and minorities in clinical trials.

But Slaughter was also a trained microbiologist who understood the problem of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance gets some press, but there’s usually very little legislation effort that results from all of that press. Rep. Slaughter was one of the few legislators who actually tried to do something about the problem. While her PAMTA legislation, which would have limited the use of antibiotics in agriculture, was never passed, that effort led to both President Obama’s CARB initiative, as well as voluntary improvements by food producers.

So for those who say there’s no difference between the parties, well, there is. Slaughter was one of the good ones.

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