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Judicial Nominations Update

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: November 21, 2014 at 11:48 am

Happy Friday! As we noted on Wednesday, five more district court nominees were slated for Senate votes this week. Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Pamela Pepper to the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Brenda K. Sannes to the Northern District of New York, Madeline Cox Arleo to the District of New Jersey, Wendy Beetlestone to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Victor Allen Bolden to the District of Connecticut. Their confirmations are notable, not only for the diversity that they bring to the federal bench, but because they bring the number of current judicial vacancies down to 56.

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Transgender Health Care Needs Can't Be Ignored

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: November 21, 2014 at 11:21 am

A recent study on pregnancy in transgender men who had transitioned from female to male highlights the significant problems transgender people experience in obtaining appropriate and culturally competent health care. Many patients had to deal with rude or inappropriate treatment, ranging from improper pronoun use to outright refusals to provide care. One patient said that he was reported to protective services because, “A tranny had a baby.” 

Problems with transgender health care, however, aren’t limited to pregnancy. Health care providers often lack training and knowledge in how to treat transgender people and insurance companies refuse to pay for needed services. For example, health insurance companies refuse to pay for basic preventive services, like cervical cancer screenings for transgender men and prostate cancer screenings for transgender women.

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The One Mississippi Abortion Clinic Stays Open, But…

Posted by Gretchen Borchelt, Senior Counsel & Director of State Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: November 21, 2014 at 09:39 am

Good news - the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit just refused to reconsider a panel’s earlier decision to block a Mississippi law that would have closed the state’s only abortion clinic. The law required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and was meant to — and would have — forced the sole clinic in the state to shut its doors. But the panel said the law went too far and was unconstitutional — the full court’s decision not to rehear the case means that the clinic stays open. This is great news for Mississippi women who will continue to have access to abortion in their state.

But….

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Listen Up

Posted by Alicia Gurrieri, Program Assistant | Posted on: November 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm

In a recent CNN interview, Don Lemon responds to Joan Tarshis' account of rape by simplifying her trauma into a situation that could have been easily resolved if she had used her teeth as a weapon. Wow, thanks Lemon! You have single-handedly discovered how to end rape. You hear that, people? All you need to do is, well, not get raped. Why is it that easy, you ask? Because rape is not about using forms of intimidation to paralyze someone into complete powerlessness. It is not about using force, coercion, drugs, etc., to limit one’s ability to consent. And, it most certainly is not about power and control dynamics…oh wait…YES IT IS. 

Lemon tip-toes into the conversation by prefacing it with, "I don't mean to be crude, ok?" Although, it comes across more as a, "I know this may sound inappropriate...but I am being sincere, so please just go with it anyway." I wouldn't describe his insinuation as crude, but I would describe it as a question from a person who does not understand rape, at all, which is not necessarily his fault. However, every time I listen to him say, “You -- you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn't want to do it,” I cringe. He uses the same sort of “duhh” tone I used when I told my nana no, the Spice Girls are not still hip.

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1 in 3 Women Have Abortions. It’s Okay, They Know What They’re Doing

Posted by Brandie Temple, Well Woman's Benefit Hotline Coordinator | Posted on: November 20, 2014 at 10:42 am

Being an abortion provider is not easy. On top of the risk and stigma, there is an unprecedented amount of regulation that impacts the day-to-day work, more than in any other line of healthcare. Between 2010 and 2013, more abortion regulations were passed in the U.S. than in the decades prior. In my former state of North Carolina, House Bill 854, also known as the “Woman’s Right to Know Act” [PDF] went in to effect in October 2011. The law imposed 24 hour waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, and state scripted counseling for women in North Carolina seeking abortion. It forced providers to state medically ambiguous information about an unproven link between abortion and future fertility, and forced patients to listen to the description of an ultrasound, even if they did not want to. It also required medical providers to “inform” patients seeking abortion that child support and/or government assistance may be available to them if they carried their pregnancy to term. At the time, I worked at a women’s health clinic that provided abortion services.

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In San Francisco and Across the Country Workers Call for Schedules That Work

Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco voted on historic legislation to ensure workers in San Francisco’s chain restaurant and retail stores have predictable and stable schedules. The vote was 10-0 in favor of the legislation—completely unanimous and a veto-proof majority!

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Judicial Nominations Update: Lame Duck Edition

Posted by Agata Pelka, Fellow | Posted on: November 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm

On Tuesday, Senator Reid filed for cloture on five district court nominations (Pamela Pepper to the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Brenda K. Sannes to the Northern District of New York, Madeline Cox Arleo to the District of New Jersey, Wendy Beetlestone to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Victor Allen Bolden to the District of Connecticut). Four of the nominees are women and would increase gender representation on the bench – for example, Pamela Pepper would be the first woman judge in the district to which she has been nominated. Cloture and confirmation votes are expected this week.  

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Five Things to Remember During Open Enrollment this Year

Posted by Stephanie Glover, Health Policy Fellow | Posted on: November 18, 2014 at 03:10 pm

Open enrollment for health coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplaces begins this weekend. Open enrollment is an annual opportunity for women to compare their insurance options and, depending on their circumstances, renew with their current plan, enroll in a new plan, or apply for Marketplace coverage for the first time. In 2014, more than 4 million women enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces. This year, many more women and their families are likely to shop for coverage and select a new health plan.

As women consider their options during open enrollment, here are five things to keep in mind:

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