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How Defunding Planned Parenthood Would Destroy Progress in Sex Ed

Posted by Haley Eazor, Intern | Posted on: August 03, 2015 at 02:26 pm

We all remember our first Sex Ed class: the awkwardness, the giggling, the wishing you hadn’t shown up for school that day, followed by the whispered conversations in the hallway: “I can’t believe you didn’t know that!” But the conversations don’t end by the middle school locker. Suddenly you’re 21 and talking about STIs and your friends are asking you, “Wait, didn’t you learn that in Sex Ed?”

The difference between my education and yours

There is a clear disparity in the sexual education that happens across our nation, so that what you learn is dependent upon where you go to school.  My parent’s decision to send me to a Christian middle school made all the difference in what I learned about my own body. There was no discussion of various birth control methods. According to my teachers, abstinence was the only way to go (disclaimer: abstinence is only effective if you ACTUALLY stay abstinent).

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My Two Cents: Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the $10 Bill

Posted by Brandie Temple, Well Woman's Benefit Hotline Coordinator | Posted on: August 03, 2015 at 02:15 pm

The significance of any printed currency is more than just the value of the money itself. The images they hold signal who or what is important to a society. What message does it send, then, when we look at our U.S. currency and see that not a single woman is featured on any of our bills? 

This is why I was elated when I heard the United States Treasury Department's decision to place a woman's face on a redesign of the $10 bill with a theme focused on “An Era of Democracy.” Since making its announcement the Treasury department has received millions of comments regarding its redesign, with people offering their two cents about which woman should be featured. For the first woman (but hopefully not the last) who will be featured on a bill, who better than the most influential and longest serving First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt.

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Planned Parenthood Provides Reproductive Health Care to Millions

Posted by Carolyn Kossow, Intern | Posted on: August 03, 2015 at 01:54 pm

At a mere age of fifteen, I was faced with a medical need that required me to take birth control pills. Scared and confused, I turned to my mom. My mom is an excellent doctor, and a loving mother. She self-identifies as feminist, and was more than willing to talk with me about my birth control options. She also referred me to see a gynecologist, who then prescribed me the medication I needed just a few days later. My health insurance covered it all.

I was extremely privileged to be able to receive and pay for those services. I was lucky to have a parent open to having honest conversations with me. Most women in the United States don’t have the same support, resources, or coverage that I had. Luckily for many of these women, they can walk into the open doors of Planned Parenthood and find the health care they need.

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Long Overdue Rule Would Protect Women Retirement Savers

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: August 03, 2015 at 11:15 am

You’ve heard this from us before: women are paid less than men. Women also spend more time out of the workforce and are more likely to work part-time — some of which is due to caregiving responsibilities.

These trends in women’s work and family responsibilities take a serious toll on women’s earnings: Based on today’s wage gap, a woman who worked full time, year round would typically lose $435,049 in a 40-year period due to the wage gap. But — spoiler alert — a lifetime of lower earnings also results in lower Social Security benefits and retirement savings. Women’s retirement savings accounts have significantly lower balances than men’s, and older women’s income lags far behind their male counterparts’.  But because women live longer than men, on average, women need to make these smaller account balances stretch over a longer lifespan.

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A Bittersweet Victory for Women's Health: Federal Appeals Court Reluctantly Strikes Down North Dakota's Extreme Abortion Ban

Posted by Christine Castro, Intern | Posted on: July 31, 2015 at 02:38 pm

Good news for North Dakotans last week — the Eighth Circuit affirmed a lower court's decision striking down a ban on abortions. This extreme law would have banned abortion at around six weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know they are pregnant. Although it's great the court found the law unconstitutional, it's clear the judges were looking for a way to uphold it — and that could be troubling for the future.

The Eighth Circuit stated it "had no choice but to follow" Supreme Court precedent holding that bans before viability are unconstitutional. The opinion could have ended there. Instead, the Eighth Circuit said the Supreme Court should revisit its viability standard because "this choice is better left to the states." But, leaving the decision up to the states would mean states like North Dakota would enact laws, such as this one, that ban abortion earlier and earlier in pregnancy.

Decisions regarding a woman's pregnancy should be left to her and her doctor. Laws like North Dakota's deprive a woman of her ability to make an extremely personal, medical decision, and hands the decision over to politicians.

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Wilma Mankiller for the $10 Bill

Posted by Anna Morrison, Intern | Posted on: July 31, 2015 at 12:05 pm

The United States Treasury Department's decision to place a woman's face on the redesign of the $10 bill is one of great importance. This change opens the door for a new face — literally and figuratively — for our country. At the official announcement of the bill redesign, Treasurer Secretary Jack Lew summed up that our currency "is a statement of who we are as a country." That declaration begs the question: in a moment of change, who do we want to be as a country?

There are a few symbolic elements of the new bill that help narrow down who this inspirational figure should be. First of all, this change will materialize the importance of women in the founding and shaping of the United States. Currently there are no women displayed on our seven paper forms of currency. Changing this helps shift the way we view American history to prioritize female leaders' strong influences. Additionally, it is important that the US Treasury announced the theme of this new bill is democracy. Designing this new bill will make a statement about what democracy means in 21st century America. When honoring both women's achievements and the perseverance of democracy, there is no better candidate for the face of the $10 bill than Wilma Mankiller.

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That Time When Planned Parenthood Visited My Classroom

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: July 31, 2015 at 11:15 am

My high school health class consisted primarily of reading the textbook — sometimes silently and sometimes aloud to the class — and completing worksheets. To say I didn't learn much would be an understatement. But one day the painful monotony was broken by a guest speaker from Planned Parenthood. This amazing and brave woman stood in front of a class of around thirty 15 and 16 year olds and gave us medically accurate, non-judgmental information about birth control.

I'm from a small, conservative Texas town. That same public school teacher who taught the Worst Health Class in the World — one of the myriad of coaches forced to teach something other than physical education — had required me to copy prayers from a book as punishment for passing a note in class. Actual sex education was not something I had expected. And, yet, thanks to Planned Parenthood it was something I did get.

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Around the Water Cooler: Advice for Grads

Posted by | Posted on: July 31, 2015 at 09:55 am

Welcome to our new blog series: Around the Water Cooler at NWLC! We're interns this summer at the Law Center, and we wanted to get to know some of the amazing people that we work with every better. We've learned so much about (and from) them, and we thought you'd enjoy getting to know them too.

As rising seniors in undergrad, we're thinking a lot about the future. We asked our co-workers what advice they would give us (and other graduates) who want to pursue careers in the feminist movement.

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