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Good News From the D.C. Circuit

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: November 14, 2014 at 02:32 pm

For those of us in need of some good news for women's health, the D.C. Circuit Court just came through. In the first Circuit Court decision since Hobby Lobby, a unanimous panel of the D.C. Circuit said [PDF] that non-profit organizations that object to providing birth control don’t get out of complying with the birth control coverage requirement of the federal health care law.

Specifically, the non-profit organizations – including Catholic University – were challenging the "accommodation" provided to them. Non-profit organizations that qualify for the accommodation do not have to provide employees with birth control coverage. Instead, they simply have to send a form to HHS or their insurance company saying they object to covering birth control. The insurance company then provides the birth control coverage without cost-sharing directly to the employees and students.   In other words, as the court said, the non-profits need only "complete the written equivalent of raising a hand in response to the government's query as to which religious organizations want to opt out…. Other entities step in and fill the gap" to ensure women get the benefit.

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White House Report and Event on Girls and Women of Color

Yesterday, the White House released a report [PDF] called Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity and announced that the White House Council on Women and Girls will now have a working group to focus on the particular barriers that women and g

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Putting a Value on Caregiving

Posted by Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Senior Policy Analyst | Posted on: November 13, 2014 at 01:24 pm

Everyone knows that raising children is pricey—the USDA estimates it costs nearly $250,000 to raise one child to adulthood (not even counting college!).  But what you might not know is how much all the time and effort parents put in to childrearing is worth to our economy. This is because the value of unpaid caregiving and childrearing—the lion’s share of which is done by women—is largely unrecognized and rarely quantified.

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Stand With Pregnant Workers Virtual Rally Instructions

Posted by Amanda Hooper, Outreach Manager | Posted on: November 13, 2014 at 10:19 am

On December 3, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Peggy Young v. UPS, a pregnancy discrimination case that will determine whether and when the Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires an employer to make accommodations for a worker who needs them because of pregnancy.

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The Budget Battles in Lame Duck: What’s at Stake for Women and Families

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel | Posted on: November 12, 2014 at 09:17 am

After a long election recess, Congress returns today—and Members have plenty of work to do in the lame duck session before the newly elected Congress takes over in January. The headline-making issues on the congressional agenda include Ebola and ISIS, but Congress’s response to these exceptional threats will likely be tied to its approach to a more basic task: keeping the federal government running.

Because Congress did not pass any FY 2015 appropriations bills before the recess, it approved a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government operating at FY 2014 funding levels when the new fiscal year began on October 1. But the CR expires on December 11, and Congress will have to enact a new funding measure before the deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

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Unexpected News from the Supreme Court Won’t Stop Health Care Enrollment

Posted by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights | Posted on: November 07, 2014 at 02:44 pm

With eight days to go before health plan enrollment begins for 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States announced today that it will hear King v. Burwell in the Court’s next term. This case challenges the availability of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for people who sign up for health insurance through the federal Marketplace. Thirty-four states rely on the federal government to manage the health insurance marketplaces for their residents. This means that if the Court were to overturn the King decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, millions of women and their families would lose premium subsidies, and therefore access to affordable health insurance.

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Sixth Circuit to Same-Sex Couples: Just Wait and See

Posted by Elizabeth Johnston, Fellow | Posted on: November 07, 2014 at 02:33 pm

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit handed down its decision in DeBoer v. Snyder, [PDF] becoming the first federal appellate court to state uphold bans on marriage between same-sex couples post-Windsor. Instead of addressing the constitutional issues, the majority focused largely on who should decide the issue, insisting that the democratic process, not the federal judiciary, was the appropriate forum through which same-sex couples should obtain their civil rights. In other words, those “laboratories of experimentation” that adopted the bans to begin with should be charged with removing them. This decision begs the question, what is the role of the courts, if not to “say what the law is”—especially when the legal questions involve individual constitutional rights of such grave importance? Nevertheless, according to the Sixth Circuit, the courts should “wait and see” what the fallout is in the states where same-sex marriage is now legal and respect the will of the voters. Sound familiar? That same argument was made, unsuccessfully, by Virginia in Loving v. Virginia, the case that overturned Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. It was an outrageous proposition then and it is today: don’t we look to courts to be counter-majoritarian? To prevent majorities from oppressing minorities?

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October’s Employment Update Shows Importance of Raising the Minimum Wage and Tipped Minimum Wage

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: November 07, 2014 at 01:17 pm

This month’s BLS data release shows continued strong job growth, with the economy adding 214,000 jobs. Women’s jobs made up 59 percent of these gains (127,000 jobs), but our analysis shows that 49 percent of new jobs overall were added in the low-wage sectors of retail, leisure & hospitality, temporary help services, home health care services, and nursing & residential care facilities. One-third of women’s total net jobs were added in the retail and leisure & hospitality sectors alone.

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