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Montana House Passes Telemedicine Abortion Ban, Imposing Substantial Costs on Women

Posted by Rachel Parker, Intern | Posted on: April 10, 2015 at 09:55 am

As if living in a remote area miles from a large city wasn’t enough of a barrier, legislators in the state of Montana are seeking to make abortion even less accessible. In March, the Montana House of Representatives voted in favor of a ban on telemedicine abortions. The bill is currently in the Montana Senate and a vote is expected soon. “We all know what this bill is about,” Representative Elli Hill commented, explaining that although proposed under the guise of health and safety, the ban actually seeks to make abortion less accessible to women in remote areas of the state.

Medication abortions administered through telemedicine are as safe and effective as in-person abortions. With telemedicine, a doctor provides a medication abortion to a patient at a local clinic via a live video conference. Telemedicine increases access to abortion, permitting some women to have an abortion earlier in their pregnancy. This actually increases safety and reduces costs. Although abortion is an extremely safe procedure, the risk of complications and the costs of the procedure do increase with each week of pregnancy.

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New Fact Sheet Outlines the Latest Legislative Developments in the Movement for Fair Work Schedules

There is a growing movement across our nation for fair work schedules. This movement is spurred by women like Hilaria Bonilla, a single mother, who testified in a hearing on Maryland’s fair work schedules bill [PDF] about the consequences to her family of an extremely difficult work schedule. She has worked for her employer for more than a decade and earns only $11 per hour. Getting only one week’s notice of her schedule makes it extremely difficult for Ms. Bonilla to be involved in her 10 year old daughter’s school or to make doctor’s appointments for herself or her daughter. Despite having asked not to work nights, she is routinely assigned to the night shift. Ms. Bonilla testified that having more notice and more of a say in when she works would make all the difference to her ability to care for her daughter.

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Abortion Coverage Ban Would Harm Texas Women

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: April 08, 2015 at 10:49 am

Once again, Texas politicians are trying to make it harder for women to access abortion. Today, the Texas House State Affairs Committee will hear testimony regarding HB 3130 which would prohibit health insurance plans sold in the marketplace from covering abortion, except when a woman’s life is in danger or to prevent “irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, other than a psychological or emotional condition.” 

This overly narrow exception ignores the real circumstances women face when deciding whether or not to continue a pregnancy. By denying women coverage for abortion, the bill cruelly punishes women by making it harder for them to access this needed health care service and will disproportionately harm lower-income women who may be unable to afford an abortion without insurance coverage.   

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Asian American Women Deserve Fair Pay

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: April 08, 2015 at 10:39 am

This week we mark Asian American women’s equal pay day, the day that represents how many extra days an Asian American woman typically has to work to earn what a white, non-Hispanic man typically earns in one year. American women who work full time, year round are typically paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. The wage gap is a penny better for Asian American women--among full-time, year-round workers, Asian American women typically make 79 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. However, focusing on the aggregate obscures the full story. The wage gap varies among subgroups of Asian American women with some groups of Asian American women making substantially less.

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A No-Brainer in Colorado: Funding for Birth Control

Posted by Mara Gandal-Powers, Counsel | Posted on: April 08, 2015 at 10:12 am

If I were to tell you that there was a program that helped women get the most effective forms of birth control and had reduced the teen birth rate by nearly 40% in four years, you’d probably say, “This is amazing, tell me more.”  If I told you that for every dollar invested in this program, the state had saved $5.85 in Medicaid costs, you might say, “You can’t argue with that math.” And if I told you that there was has an opportunity to continue this fantastic work, you’d probably say, “That’s a no-brainer, they should keep doing it.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be a no-brainer for some members of the Colorado state legislature.

The state legislature is currently debating whether it should fund the Department of Public Health and Environment to continue the Colorado Family Planning Initiative. The program, which helps women get access to long-acting reversible birth control (LARCs,) was started in 2009 with funding from a private donor. The funding ends in June. The program’s impact on the state cannot be overstated. There have been reductions in: unintended pregnancy; abortion rates; numbers of infants needing nutrition support; and, Medicaid spending on births. Women, children, families, and the state budget all benefitted from this program, so why is there any debate?

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The Mad Men Era is Over — But Sexual Harassment Isn’t

Posted by Katie Hegarty, Online Outreach Associate | Posted on: April 06, 2015 at 03:44 pm

Last night’s return of Mad Men found Joan and Peggy in a skin-crawlingly sexist shareholder meeting. Three male partners sat across the table from the women as they discussed changing the ad strategy for a pantyhose company—and the men made lewd, sexist innuendos. One of the men insinuated that the high quality of the pantyhose meant a customer could “pull them down over and over.”


Joan and Peggy are not new characters— and their run-ins with workplace harassment are not new either. Virtually every woman on the show faces sexism at least once. Peggy’s pregnancy in season one is played for fat jokes by her womanizing coworkers. And perhaps the hardest storyline for many women to watch was when Joan’s coworkers used her to close a deal, forcing her to make the “choice” to promise sex with a hesitant client…if he signs on the dotted line.

The problem isn’t that we’re unused to sexism. It’s that we expect the men on this show to let up already! But Mad Men airs Sunday nights, and that same story line is still playing out for women across America on Monday morning.

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March Jobs Report: Weak Job Growth, Black Women’s Unemployment Continues to Rise

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: April 03, 2015 at 03:06 pm

Today’s release of March’s jobs data reports a slowdown in job growth and other troubling signs for workers and the economy. Our analysis shows increases in unemployment for some vulnerable groups, and finds a sizable share of jobs added were in low-wage sectors.

The overall unemployment rate in March was unchanged from February at 5.5 percent, and the unemployment rate for adult women (20 and older) was likewise flat at 4.9 percent. However, adult African American women’s unemployment rate rose for the third month in a row, marking a troubling trend for 2015. At 9.2 percent, it is now a full percentage point higher than it was in December 2014. Unemployment rates also rose for adult Latinas and single mothers in March from February.

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SCOTUS and Medicaid: Another Threat to Women’s Health Care

Posted by Karen Davenport, Director of Health Policy | Posted on: April 01, 2015 at 05:23 pm

In a 5-4 ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court decided that health care providers cannot sue state Medicaid programs to enforce federal Medicaid law. In Armstrong v. Exceptional Child, Medicaid providers for individuals with developmental disabilities had sued Idaho over payment rates that, they argued, violated requirements in the Medicaid statute that require states to pay participating providers rates that ensure patients’ access to services.

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