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Critical Services for At-Risk Girls in D.C. Are At Risk Themselves

If you live in Washington, D.C., listen up: we’ve got a special alert for you! The D.C City Council has proposed to eliminate from its budget all funding for Crittenton Services of Greater Washington. That’s $700,000 that currently helps to empower and enable teen girls in DC to stay in school, avoid unwanted pregnancy, earn a diploma, and go on to college and careers. That $700,000 currently supports programs for nearly 250 at-risk girls in D.C. public schools. Without this funding, Crittenton will have to close the doors of its D.C. programs.

You can help to keep that from happening. The City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee is set to vote on its budget legislation this Monday, May 11. Now’s the time to raise your voice and make sure these programs can continue to help teen girls work toward their goals.

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What Is "Appropriate" Prom Attire, Anyway?

Posted by Yessica Gomez, Intern | Posted on: May 08, 2015 at 09:43 am

With prom season in full swing, I have been reminiscing about my own prom. My school — for better or worse — allowed students to wear what they wanted and to bring who they wanted, as long as the date did not violate any statutory rape clauses. Everyone was able to dance and enjoy this one night, where the focus should be on having a great time with your peers that you have spent years with, bidding each other farewell with an epic dance party.

However, many girls across the country are not able to enjoy prom the way I once did and the way many adults before them have. Why? The dress codes for prom have become overwhelmingly stringent in the name of keeping girls from being promiscuous and “compromising their character.” Many schools force students, especially girls, to conform to “traditional,” stereotypical ideals of appropriate attire at their proms. At one school, a student was asked to leave the prom because school officials thought her dress was too revealing, even though the mother and daughter had worked hard to find a dress that fit all of the school’s dress code rules.

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Another Step Toward Fair Pay: Reforming Overtime Pay Protections

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: May 05, 2015 at 03:02 pm

Today, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez announced that the Department of Labor has drafted a rule to reform overtime pay protections. Along with raising the minimum wage—which would rise to $12 an hour by 2020 under the Raise the Wage Act which was introduced in Congress last week—requiring that workers with modest salaries are compensated for all the hours they work would boost the earnings of millions of hard-working women and men and strengthen our communities and economy.

A little history: the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, in addition to setting a minimum wage, established the basic 40-hour workweek. Hourly workers and workers with salaries below a specified threshold, set by regulation, are entitled to overtime pay—at least time-and-a half their regular rate of pay—for hours in excess of 40 per week. The Act exempts more highly paid professional and managerial employees from the overtime rules.

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Tip of the Hat to the Governor of Montana for Protecting Access to Health Care!

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: May 05, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Last Monday, Governor Bullock of Montana stood up for women and vetoed a bill that would have banned the use of telemedicine to prescribe medication for abortion remotely in the state. Because he waited until the last day of the legislative session, procedural rules prevent the legislature from trying to overcome his veto. That means this bill, HB 587, is officially dead.

Why Montana Women Need Telemedicine for Abortion

Telemedicine is a safe and effective method of increasing access to abortion for women across the state. When using telemedicine, the woman receives an in-person examination from a health care professional such as a nurse or an ultrasound technician. After the examination, the woman speaks to her doctor through live video and the doctor remotely prescribes the pills for a medication abortion. Because the doctor and the patient do not have to be in the same location, telemedicine abortion allows women that live long distances from an abortion provider to access medication abortion without burdensome travel. This is particularly important because many women prefer medication abortion to surgical procedures, and telemedicine has a proven track record as a safe way to increase access to this type of care.

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Walking a Fine Line: The Supreme Court (Mostly) Maintains Respect for EEOC Authority in Mach Mining v. EEOC Decision

Posted by Abigail Bar-Lev, Fellow | Posted on: May 04, 2015 at 09:28 am

Last week, the Supreme Court unanimously decided in Mach Mining v. EEOC that while courts can review the EEOC’s conciliation process, the scope of that review is extremely limited, in order to give the legislated deference to the agency and protect confidentiality in negotiations.

What does that mean, why is it important, and what are its implications?

What it means.

This case began when a woman filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging that Mach Mining violated Title VII by refusing to hire her as a miner based on her sex, evidenced in part because Mach Mining had never actually hired a female miner before (and did not even have a women’s bathroom on its mining premises). As required under Title VII, the EEOC first attempted to conciliate the dispute—meaning that it first attempted an informal resolution with the employer before filing a lawsuit—but, reaching no resolution, it sued the company in court.

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The House of Representatives Tells D.C. Women - Your Reproductive Health Decisions Are Fair Game for Your Boss to Fire You

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 01, 2015 at 10:22 am

Congressional attacks on reproductive health often happen stealthily. For example:

For a Congress that really, really wants to restrict reproductive health care, it looks like it really, really doesn't want the public to know what they are up to.

So what's the latest?

Late Tuesday afternoon, the House leadership agreed to allow a floor vote on H.J. Res. 43. And on Thursday night CLOSE TO 11 P.M., the House approved the resolution.

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Health Insurance Companies Leave Women Without Critical Coverage

Posted by Karen Davenport, Director of Health Policy | Posted on: April 30, 2015 at 04:06 pm

Yesterday, the National Women’s Law Center issued an extensive report on insurance issuers’ compliance with Affordable Care Act requirements for women’s health coverage. We found violations in health plans offered in all 15 states in our study — which tells us that women covered by other issuers, and in other states, are probably also being denied coverage for the critical women’s health services guaranteed by the law.

The ACA made dramatic improvements in women’s health coverage by ensuring that health insurance companies can no longer discriminate against women, and requiring plans to offer women coverage for critical health services like maternity care, birth control and prescription drugs. But these guarantees ring hollow when insurance issuers are able to offer coverage that violates these requirements.

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