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ACA Repeal: 57th Try Isn't a Charm

Posted by Sami Alsawaf, Legal Intern | Posted on: July 27, 2015 at 02:48 pm

Yesterday, the Senate tried once again to gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when Senate Majority Leader McConnell offered an amendment to the federal highway funding bill which would fully repeal the ACA. I don't personally see the connection between the federal highways and the ACA, but presumably the Senate leadership does.

Also, the vote was on a Sunday, which is unusual because the Senate doesn't normally work weekends. They must have thought this was a vote that needed to be done immediately because they just couldn't wait for a Monday.

Try, Try, and Try Again

The vote didn't pass. Shocking, right? This vote marks the 57th time Congress has attempted to repeal or defund the ACA.

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Why Defunding Planned Parenthood Is a Bad Idea

Posted by Sami Alsawaf, Legal Intern | Posted on: July 27, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Last summer after I graduated from college, I woke up one morning very sick and doubled over in pain. Since I was away from home, I couldn't see my regular doctor. Usually, I would go to the student health clinic in this type of situation, but since I had just graduated, I couldn't go to the clinic without having to pay major fees. As I was getting worse by the hour, I became concerned that my only option was a nearby — but very expensive — urgent care center. Then, I suddenly remembered the small, unassuming house I passed by every day, with a small sign out in front that said "Planned Parenthood." I called them up and was able to get an appointment immediately. Planned Parenthood was there for me that day, but if certain abortion opponents have their way, Planned Parenthood won't be around any longer.

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A Win for Washingtonians, A Win for Patients' Rights

Posted by Erika Hanson, Legal Intern | Posted on: July 27, 2015 at 10:47 am

Washingtonians won big last week when the Ninth Circuit held that pharmacies can't deny patients needed medication. In a victory for patients' rights, the court unanimously upheld [PDF] the state's rule requiring pharmacies to fill all lawfully prescribed medication in a timely manner.

Under the Washington rule, a pharmacist could refuse to fill a prescription so long as the pharmacy guaranteed that another pharmacist was available. In other words, the pharmacy must ensure that the patient gets the medication. A pharmacy and two pharmacists challenged the rule, claiming that filling certain prescriptions would violate their religious beliefs. The Ninth Circuit rightly considered the potential harmful effects on patients' health that could result from allowing pharmacies to refuse to dispense prescriptions and held that Washington's rule ensures that patients have "safe and timely access to their lawfully prescribed medications."

This Ruling Isn't Only Important for Washington

Pharmacy refusals harm patients. Evidence presented to the Ninth Circuit showed that that pharmacists and pharmacies have refused to fill a wide range of medication including diabetic syringes, insulin, HIV medications, emergency contraception, and Valium. Not only do these refusals threaten patients' health, they can leave patients feeling shamed and humiliated.

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Who Should Be on #TheNew10?

Posted by National Women's Law Center, | Posted on: July 24, 2015 at 03:55 pm

You’ve probably heard the news that the $10 bill is being redesigned, and will feature a woman’s face. We all know women’s contributions are priceless, but it is exciting to think about which strong, history-making woman’s face will look back at us when we open our wallets in the not-too-distant future.

We asked some folks around the NWLC office to tell us who they want to see on #TheNew10, and their persuasive arguments haven’t made the choice any easier! Read up on some of the pitches — and keep checking back as we update this page with more suggestions of women for #TheNew10.

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The Equality Act is the Next Step After Marriage Equality

Posted by Allie Bohm, Legal Intern | Posted on: July 24, 2015 at 03:01 pm

“. . . with liberty and justice for all.” Those words capture our national aspirations. Last month’s marriage equality decision brought us one step closer to that vision. The Equality Act, which was introduced yesterday by Senators Merkley (D-Ore.), Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Booker (D-N.J.) and Representatives Cicilliine (D-R.I.) and Lewis (D-Ga.), would bring us even closer.

Thanks to the marriage decision, states across the country must recognize and honor same-sex couples’ love and commitment to one another – just as those states routinely do with straight couples. Moreover, by allowing same-sex couples to marry – to participate equally in that fundamental, foundational institution – the Court sent a message that LGBT people, especially LGBT youth, can dream the same dreams about growing up, falling in love, having a family, and building a successful life that their straight peers dream.

The Next Step Is Full Equality

The marriage decision is historic, but it does not achieve the full promise of dignity and equality.

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Schedules That Work: A Cause Worth Fighting For

Posted by Corinna Svarlien, Intern | Posted on: July 24, 2015 at 02:50 pm

An employee at a company is not simply a worker: she is also a person trying to live a full life. We all have responsibilities. We have school and second jobs. We have parents, children, and partners who rely on us. We have physical and mental health needs. We have bills to pay. It can be difficult to juggle all of these demands on our time, but luckily many of us have the tools we need to arrange our lives so that we can provide for ourselves and loved ones. Everyone needs this kind of control over our time and priorities, so why are low-wage workers so often forced to schedule their lives as if they were only workers and not also parents, students, caretakers, and people?

The Cost of Schedules That Don’t Work

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An Important Victory in the Fight for $15

While tomorrow will mark six years since the federal minimum wage last went up, Fight for 15 activists are celebrating a big win in New York.

A panel appointed by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recommended yesterday that the minimum wage be raised for employees of fast-food chain restaurants to $15 an hour over the next few years. Their proposal calls for the minimum wage to go up to $10.50 in New York City and $9.75 in the rest of the state by Dec. 31, then increase gradually each year to reach $15 in New York City by the end of 2018 and in the rest of the state by July 1, 2021. It is expected that the labor commissioner, Mario Musolino, will accept and implement their recommendation.

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Anger, Activism, and Interruptions

Posted by Katherine Protil, Intern | Posted on: July 23, 2015 at 10:38 am

At 10pm on a warm April night this year, I stood on my university’s academic mall with around 40 other angry students. People passed out signs scribbled with anti-rape messages. Somebody had brought a small drum and a tambourine, and one of the other event organizers was carrying a megaphone and a list of chants. I had a map of our planned route through campus folded in my pocket.

It had been nearly two months since our community had received an all-students email detailing the drugging of two students on campus. That email had set off an explosion of protests and discussions, including a list of demands circulated by a group of students who were fed up with our campus climate. It had been a long time coming. Students weren’t just angry with the university’s sexual assault policies—we also were sick of seeing racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism on our campus go unchecked.

We wanted a change, and we were going to make sure everyone heard.

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