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Defense Bill Ignores Servicewomen's Constitutional Rights

Posted by Erika Hanson, Intern | Posted on: June 19, 2015 at 10:28 am

Servicewomen have committed their lives to the defense of our Constitution, but our own government is denying them their constitutionally guaranteed rights. Servicewomen and dependents of servicemembers are currently prohibited from receiving abortion care at military hospitals except in cases where the woman’s life is endangered or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Practically, this law could mean that a servicewoman is unable to get an abortion.

Some members of Congress tried to restore our brave servicewomen’s constitutional rights. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have repealed this unfair ban. Disappointingly, Senator Shaheen’s amendment did not get a floor vote.

The Current Ban Denies Servicewomen and Dependents of Servicemembers the Care They Need

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New York Assembly Agrees, It's Not Your Boss' Business

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: June 18, 2015 at 01:57 pm

There’s this pretty obvious concept that your medical decisions should be between you and your medical provider. For some reason, not everyone agrees. Too often, bosses think that they should have a say in their employees’ reproductive decisions. Specifically, bosses across the country have fired or docked their employees’ pay, because they disagree with their employee’s personal reproductive health care decisions. 

D.C. has stepped up and put an end to this type of discrimination, at least for now. The New York Assembly is trying to do the same. Yesterday, the Assembly voted on and passed AB 1142, known as “the Boss Bill.” This bill says bosses cannot discriminate against employees because of their reproductive health decisions. Now, the Boss Bill moves to the Senate for consideration.

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Déjà Vu: House Tries Again to Make Reproductive Decisions a Fireable Offense

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: June 18, 2015 at 10:39 am

A couple of months ago, the House of Representatives passed a bill to undo a D.C. law, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDAA), that protects women from workplace discrimination based on their reproductive health decisions. Fortunately for D.C. residents, because the Senate did not take up the bill to undo D.C.’s law within the allowed time frame, the law took effect on May 2.

The D.C. law is quite simple really. It says that employees shouldn’t be fired for choosing if, when, and how to start a family. Why we would need this law in 2015 is more than troubling; but, unfortunately—even today—some bosses think that the personal reproductive health decisions we make are fair game for retaliation at work.

Now back to the House of Representatives. Never one to miss an opportunity to attack women’s health, the House has decided once again to try to stop the D.C. law. This time it is using its spending power to deny D.C. the ability to use its own local funds to implement this local law.

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Increased Birth Control Access for D.C. Women

Posted by Margot Benedict, Legal Intern | Posted on: June 17, 2015 at 11:46 am

I’ve had some unpleasant experiences trying to pick up prescriptions. I arrive at my local pharmacy, full of hope that I won’t have to wait long because I called in my prescription a few hours ago. Then I see the line and all the people in the waiting area and my heart drops. Various thoughts go through my head: Should I come back later? Should I wait it out? Will I be late to my other appointments? What will happen if I miss a dose? Recently, D.C. took a step forward to help women avoid these questions and uncertainty when it comes to their birth control. The D.C. Council passed a bill that would require insurance plans and the District’s Medicaid program to allow women to access a twelve month supply of birth control at one time.

Why Twelve Months Matters

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You Oughta Know: We've Been Fighting the Same Fight to Protect Title X for 20 Years

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: June 17, 2015 at 10:34 am

Twenty years ago this summer, I stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and watched a group of pro-family planning Members of the House save the Title X family planning program from losing all of its funding. I was 29 years old and had only been working in the House for a few months (and was listening to Alanis Morrisette’s “Jagged Little Pill” repeatedly). Because my boss, Representative Nita Lowey, had made saving Title X one of her top priorities, I had the privilege of helping her organize this fight. She and a group of other Representatives — Democrats and Republicans, men and women — joined together to save this critical program. And, they did save it — by only 20 votes.

I’m flashing back today because this morning the House leadership released a bill that once again attempts to de-fund this critical health program. And it makes no more sense today than it did 20 years ago.

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Supreme Court Lets Doctors Practice Medicine, Not Politics

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: June 16, 2015 at 03:54 pm

Yesterday was a good day for women’s health and the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship. The Supreme Court refused to review the Fourth Circuit’s decision striking down a coercive North Carolina law that inserted politicians’ views where they don’t belong.

The law, passed in 2011, would have subjected every woman in North Carolina to an unnecessary and invasive procedure before she could get an abortion. And it forced doctors to prioritize the messages of anti-abortion politicians over good medicine. Every court that has considered this law, including a federal district court and the Fourth Circuit, found it unconstitutional.

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The Fifth Circuit Grants Texan Politicians' Wish

Posted by Christine Castro, Intern | Posted on: June 16, 2015 at 02:47 pm

In June 2013, as I was bracing myself for my first year of law school, Wendy Davis’ famous filibuster made headline news. At the time, I was unaware of Texas’ anti-abortion bill (H.B. 2) and its devastating impact. H.B. 2 was specifically designed to shut down almost all abortion clinics in Texas. Earlier this week the Fifth Circuit upheld two dangerous provisions in H.B. 2, thereby endangering the health and safety of Texas women.

Abortion is Safe, These Requirements Are Unnecessary  

H.B. 2 mandates that physicians performing abortions have admitting privileges with a local hospital despite the fact that abortion is an extremely safe procedure throughout pregnancy. The bill also requires that all clinics providing abortion comply with expensive and unnecessary building standards, such as hall width and parking lot design. Neither provision promotes patient safety. Instead, they impose arbitrary and often impossible to meet standards so that clinics will be forced to close their doors. In fact, H.B. 2 was opposed by major medical groups.

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Turf Wars in the World Cup and Title IX

Posted by Daphne Assimakopoulos, Intern | Posted on: June 16, 2015 at 02:37 pm

The Women's World Cup recently began in Canada, with the best soccer teams in the world facing off against one another in a thrilling tournament. I love the World Cup, and I watch most of the games that I can. There’s nothing more exciting than an unexpected goal, or a come-from-behind win in the last few minutes. This tournament is usually pretty identical to the men's World Cup, if not more exciting. However this time there's one glaring difference: the women are playing on turf. 

Blatant Gender Discrimination

Until this year, the FIFA World Cup has always been played on real grass. The men’s tournament hosted in Brazil last year was played on grass, and the 2018 and 2022 tournaments have also been scheduled to be played on grass. FIFA has long had issues with sexism, but this clear lack of respect for the women’s game has been too blatant to overlook.

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