Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

Womenstake, NWLC's Blog

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.

Read more... Add new comment

Birth Control Without Costs: It's The Law

Posted by Mara Gandal-Powers, Counsel | Posted on: April 30, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Here at NWLC, we are big fans of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit because it removes cost barriers to birth control and has the potential to change women’s lives. Which is why the findings in our report, “State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act,” are so troubling. While most women are getting coverage of birth control without out-of-pocket costs like the law requires, some insurance companies are not complying with the law. Some insurance companies charge women for their birth control, do not cover it at all, charge for services associated with the birth control, or place unallowable limits on the coverage. When we uncover these violations of the law, we know that women aren’t able to access their birth control method because of the cost barrier.

Read more... Add new comment

The North Carolina House of Representatives Doesn’t Trust Women

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: April 30, 2015 at 11:54 am

North Carolina politicians have worked hard over the last few years to pass abortion restrictions in the state, and they are back at it again. Last week, the House of Representatives passed HB 465 [PDF], a bill that would force a woman to wait 72, rather than the current 24 hours, after hearing “counseling” before she can get an abortion. Of course, the counseling is state-mandated bias intended to convince the woman not to have an abortion. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. If passed, this mandatory delay would be one of the most extreme [PDF] in the country.

What Does this Mean for North Carolina Women?

Read more... Add new comment

It's Time for a $12 Minimum Wage

Millions of workersmostly womenstruggle to make ends meet on minimum wage earnings. A new bill scheduled to be introduced tomorrow, the Raise the Wage Act, would significantly help these workers by increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12.00 per hour by 2020, then indexing it to keep pace with wages overall. The bill would also eliminate the federal minimum cash wage for tipped workers by gradually raising it until it is equal to the regular minimum wage. 

Here are five fast facts from our new analysis on why establishing one fair—and much higher!—minimum wage is important for women:

Read more... Add new comment

Argument Recap: Do Same-Sex Marriage Bans Discriminate on the Basis of Sex?

Posted by Elizabeth Johnston, Fellow | Posted on: April 29, 2015 at 03:24 pm

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in four consolidated cases, which present the question of whether the Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize those marriages performed in other states where they are legal. The National Women’s Law Center, along with women’s legal organizations and legal scholars, submitted a brief [PDF] arguing that state same-sex marriage bans must be subject to heightened scrutiny under the Constitution, just as are other laws that discriminate on the basis of sex. And from the arguments, it seems like at least some of the Justices read it.

During the argument, Ruth Bader Ginsburg touched on the significance of gender stereotyping in the context of the now-abandoned “meaning” of marriage.  As Justices Roberts and Kennedy pondered whether the court had a right to challenge a definition of marriage that had existed for “millennia”, [PDF] Justice Ginsburg quickly pointed out that marriage today is very different than it was under the common law, reminding them: “Marriage was a relationship of a dominant male to a subordinate female… Would that be a choice that states should still be allowed to have? To cling to marriage the way it once was?”

Read more... Add new comment

Who Supports Equal Pay? The Pope

Posted by Melanie Ross Levin, Director of Outreach | Posted on: April 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm

You know what polls really well with just about everyone? Equal Pay. So it’s not a surprise that the Pope is the latest public figure to weigh in.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis voiced his support for equal pay in his weekly remarks at the Vatican. Pope Francis asked Catholics to consider “the Christian seed of radical equality between men and women.” He said Christians should “become more demanding” for that “radical equality” by “supporting the right of equal pay for equal work.”

Read more... Add new comment

NWLC Testifies on the Need for Adequate Funding for Implementation of D.C.’s Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Yesterday, Elizabeth Johnston from the National Women’s Law Center testified before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Bus­iness, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in support of adequate funding to implement the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which was enacted last year. The new law ensures that pregnant workers in D.C. may no longer be forced to choose between their health and their jobs. It does so by requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers who need them to continue safely working during pregnancy, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. However, the promise of this law can only be fully realized with sufficient funding for public education, outreach and enforcement.

While the vast majority of women can work throughout their pregnancies without needing any adjustments to their work rules or job duties, at some point during pregnancy some workers may have a need for temporary adjustments to their job duties that will allow them to continue working safely and supporting their growing families. The new law ensures that employers provide the same rights and reasonable accommodations for pregnant women as are available to workers with temporary disabilities or injuries. 

Read more... Add new comment

Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument in Marriage Equality Cases

Posted by Elizabeth Johnston, Fellow | Posted on: April 28, 2015 at 09:38 am

Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges and three consolidated cases. The outcome will determine whether states can refuse to allow same-sex couples to marry or refuse to recognize their marriages. Stereotypes about women and men and the roles they should play in marriage have no place in law. The Supreme Court has long recognized that the Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of discrimination; now, it must recognize that the Constitution prohibits sexual orientation discrimination on this basis.

Read more... Add new comment