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Hearings for AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Begin This Morning

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: January 28, 2015 at 09:43 am

This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee begins its hearings for Loretta Lynch, nominated to be Attorney General of the United States. Ms. Lynch, currently U.S.

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President Obama Proposes Significant New Investments in Child Care

Posted by Karen Schulman, Senior Policy Analyst | Posted on: January 28, 2015 at 08:12 am

Last week was a big week for child care and early education. On Saturday, the White House announced a proposal for a fairer tax code that invests in middle-class families, including an expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC). On Tuesday, President Obama emphasized the importance of child care during his State of the Union address, saying that it’s time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. And on Thursday, the President announced a major new proposal to make high-quality child care available for all infants and toddlers in low- and moderate income families, and highlighted the proposal during a visit to a Head Start center and a speech in Lawrence, Kansas. The expanded child care tax credit and child care assistance proposals would be paid for by making very wealthy investors pay their fair share of taxes and fees on large financial institutions.

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Religious Refusals — More Like Discrimination

Posted by Rachel Parker, Intern | Posted on: January 22, 2015 at 05:24 pm

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court recognized that a woman has a right to make fundamental decisions affecting her health and future, including whether or not to obtain an abortion. In the decades since Roe, women and their families have come to rely on the right to an abortion.

Today, however, the well-established right to an abortion is being attacked under the guise of religious freedom, putting a woman’s ability to obtain a safe, legal abortion in jeopardy. The first refusal law was enacted shortly after Roe, allowing individuals and entities to refuse to provide abortions or sterilizations due to religious beliefs. Since then, nearly every state has adopted a comparable law. Recent years have seen an increase in legislative activity related to refusal laws, as well as an expansion of refusal rights. For example, in some states medical professionals can refuse to provide referrals to women, pharmacists can refuse to fill birth control prescriptions, and hospitals can refuse to offer health care services to which it is opposed.

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States Take Aim at Roe

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: January 22, 2015 at 03:56 pm

Forty-two years ago the Supreme Court recognized that a woman’s right to decide whether to have an abortion is a fundamental right, and the Court stated in no uncertain terms that “The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent.” The landmark case changed the lives of millions of American women over the last four decades. And with the right to decide firmly entrenched we all lived happily ever after, right?  Nope. Wrong.

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Mayhem in the House of Representatives

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: January 22, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Who knew a fight over a reporting requirement for rape survivors could take down a horrible bill that would impose a nationwide abortion ban on later pregnancies? But that’s exactly what happened last night. Just as I was about to get on a treadmill to work out the stresses of the day, I learned that the House Rules Committee was hastily convening at 9 pm to replace the 20 week ban bill with a totally different anti-abortion bill.

You can’t make this stuff up when it comes to abortion politics.

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The Real Cost of Abortion Restrictions

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: January 22, 2015 at 12:08 pm

On Tuesday, while President Obama reminded us, “[T]hat every women should have access to the health care she needs,” I was returning home from the premiere of Out of Silence: Abortion Stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign. Some of the stories were heartbreaking and some were amazingly uplifting, but they all had one thing in common—each woman made the decision that was best for her and her family.

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Fighting to Protect Roe v. Wade – 42 Years Later

Posted by Courtney Ross, Intern | Posted on: January 22, 2015 at 09:37 am

Today marks the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade. In Roe, the Court recognized for the first time that the constitutionally protected right to privacy encompasses a woman’s right to decide if, and when, she becomes a parent. 

As a twenty-five year old woman, who has only lived in a post-Roe world, it can be difficult to imagine the landscape of women’s health and reproductive rights issues prior to this decision. I cannot fathom a world where abortion is illegal, forcing women to resort to dangerous back alley abortions.

Even though Roe was decided 42 years ago and even though it’s the only reality I know, the fight to protect the right is more critical now than ever. In Texas, for example, an extreme anti-abortion law shut down more than half of abortion clinics. There are now huge parts of Texas where women no longer have access to these services.

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The Latest Controversy Over The Inadequate Rape/Incest Exception

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: January 21, 2015 at 06:59 pm

Two Congresswomen who had cosponsored H.R. 36, the bill that would impose a nationwide ban on later abortions, pulled their support yesterday because of the narrow exception for rape and incest survivors. This exemption would have required survivors of rape or incest to report their attack in order to obtain an abortion. Media accounts noted that the two cosponsors pushed for eliminating the reporting requirement. This latest controversy highlights the fundamental problem with this bill—the cold rejection of the reality of women’s lives.

H.R. 36 exempts a rape or incest survivor only if the survivor reports the sexual assault to an “appropriate law enforcement agency” (or, in the case of incest, to a “government agency legally authorized to act on reports of child abuse or neglect”).

You may be wondering why this is an issue. For one thing, most sexual assaults aren’t reported--official statistics set reporting rates at just 35% [PDF]. Among college students, the reporting rate is just 20% [PDF].

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