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When it Comes to Campus Assault, Safety is Not Only in the Eye of the Bystander

Posted by Katie Hegarty, Online Outreach Associate | Posted on: April 24, 2015 at 02:24 pm

There’s no way around this — it’s a fact that sexual assault is happening on college campuses across the country. Lawmakers, administrators, and activists have debated any number of ways to curb this epidemic and keep students truly safe.

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National Women’s Law Center Applauds Senate Confirmation of Loretta Lynch as U.S. Attorney General

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: April 24, 2015 at 09:13 am

Yesterday, the Senate made history by confirming Loretta Lynch to be U.S. Attorney General, marking the first time an African American woman has ever held the position. By any measure, Ms. Lynch is exceptionally qualified to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. She has repeatedly demonstrated that she is dedicated to public service and the rule of law, and that she has the legal expertise and sound judgment to serve the nation in this critically important role. 

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It Won’t Surprise You, But the House Wants to Allow Bosses to Fire Women for Their Personal Reproductive Health Decisions

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: April 22, 2015 at 03:26 pm

We all know that the majority in the House of the Representatives doesn’t look too kindly on women’s constitutional right to privacy, which includes the right to use birth control and to have an abortion. Already four months into the new Congress, the majority has voted to permanently ban any federal insurance or health program from covering abortion except in very limited circumstances. It tried to pass an unconstitutional bill that would ban abortions after twenty-weeks but only failed to do so because of an internal disagreement about whether rape survivors must report their rape to get their abortions covered.

Why do these House members want to ban insurance coverage of reproductive health care and ban some abortions? Because they want to impose their own personal beliefs about birth control and abortion on the clear majority of the American population who does not hold similar views. They want to legislate women’s bodies and interfere in women’s reproductive health decisions.

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Senate Sets Procedural Vote on Loretta Lynch for Thursday

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: April 22, 2015 at 09:18 am

Late last night, Senate Majority Leader McConnell filed a cloture petition on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be U.S. Attorney General. This vote, which will be held on Thursday, is expected to clear the way for a confirmation vote. 

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“A Battle for Our Identity”: Energizing the Fight Over the Hyde Amendment

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: April 21, 2015 at 04:31 pm

A very important debate has been raging in the Senate over the past couple of weeks — one that could be critical to the fight to over-turn the Hyde Amendment* thus ensuring that all women get access to abortion despite their income or source of insurance.

As you may know, the Senate Anti-Trafficking bill was stalled because the bill contained an abortion restriction that would have kept the women helped by the bill from being able to get abortions. This provision would have extended the Hyde Amendment onto a fund made up solely of fines from offenders — the first time the restriction would have been applied to a fund made-up solely of non-tax-payer dollars.

Several women’s health champions in the Senate, including Senators Harry Reid, Patty Murray, Patrick Leahy and Diane Feinstein, took to the Senate floor to decry this restriction. “A bill intended to help women should help women,” Senator Murray stated.

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Tennessee Senate Passes Two New Bills Restricting Abortion

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: April 21, 2015 at 11:57 am

This week Tennessee politicians are voting on two abortion restrictions, HB 977 and HB 1368, that would make it much more difficult for women in the state to get an abortion. Both bills passed the Senate last week and are awaiting votes on the House floor. These laws fit the now familiar trend across the country of legislators that seem determined to pass laws at the expense of the health of the women they were elected to represent.

Cutting off abortion access…

So what would these bills actually do? Well, HB 1368 requires that clinics meet the same licensing requirements as ambulatory surgical centers—a requirement that has to do with the number of water fountains and the width of the clinic’s halls, not patient safety. Medical groups, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose these requirements “because they improperly regulate medical care and do not improve patient safety or quality of care.” Bringing clinics into compliance with these unnecessary requirements costs more than $1 million—most clinics don’t have that kind of money to spend on useless renovations, so many will be forced to close their doors if HB 1368 becomes law, which is exactly what these laws are intended to do.

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New Report Shows How Girls of Color Are Doubly Disadvantaged in Access to School Sports Opportunities

Venus and Serena Williams, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Jessica Mendoza, Michelle Wie... The sheer excellence of these female athletes of color might lead one to think that the playing field is finally level, for all girls and women. But the sad truth is that high schools across the country still do not give girls equal opportunities to play sports, and girls of color are doubly disadvantaged. That’s the main message of a report released today by the National Women’s Law Center and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, which presents new data in a new way to highlight athletic disparities on the basis of race and gender.  

Because data on sports opportunities, or spots on teams, are not available by gender and race together, the report compares the opportunities provided by heavily minority schools (where 10 percent or less of the students are white) and heavily white schools (where 90 percent or more of the students are white). The major findings of the report are:

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All Means All: Coverage of Birth Control Methods and the ACA

Posted by Brandie Temple, Well Woman's Benefit Hotline Coordinator | Posted on: April 17, 2015 at 01:45 pm

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or Obamacare) health plans are required to cover many women’s preventive services, including birth control, without copays or deductibles. However, a new Kaiser Family Foundation study of health plans and their birth control coverage found that some plans are utilizing “medical management” for some birth control methods, often resulting in barriers for women accessing the method that has been prescribed to them by their health care provider. Examples of medical management used by plans includes placing some methods into cost-sharing “tiers,” requiring that providers give pre-authorization for a prescription before covering it, and in some cases requiring that a covered method “fail” before covering a woman’s preferred method.

At a briefing held yesterday at the Kaiser Family Foundation, panelists discussed the implications of the study and the potential harm when medical management becomes an obstacle for women accessing birth control. One panelist – an insurance plan representative – described the logic behind this type of medical management as “indefensible.” Our own Gretchen Borchelt, VP for Health and Reproductive Rights at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), drove home the importance of compliance by health plans, by explaining that these are not just problems or barriers, but are violations of the law.

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