Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

Womenstake, NWLC's Blog

A Mother's Worry

Posted by Gail Zuagar, Outreach Associate | Posted on: November 25, 2014 at 02:19 pm

I am the mother of two Black boys. As any mother would, I worry about my children every day—that I might have to rush one of them to the hospital with a broken bone, that they might experience bullying, or that they might one day have to feel the sting of heartbreak. I suspect Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, worried about some of these things too. But she should never have had to worry that a police officer—whose job it is to uphold the law—might have killed her unarmed son.

In case any of you have been living under a rock, last August Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Michael had been staying with his grandmother all summer, and was walking back to her house with a friend when they encountered Officer Wilson. Conflicting reports suggest that there was a scuffle between Michael and the officer, but we know for sure that Michael was unarmed when he was shot dead in the street.

Read more... Add new comment

It Doesn't Get Any Clearer Than This

I am so tired of hearing that there is no campus sexual assault problem, that it’s just a myth perpetuated by feminists and what’s really happening is that “[g]irls are drinking themselves blotto precisely in order to lower their inhibitions for casual sex, then regretting it afterwards.” It’s incred

Read more... Add new comment

Judicial Nominations Update

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: November 21, 2014 at 11:48 am

Happy Friday! As we noted on Wednesday, five more district court nominees were slated for Senate votes this week. Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Pamela Pepper to the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Brenda K. Sannes to the Northern District of New York, Madeline Cox Arleo to the District of New Jersey, Wendy Beetlestone to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Victor Allen Bolden to the District of Connecticut. Their confirmations are notable, not only for the diversity that they bring to the federal bench, but because they bring the number of current judicial vacancies down to 56.

Read more... Add new comment

Transgender Health Care Needs Can't Be Ignored

Posted by Kelli Garcia, Senior Counsel | Posted on: November 21, 2014 at 11:21 am

A recent study on pregnancy in transgender men who had transitioned from female to male highlights the significant problems transgender people experience in obtaining appropriate and culturally competent health care. Many patients had to deal with rude or inappropriate treatment, ranging from improper pronoun use to outright refusals to provide care. One patient said that he was reported to protective services because, “A tranny had a baby.” 

Problems with transgender health care, however, aren’t limited to pregnancy. Health care providers often lack training and knowledge in how to treat transgender people and insurance companies refuse to pay for needed services. For example, health insurance companies refuse to pay for basic preventive services, like cervical cancer screenings for transgender men and prostate cancer screenings for transgender women.

Read more... Add new comment

The One Mississippi Abortion Clinic Stays Open, But…

Posted by Gretchen Borchelt, Senior Counsel & Director of State Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: November 21, 2014 at 09:39 am

Good news - the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit just refused to reconsider a panel’s earlier decision to block a Mississippi law that would have closed the state’s only abortion clinic. The law required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and was meant to — and would have — forced the sole clinic in the state to shut its doors. But the panel said the law went too far and was unconstitutional — the full court’s decision not to rehear the case means that the clinic stays open. This is great news for Mississippi women who will continue to have access to abortion in their state.

But….

Read more... Add new comment

Listen Up

Posted by Alicia Gurrieri, Program Assistant | Posted on: November 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm

In a recent CNN interview, Don Lemon responds to Joan Tarshis' account of rape by simplifying her trauma into a situation that could have been easily resolved if she had used her teeth as a weapon. Wow, thanks Lemon! You have single-handedly discovered how to end rape. You hear that, people? All you need to do is, well, not get raped. Why is it that easy, you ask? Because rape is not about using forms of intimidation to paralyze someone into complete powerlessness. It is not about using force, coercion, drugs, etc., to limit one’s ability to consent. And, it most certainly is not about power and control dynamics…oh wait…YES IT IS. 

Lemon tip-toes into the conversation by prefacing it with, "I don't mean to be crude, ok?" Although, it comes across more as a, "I know this may sound inappropriate...but I am being sincere, so please just go with it anyway." I wouldn't describe his insinuation as crude, but I would describe it as a question from a person who does not understand rape, at all, which is not necessarily his fault. However, every time I listen to him say, “You -- you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn't want to do it,” I cringe. He uses the same sort of “duhh” tone I used when I told my nana no, the Spice Girls are not still hip.

Read more... Add new comment

1 in 3 Women Have Abortions. It’s Okay, They Know What They’re Doing

Posted by Brandie Temple, Well Woman's Benefit Hotline Coordinator | Posted on: November 20, 2014 at 10:42 am

Being an abortion provider is not easy. On top of the risk and stigma, there is an unprecedented amount of regulation that impacts the day-to-day work, more than in any other line of healthcare. Between 2010 and 2013, more abortion regulations were passed in the U.S. than in the decades prior. In my former state of North Carolina, House Bill 854, also known as the “Woman’s Right to Know Act” [PDF] went in to effect in October 2011. The law imposed 24 hour waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, and state scripted counseling for women in North Carolina seeking abortion. It forced providers to state medically ambiguous information about an unproven link between abortion and future fertility, and forced patients to listen to the description of an ultrasound, even if they did not want to. It also required medical providers to “inform” patients seeking abortion that child support and/or government assistance may be available to them if they carried their pregnancy to term. At the time, I worked at a women’s health clinic that provided abortion services.

Read more... Add new comment

In San Francisco and Across the Country Workers Call for Schedules That Work

Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco voted on historic legislation to ensure workers in San Francisco’s chain restaurant and retail stores have predictable and stable schedules. The vote was 10-0 in favor of the legislation—completely unanimous and a veto-proof majority!

Read more... Add new comment