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The Good, the Bad, and the Truly Appalling: What Happened to Reproductive Rights in 2014

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: December 31, 2014 at 11:54 am

As we all know, opponents of women’s access to birth control and abortion were out in full force this past year. They have used a host of tactics to try and limit women's access to essential health care, including imposing medically unnecessary regulations on abortion clinics and providers supposedly in the name of "women's health," proclaiming the religious freedom of corporations, and invoking junk science about fetal pain. The truth is all of these attempts are simply stepping stones towards their ultimate goal of eliminating women's ability to access comprehensive reproductive care. So, what did all of this mean for women in 2014? A look at some of the highlights, and lowlights, of the past year.

This past year state politicians continued to pass laws aimed at restricting access to abortion. These laws did everything from requiring women to unnecessarily delay abortion care, to making it more difficult for women to receive non-surgical abortions, to taking away women’s ability to buy a health insurance plans that covers abortion. State politicians also continued to pass laws intended to shut down abortion providers, following the trend of the last few years that is starting to leave a woman’s ability to access abortion dependent on her zip code. This all played out this year in Texas, as thousands of women effectively lost access to safe, legal abortion when clinics were forced to close their doors due to the anti-abortion law passed in 2013.

Unfortunately, attacks on women’s access to reproductive health care were not limited to the realm of state legislatures. The Supreme Court struck a blow for women’s health when it decided the now infamous Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

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Trending: Prosecutions of Pregnant Women Continue in Wisconsin

Posted by Abigail Omojola, Fellow | Posted on: December 23, 2014 at 02:22 pm

How do you care for a pregnant woman with a history of drug use? Well, according to Wisconsin, you throw her in jail and administer no prenatal care. You deny all her requests to keep scheduled prenatal visits.

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5 Major Changes for Women’s Health Coverage in 2014

Posted by Stephanie Glover, Health Policy Fellow | Posted on: December 22, 2014 at 05:01 pm

In the past year, we saw significant changes for women’s access to health coverage. In the first year of the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions of Americans newly enrolled in affordable, comprehensive health insurance. Women make up more than 50 percent of enrollees on the new health insurance Marketplaces, which is no surprise given that the ACA protects women from discriminatory health insurance practices, makes health coverage more affordable and easier to obtain, and improves access to many of the health services women need.

Here are just a few of the major changes for women’s health insurance coverage this year:

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Guidance from the Departments of Ed & Justice Will Enforce Education Rights of Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

Posted by Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, Fellow | Posted on: December 19, 2014 at 04:01 pm

Last week, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (DOJ) released a joint guidance letter reminding juvenile justice residential facilities of their obligations under Title IX [PDF] and other civil rights laws to provide equal access to quality educational opportunities for confined youth.

The guidance makes it clear that under Title IX, all facilities that receive federal funds must offer equal educational opportunities without regard to sex. That means youth detention centers must make sure girls have equal access to career and technical programs and that facilities cannot rely on gender stereotypes when determining what opportunities to make available (e.g., automotive repair classes only for boys and cosmetology only for girls). The guidance also says that under Title IX, facilities must protect committed youth from sexual harassment and violence regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or conformity with sex stereotypes.

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Year In Review: Highlights from 2014

Posted by National Women's Law Center, | Posted on: December 19, 2014 at 11:02 am

From a shout-out in the State of the Union to a record number of women on the federal bench, a lot has happened for women and families in 2014. Our experts have been hard at work wrapping up the year in review, taking a close look at how women fared. Check out our teams' wrap-ups — and don't forget to check back, as more posts are in the works! 

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Why Women Should Care About the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015

Posted by | Posted on: December 18, 2014 at 02:01 pm

Congress recently recessed for the rest of the year. One of the bills it passed was the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2015. The bill included many provisions important to women in the military:

Coverage of Breastfeeding Supplies and Education

The NDAA for FY 2015 requires the TRICARE program to cover breastfeeding supplies and education for military women and women in military families. This legislation represents a huge win for military families and ensures that they have breastfeeding coverage that is similar to the coverage provided in most private health plans.

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The Minimum Wage Is on Its Way Up: 2014 Milestones

Posted by Agata Pelka, Fellow | Posted on: December 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Efforts to raise the minimum wage continued to gain steam in 2014, as 14 states and the District of Columbia approved increases (legislatively or through ballot initiatives). Here are a few more highlights of an important year:

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Ten Key Research Findings on Women & Families in 2014

Posted by Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Senior Policy Analyst | Posted on: December 17, 2014 at 02:43 pm

We’ve done a lot of research in 2014 on women and families.  Here are ten striking findings from the past year:

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