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Recession Pushes 'Already Poor' Women and Families Deeper into Poverty and Unemployment

Posted by NWLC, Intern | Posted on: June 16, 2009 at 06:56 pm

by Kinara Flagg, Intern, 
National Women's Law Center 

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A Victory for Dignity in Childbirth

Posted by NWLC, Intern | Posted on: June 16, 2009 at 04:10 pm

by Tanya Lyapustina, Outreach Intern, 
National Women's Law Center 

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What Would You Ask a Supreme Court Nominee?

Posted by Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | Posted on: June 15, 2009 at 09:10 pm

by Marcia Greenberger, Co-President, 
National Women's Law Center 

In just a few short weeks, the Senate will hold hearings on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The confirmation process — scheduled for the week of July 13, 2009 — will allow the Senate and the American people the opportunity to learn even more about this very impressive woman and jurist.

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DC Rallies to Support Health Care Reform

Posted by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights | Posted on: June 15, 2009 at 08:03 pm

by Judy Waxman, Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights, 
National Women's Law Center 

Advocates around the country are mobilizing in Washington, D.C., next week to show their support for health care reform.

And we want you to be one of them.

Join the National Women’s Law Center and our partners for two rallies to support the fight for meaningful health care reform this year!

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Weekly Round-Up

Posted by NWLC, Intern | Posted on: June 15, 2009 at 05:50 pm

by Catherine Kruse, Outreach Intern, 
National Women’s Law Center 

Several bloggers discussed their families’ experiences with the health care system and the need for health reform, including Miss Lori at Chicago Moms Blog and a young guest blogger at Moms Rising.

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What's Next for Women's Legal Rights in the Supreme Court?

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: June 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm

by Amy Matsui, Senior Counsel, 
National Women's Law Center 

Every year, the Supreme Court is confronted with cases involving legal issues of the utmost importance to women, including the constitutional rights of women to a zone of privacy and to equal protection  of the laws. The Court also considers questions arising under federal laws that protect women from discrimination in the workplace, and in school, including questions of when employers and schools can voluntarily dismantle discriminations against women, as in the case of Ricci v. DeStefano currently pending before the Supreme Court. Moreover, the Court has a tremendous impact on federal laws that provide basic health and safety protections.  

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in AT&T v. Hulteen raised the specter of further questions before the Court of whether longstanding pregnancy discrimination will be allowed to continue into the present. But what other issues important to women could be coming before the Supreme Court in the future? Here are just a few that we see peeking around the corner.

In the wake of Gonzales v. Carhart in 2007, which allowed abortion restrictions without regard for women’s health, increasingly draconian abortion restrictions have begun to work their way through state legislatures, including outright abortion bans, legislation to give fetuses legal status as a “person,” and legislation requiring women to be given particular, often slanted, information before they get an abortion. Some of these laws will pass, and will likely be challenged in court.

In addition, around the country, patients are being denied health care services by health care providers who believe that their religious, moral, or ethical beliefs should come before patients’ needs. As states and the federal government develop policies regarding health care provider refusal protections, including state pharmacy refusal laws/regulations and a harmful regulation passed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the last days of the Bush Administration, challenges to these policies are likely to come before the courts.

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Teen Parents Falling Through the Cracks

by Lara S. Kaufmann, Senior Counsel, 
National Women’s Law Center 

I know, I know – we’re in a recession, the economy is terrible, it’s a tough time for everyone. Still, I try to be hopeful. But then I wake up and see a headline like this one: Program for Teen Parents Dropped: About 100 students in county schools learned skills to help them graduate while caring for their kids.

I’ve heard of this program – it’s called GRADS (Graduation, Reality, and Dual-Role Skills), and the curriculum has been used in a number of states. In the Springfield, Ohio area it serves about 100 students per year – predominantly female, but some are male – and about 25 of them attend the school that is cutting the program. The Ohio Department of Education did a study of the program’s effectiveness, and found that teen parents involved in GRADS are more likely to stay in school, to get early prenatal care, and to increase their knowledge of “positive parenting practices.” They also are less likely to have a second child (critical to dropout prevention) and to deliver low-weight babies. So why was it dropped? Budget cutbacks, of course! It costs $99,000 a year to run the program, and the state reimburses the district for only $33,000 of that. The superintendent explained that the school simply can no longer afford to have the program there. He said that perhaps guidance counselors can work with parenting students instead, and added: “We are looking at if there’s any way at all that the students could be served.” Whoa.

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Just Released: Sexual Harassment Alive and Well in Baltimore

Posted by | Posted on: June 11, 2009 at 07:11 pm

The U.S. Court of Appeals should reverse harmful decision in Harris v. Baltimore

A case of critical importance to ensuring that women can be adequately protected from sexual harassment in the workplace is currently being considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) said today. NWLC submitted an amicus brief in the case, joined by several civil rights and workplace fairness organizations. The amicus brief is available here.

Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of NWLC, stated: “As women increasingly enter non-traditional fields of employment, it is critical that employers be held fully accountable for sexual harassment – especially because the incidence of harassment is higher in workplaces that have traditionally excluded women. It is shameful that blatant sex discrimination of this nature still occurs, and it is the duty of the courts to ensure that it does not go uncorrected.”

Harris v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore is a sexual harassment case brought by plaintiff Lynette Harris in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Ms. Harris was one of the very few women who worked as an electrical maintenance technician for the City of Baltimore. On the job, Ms Harris’s co-workers and supervisors referred to women using demeaning and derogatory words on a daily basis, regularly engaged in vulgar, sexual conversations while making offensive gestures in the presence of Ms. Harris and others, displayed photos of naked and partially clothed women in common areas throughout the workplace, and did not respond to Ms. Harris’ repeated requests that the photos be taken down.  Additionally, Ms. Harris’ supervisor excluded her from daily staff meetings and forced her to sit during those meetings at a glass table covered with more of the offensive photos.

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