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Planned Parenthood Was There for Me

Posted by Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Director of Research and Policy Analysis | Posted on: July 28, 2015 at 03:25 pm

During college I stayed on my parent's health insurance and took care of the vast majority of my health needs while I was home on break. But after graduation I moved 3,000 miles away to San Diego. For the first time I was managing all my own bills and appointments. It was overwhelming. I was working a lot at my new job and I didn't know anyone in San Diego I could ask for advice about really important questions I wanted the answer to right away — like which beach is the best — and all the logistical questions that make life work — like where can I find a doctor I can talk to and trust.

On the second one I turned to my mom. She was an OB-GYN nurse so I always trusted her opinion on health care, especially gynecological care. While she didn't know doctors in the San Diego area she assured me that if I went to Planned Parenthood they'd take care of me — and I would be able to afford it.

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Black Women and Unequal Pay: A Deep Ditch That Drives Poverty

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Senior Vice President for Program | Posted on: July 28, 2015 at 02:27 pm

Evelyn Coke worked for more than 20 years in Queens, New York caring for elderly men and women in their homes. Every day she bathed, dressed and fed them. She cooked and cleaned their homes. Ms. Coke, who is African American, often worked more than 70 hours a week at $7 per hour. And during all those years she never received overtime pay. She knew this wasn't right. So she challenged her unfair pay all the way to the Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled in 2007 that she was not entitled to overtime.

Ms. Coke's story is not an anomaly. Domestic workers are still treated unequally under the law and their pay does not match their important role. The imbalance between the care we expect and what we pay for it is a part of slavery's entrenched imprint on our labor laws. Many of the labor protections of the New Deal era of the 1930s — legislation initiated by President Roosevelt to pull the country out of the Great Depression — did not extend to domestic workers or agricultural workers, most of whom were black at the time. Recently, the Department of Labor released a new rule that would give millions of homecare workers federal wage and overtime protections. Legal challenges are unfortunately slowing down the implementation of this rule.

It cannot come soon enough.

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Black Women Have to Work 19 Months to Make What White Men Did in a Year

African American women who work full time, year round are typically paid $19,399 less per year than their white male counterparts. This means African American women have to work nearly 19 months — until almost the end of July — to make as much as white men did in the previous year alone. That makes today African American women's equal pay day — the day that African American women are finally catching up to white men's pay, 208 days into the year.

Here are four key facts you need to know:

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ACA Repeal: 57th Try Isn't a Charm

Posted by Sami Alsawaf, Legal Intern | Posted on: July 27, 2015 at 02:48 pm

Yesterday, the Senate tried once again to gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when Senate Majority Leader McConnell offered an amendment to the federal highway funding bill which would fully repeal the ACA. I don't personally see the connection between the federal highways and the ACA, but presumably the Senate leadership does.

Also, the vote was on a Sunday, which is unusual because the Senate doesn't normally work weekends. They must have thought this was a vote that needed to be done immediately because they just couldn't wait for a Monday.

Try, Try, and Try Again

The vote didn't pass. Shocking, right? This vote marks the 57th time Congress has attempted to repeal or defund the ACA.

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Why Defunding Planned Parenthood Is a Bad Idea

Posted by Sami Alsawaf, Legal Intern | Posted on: July 27, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Last summer after I graduated from college, I woke up one morning very sick and doubled over in pain. Since I was away from home, I couldn't see my regular doctor. Usually, I would go to the student health clinic in this type of situation, but since I had just graduated, I couldn't go to the clinic without having to pay major fees. As I was getting worse by the hour, I became concerned that my only option was a nearby — but very expensive — urgent care center. Then, I suddenly remembered the small, unassuming house I passed by every day, with a small sign out in front that said "Planned Parenthood." I called them up and was able to get an appointment immediately. Planned Parenthood was there for me that day, but if certain abortion opponents have their way, Planned Parenthood won't be around any longer.

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A Win for Washingtonians, A Win for Patients' Rights

Posted by Erika Hanson, Legal Intern | Posted on: July 27, 2015 at 10:47 am

Washingtonians won big last week when the Ninth Circuit held that pharmacies can't deny patients needed medication. In a victory for patients' rights, the court unanimously upheld [PDF] the state's rule requiring pharmacies to fill all lawfully prescribed medication in a timely manner.

Under the Washington rule, a pharmacist could refuse to fill a prescription so long as the pharmacy guaranteed that another pharmacist was available. In other words, the pharmacy must ensure that the patient gets the medication. A pharmacy and two pharmacists challenged the rule, claiming that filling certain prescriptions would violate their religious beliefs. The Ninth Circuit rightly considered the potential harmful effects on patients' health that could result from allowing pharmacies to refuse to dispense prescriptions and held that Washington's rule ensures that patients have "safe and timely access to their lawfully prescribed medications."

This Ruling Isn't Only Important for Washington

Pharmacy refusals harm patients. Evidence presented to the Ninth Circuit showed that that pharmacists and pharmacies have refused to fill a wide range of medication including diabetic syringes, insulin, HIV medications, emergency contraception, and Valium. Not only do these refusals threaten patients' health, they can leave patients feeling shamed and humiliated.

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Who Should Be on #TheNew10?

Posted by National Women's Law Center, | Posted on: July 24, 2015 at 03:55 pm

You’ve probably heard the news that the $10 bill is being redesigned, and will feature a woman’s face. We all know women’s contributions are priceless, but it is exciting to think about which strong, history-making woman’s face will look back at us when we open our wallets in the not-too-distant future.

We asked some folks around the NWLC office to tell us who they want to see on #TheNew10, and their persuasive arguments haven’t made the choice any easier! Read up on some of the pitches — and keep checking back as we update this page with more suggestions of women for #TheNew10.

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The Equality Act is the Next Step After Marriage Equality

Posted by Allie Bohm, Legal Intern | Posted on: July 24, 2015 at 03:01 pm

“. . . with liberty and justice for all.” Those words capture our national aspirations. Last month’s marriage equality decision brought us one step closer to that vision. The Equality Act, which was introduced yesterday by Senators Merkley (D-Ore.), Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Booker (D-N.J.) and Representatives Cicilliine (D-R.I.) and Lewis (D-Ga.), would bring us even closer.

Thanks to the marriage decision, states across the country must recognize and honor same-sex couples’ love and commitment to one another – just as those states routinely do with straight couples. Moreover, by allowing same-sex couples to marry – to participate equally in that fundamental, foundational institution – the Court sent a message that LGBT people, especially LGBT youth, can dream the same dreams about growing up, falling in love, having a family, and building a successful life that their straight peers dream.

The Next Step Is Full Equality

The marriage decision is historic, but it does not achieve the full promise of dignity and equality.

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