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Missouri State Representative Thinks a Court Case is the Best Way to Keep his Daughters from Using Birth Control

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: September 11, 2014 at 10:44 am

Earlier this week we got some more insight into the twisted reasoning that some people use to justify attempts to limit women’s access to essential health care. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Monday in the case Wieland v. Sebelius. The plaintiff, Paul Wieland, would have us believe that this is just like the other cases that have been filed against the rule that insurance plans cover the full range of birth control methods. Except there’s a big difference: Wieland is not the owner of a corporation nor is he representing a religiously affiliated organization. This means that the birth control coverage requirement doesn’t even apply to him. He does not have to do anything differently than he did before the ACA expanded access to contraceptives for millions of women (and that is why the district court dismissed his case). But that’s not stopping Wieland.

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Paycheck Fairness, Part II — Raise the Minimum Wage!

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel | Posted on: September 11, 2014 at 09:55 am

Yesterday, a majority of the Senate voted to proceed to debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would strengthen current laws against wage discrimination and make it easier for women to ensure that their employers are paying them fairly. A vote on the merits of this bill is long overdue, and Senate passage would be a critically important step forward.

But the Paycheck Fairness Act is not the only bill that could help close the gap between women’s and men’s earnings — which hasn’t budged in a decade, as women working full time, year round are still typically paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. One reason for this persistent wage gap is that women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs: for starters, they make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers. Another bill, the Fair Minimum Wage Act, would boost pay for these workers by gradually raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, increasing the tipped minimum cash wage from $2.13 per hour to 70 percent of the minimum wage, and indexing these wages to keep up with inflation. 

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One Step Closer to Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act

Posted by Gail Zuagar, Outreach Associate | Posted on: September 10, 2014 at 04:47 pm

Today the Senate, by a vote of 73-25, agreed to move on to a full debate of the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA). But we’re not at the finish line just yet—in fact, we’re far from it. There will be another procedural vote before the Senate finally gets to the point and hopefully passes PFA.

Passing PFA would make a big difference for working women. Here’s how:

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What Happens After Hobby Lobby

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: September 10, 2014 at 01:47 pm

Are you angry yet over the Supreme Court’s Decision in Hobby Lobby?

As part of the Law Center's work, we track the legal challenges to the requirement that health insurance plans cover the full range of contraceptive methods. One of the latest developments is that some of the other for-profit companies that brought lawsuits are getting what they asked for – a permanent exception from having to include the birth control requirement in their health insurance plans. Just last week, a for-profit lumber business got its exemption.

I knew this development was likely because of the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, holding that some for-profit companies can use religion to discriminate against their employees. But just because I knew it was coming didn’t stop me from experiencing a whole new level of anger.

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What the Senate Can Do About the Economic Pressures Facing Women

Posted by Amanda Hooper, Outreach Manager | Posted on: September 09, 2014 at 12:25 pm

This week, the Senate has the chance to support economic fairness for women and families.

Women are facing tremendous economic hardships —two-thirds of all minimum wage workers in the United States are women and women who work full-time, year-round are still only paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. With the wage gap adding up to more than $11,000 every year in lost wages, too many women have trouble making ends meet paying for things like housing, groceries, and health care. And since nearly two-thirds of working mothers are primary or co-breadwinners in their families, the obstacles that women face harm families as well.

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Two Truths and a Lie on the Student Loan Debt Crisis

Posted by Susanna Birdsong, Fellow | Posted on: September 09, 2014 at 12:10 pm

I recently went to a gathering where we played the game Two Truths and a Lie. To play, each person shares three things—two of them are true, and one is false—and everyone has to guess which one is which. Ready to play?

1. Since 2007, outstanding student loan debt has doubled—to approximately $1,200,000,000,000 of student loan debt owed by around 40,000,000 Americans (about $30,000 in outstanding debt per borrower).

As unbelievable as it is, this one is TRUE. The data tells us that this explosion in student loan debt is a growing problem for students and graduates—especially those with lower incomes. Excessive student loan debt prohibits people from getting ahead—in effect eroding the financial benefits of a college degree. It prohibits people from buying homes or saving for retirement, and it is a drag on our overall economy.  

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Put Your Wage Gap IQ to the Test!

Posted by Liz Watson, Senior Counsel and Director of Workplace Justice for Women | Posted on: September 09, 2014 at 11:51 am

There will likely be a vote in the Senate later this week on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Want to make sure you know what's at stake for women and families? Take this little quiz.

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Jill Pryor Confirmed to Eleventh Circuit

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: September 09, 2014 at 11:29 am

Yesterday, on the first day back after its August recess, the Senate confirmed Jill Pryor to a Georgia-based seat on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Now-Judge Pryor had originally been nominated to fill this judicial emergency back in February 2012, making her the longest-pending judicial nominee in the Senate.

Judge Pryor's confirmation vote follows the confirmation of three other female Court of Appeals judges in July -- moving the percentage of active female federal court of appeals judges even closer to 35%. She becomes the 8th female circuit court judge, and the 12th court of appeals judge overall, to be confirmed this year. She is the 23rd female circuit court judge confirmed during President Obama’s Administration.

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