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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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It’s Final! Pregnant and Parenting Students Have Equal Access to Homebound Instruction in Delaware

Posted by Lauren Khouri, Fellow | Posted on: September 09, 2014 at 09:55 am

In July, Delaware proposed updating its regulation regarding homebound instruction for students who have to be absent for an extended period of time. Before then, Delaware’s rules barred students with “normal” pregnancies from accessing homebound instruction at all, and limited homebound instruction for pregnancy-related complications to only six weeks (even though students who qualified for homebound instruction for other medical conditions were not given any time limit). NWLC filed comments with the Delaware Department of Education in support of the proposed changes, which removed the provisions that violated Title IX.

On September 1, Delaware posted the final regulation. The law in Delaware is now unmistakably clear and aligned with federal law: (1) pregnancy-related absences must be excused for as long as the student’s doctor deems it medically necessary; and (2) students with pregnancy-related medical conditions, including recovery from childbirth, are eligible for homebound instruction to the same extent as students with other medical conditions; namely, for as long as it is medically necessary for them to be absent.

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Women’s Employment Update: African American Women Are the Only Group Whose Unemployment Has Not Improved in a Year

Posted by Anne Morrison, Fellow | Posted on: September 05, 2014 at 03:49 pm

August’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes as somewhat of a disappointment today, as the economy broke its six-month streak of adding more than 200,000 jobs each month. The job growth slowdown is not the only disappointment to note in today’s report. While unemployment rates for all other groups of workers are lower now than they were a year ago, African American women are experiencing the same rate of unemployment as they were in August 2013—10.6 percent.

NWLC’s analysis reveals some key indicators about the state of women and the economy over the last year:

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Seventh Circuit Joins Appellate Courts to Affirm Marriage Equality

Posted by Hillary Schneller, Fellow | Posted on: September 05, 2014 at 10:54 am

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit struck down Indiana and Wisconsin laws that exclude same-sex couples from marriage [PDF]. The three judge panel joined the two other federal appeals courts—in the Fourth and Tenth Circuits—that, since the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision, have found marriage inequality unconstitutional.  

In a forceful decision for the unanimous panel written just nine days after the cases were argued, Judge Richard Posner concluded that the states’ marriage bans violate the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee. Judge Posner wrote that cases present a straightforward question: whether the states “are discriminating against homosexuals by denying them a right that these states grant heterosexuals, namely the right to marry an unmarried adult of their choice.” The court’s analysis, he wrote, “goes to the heart of equal protection doctrine” and “capture the essence of the Supreme Court’s approach in heightened scrutiny cases,” the approach courts use to evaluate whether laws that discriminate based on sex violate equal protection.

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