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Vance v. BSU Anniversary: A Case of the Terrible Twos

Posted by Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, Fellow | Posted on: June 24, 2015 at 02:52 pm

There’s more than corn in Indiana. There’s also Ball State University, home of my alma mater high school and defendant-appellee in the terrible Supreme Court decision Vance v. Ball State University, which “celebrates” its second anniversary today.

In that decision, a bare majority of the Court weakened protections against workplace harassment. Let me explain. In 1998, the Court recognized that employers have an extra duty to make sure supervisors in the workplace do not harass their subordinates. That’s because supervisors can abuse their employer-granted power to create or maintain a hostile environment. After all, it’s hard to tell your harasser to “beat it” or report him or her, if you know that person can make you work in unsafe conditions, deny overtime or time off requests, or fire you.

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Girls, Sports, and Equality: A State-by-State Ranking on Title IX

Public high schools across the country are not providing girls with their fair share of spots on sports teams—and today, on the 43rd anniversary of Title IX, we released a new analysis that shows every state is falling short. The analysis features an interactive map and a state-by-state ranking based on the percentage of high schools in each state and the District of Columbia that have large gender equity gaps in sports participation.*

Using the latest Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection for the 2011-2012 school year we find that:

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Yes, Child Care Needs Reform — And Funding

Posted by Emma Holland, Intern | Posted on: June 19, 2015 at 10:37 am

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education marked up a bill that would include major cuts to programs that are critical to women and their families. The Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) escaped without being cut—but it already falls short of meeting families’ needs. Moreover, the bill provides no new funding to meet the important goals of child care legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support just last November.

Resources Don’t Match Goals

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Defense Bill Ignores Servicewomen's Constitutional Rights

Posted by Erika Hanson, Legal Intern | Posted on: June 19, 2015 at 10:28 am

Servicewomen have committed their lives to the defense of our Constitution, but our own government is denying them their constitutionally guaranteed rights. Servicewomen and dependents of servicemembers are currently prohibited from receiving abortion care at military hospitals except in cases where the woman’s life is endangered or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Practically, this law could mean that a servicewoman is unable to get an abortion.

Some members of Congress tried to restore our brave servicewomen’s constitutional rights. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have repealed this unfair ban. Disappointingly, Senator Shaheen’s amendment did not get a floor vote.

The Current Ban Denies Servicewomen and Dependents of Servicemembers the Care They Need

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New York Assembly Agrees, It's Not Your Boss' Business

Posted by Rachel Easter, Fellow | Posted on: June 18, 2015 at 01:57 pm

There’s this pretty obvious concept that your medical decisions should be between you and your medical provider. For some reason, not everyone agrees. Too often, bosses think that they should have a say in their employees’ reproductive decisions. Specifically, bosses across the country have fired or docked their employees’ pay, because they disagree with their employee’s personal reproductive health care decisions. 

D.C. has stepped up and put an end to this type of discrimination, at least for now. The New York Assembly is trying to do the same. Yesterday, the Assembly voted on and passed AB 1142, known as “the Boss Bill.” This bill says bosses cannot discriminate against employees because of their reproductive health decisions. Now, the Boss Bill moves to the Senate for consideration.

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Déjà Vu: House Tries Again to Make Reproductive Decisions a Fireable Offense

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: June 18, 2015 at 10:39 am

A couple of months ago, the House of Representatives passed a bill to undo a D.C. law, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDAA), that protects women from workplace discrimination based on their reproductive health decisions. Fortunately for D.C. residents, because the Senate did not take up the bill to undo D.C.’s law within the allowed time frame, the law took effect on May 2.

The D.C. law is quite simple really. It says that employees shouldn’t be fired for choosing if, when, and how to start a family. Why we would need this law in 2015 is more than troubling; but, unfortunately—even today—some bosses think that the personal reproductive health decisions we make are fair game for retaliation at work.

Now back to the House of Representatives. Never one to miss an opportunity to attack women’s health, the House has decided once again to try to stop the D.C. law. This time it is using its spending power to deny D.C. the ability to use its own local funds to implement this local law.

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Increased Birth Control Access for D.C. Women

Posted by Margot Benedict, Legal Intern | Posted on: June 17, 2015 at 11:46 am

I’ve had some unpleasant experiences trying to pick up prescriptions. I arrive at my local pharmacy, full of hope that I won’t have to wait long because I called in my prescription a few hours ago. Then I see the line and all the people in the waiting area and my heart drops. Various thoughts go through my head: Should I come back later? Should I wait it out? Will I be late to my other appointments? What will happen if I miss a dose? Recently, D.C. took a step forward to help women avoid these questions and uncertainty when it comes to their birth control. The D.C. Council passed a bill that would require insurance plans and the District’s Medicaid program to allow women to access a twelve month supply of birth control at one time.

Why Twelve Months Matters

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You Oughta Know: We've Been Fighting the Same Fight to Protect Title X for 20 Years

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: June 17, 2015 at 10:34 am

Twenty years ago this summer, I stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and watched a group of pro-family planning Members of the House save the Title X family planning program from losing all of its funding. I was 29 years old and had only been working in the House for a few months (and was listening to Alanis Morrisette’s “Jagged Little Pill” repeatedly). Because my boss, Representative Nita Lowey, had made saving Title X one of her top priorities, I had the privilege of helping her organize this fight. She and a group of other Representatives — Democrats and Republicans, men and women — joined together to save this critical program. And, they did save it — by only 20 votes.

I’m flashing back today because this morning the House leadership released a bill that once again attempts to de-fund this critical health program. And it makes no more sense today than it did 20 years ago.

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