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Sexual Assault and Title IX: Not Just a Concern for Colleges

From congressional and White House recommendations on reducing campus sexual assaults earlier this year to the White House’s unveiling this week of a new prevention campaign, the problem of sexual assault on college campuses has been receiving an unprecedented level of attention of late. Shining the spotlight on a problem that affects the educational opportunities of so many young women across the country is important. But we must not forget that sexual harassment and violence is also an all too present reality for many girls in elementary and secondary schools. And Title IX – the civil rights law that is not just about sports but also requires all schools that receive federal funding to address sexual harassment – protects these K-12 students too. Read more »

Alabama Admitting Privileges Law Ruled Unconstitutional

Yesterday, a federal judge in Alabama held that the state’s law requiring abortion providers to obtain hospital admitting privileges was unconstitutional as applied to the clinics that brought the suit. Enforcement of the law would have closed three of Alabama’s five abortion clinics.

Judge Myron Thompson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama issued his 172-page opinion [PDF] after a ten-day trial in the case, Planned Parenthood Southeast, Inc. v. Strange. It details the history of violence, harassment, and hostility in Alabama towards abortion providers and the significant obstacles the law would have imposed on women seeking abortions. Read more »

Update: Bill Passes Alabama House That Would Let Bosses Make Your Reproductive Health Care Decisions

Earlier this month, we told you about a bill introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives that would let bosses use their religion to discriminate against female employees and make decisions about their reproductive health care. Unfortunately, the House passed H.B. 108 last week, and it is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate today at 11:30 a.m. Read more »

Alabama Legislators Want to Let Bosses Make Your Reproductive Health Care Decisions

Alabama politicians will be voting on whether to allow your boss to make your reproductive health care decisions. H.B. 108 was introduced just last week and voted out of committee yesterday without a public hearing. It’s moving to the House floor for a vote as early as today. Alabama politicians want to allow bosses to use their religion to discriminate against the 637,666 Alabama women who get health insurance through their job or their spouse’s job.

(For a flavor of the kinds of bosses who claim their religious beliefs should dictate what medical care someone can receive, check out Jezebel’s recent examination of the businesses in the 18 for-profit cases against the federal contraceptive coverage benefit.)

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Alabama Legislators Consider Ways to Cut the Budget – and Increase Poverty for Women and Kids

While Washington begins debate on an FY 2013 budget proposal that would slash federal safety net programs (and everything else), some states facing projected budget shortfalls in FY 2013 have already proposed draconian cuts of their own. Alabama is one of those states, and as Greg Kaufman recently reported in The Nation, the steps Alabama’s legislature takes over the next few months to close its FY 2013 budget gap could be disastrous for struggling women and their families.

For example, at a hearing late last month, a state legislator with a lead role in budget drafting suggested that a 25 percent cut to general fund revenues flowing to the state’s Department of Human Resources (DHR) is likely next year. That’s a huge cut – so huge that the Commissioner of DHR, Nancy Buckner, testified that she would be forced to entirely eliminate the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and child support enforcement programs.

Shutting down these programs would be devastating for vulnerable families in Alabama. Read more »