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Reproductive Health & Rights

Iowa Supreme Court Protects Women's Access to Abortion

Iowans won big on Friday when the state Supreme Court voted 6-0 to strike down a prohibition on the use of telemedicine for medication abortion. In August 2013, the Iowa Board of Medicine banned the use of telemedicine for medication abortion by requiring doctors to meet in-person with patients before prescribing the necessary medications. Ignoring the fact that telemedicine for medication abortion is extremely safe, the Board shut down the country’s first program while claiming to care about health and safety. Rightly, the Iowa Supreme Court considered the facts and struck down the restriction because it imposed an unconstitutional burden on the right of Iowa women to access abortion.

The Importance of Iowa’s Telemedicine Program Read more »

Defense Bill Ignores Servicewomen's Constitutional Rights

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 Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have repealed this unfair ban.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 Read more »

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

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. Read more »

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

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. Read more »

The Fifth Circuit Grants Texan Politicians' Wish

In June 2013, as I was bracing myself for my first year of law school, Wendy Davis’ famous filibuster made headline news. At the time, I was unaware of Texas’ anti-abortion bill (H.B. 2) and its devastating impact. H.B. 2 was specifically designed to shut down almost all abortion clinics in Texas. Earlier this week the Fifth Circuit upheld two dangerous provisions in H.B. 2, thereby endangering the health and safety of Texas women.

Abortion is Safe, These Requirements Are Unnecessary  

H.B. 2 mandates that physicians performing abortions have admitting privileges with a local hospital despite the fact that abortion is an extremely safe procedure throughout pregnancy. The bill also requires that all clinics providing abortion comply with expensive and unnecessary building standards, such as hall width and parking lot design. Neither provision promotes patient safety. Instead, they impose arbitrary and often impossible to meet standards so that clinics will be forced to close their doors. In fact, H.B. 2 was opposed by major medical groups. Read more »

Adding Valuable Skills in the Journey to Becoming an Advocate

This past Friday, interns across DC interested in reproductive health, rights, and justice participated in a law and policy training sponsored by the National Women’s Law Center and Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ). The training allowed undergrad students, law students, and policy students to interact with numerous advocates for reproductive rights across various fields and in various points in their careers.

Participants heard from recent law graduates paired with organizations dedicated to seeking reproductive justice as well as a diverse career panel made up of both public and private sector attorneys who advocate for reproductive rights and justice in different ways through their careers. Participants also interacted with the talented lawyers of the Center in small groups, discussing the emerging issues in reproductive rights and the larger law and policy context in which these issues are set. Participants also received valuable practical skills such as learning how to message to the public and how to speak with shakers and movers on the Hill. Read more »

AB 775: One More Reason to Love California

California is the best. I may be biased because I used to live there, but it really is a phenomenal state. Read more »

Texas Activist Speaks About Proposed Abortion Restrictions

In Texas, a new bill would make it even harder for pregnant minors to get an abortion by adding extra barriers to an already burdensome process. In the following blog post, Emily Rooke-Ley from Jane's Due Process, an organization that provides legal representation to  pregnant minors in Texas, tells us first-hand how these unnecessary and dangerous hoops would harm Texas adolescents:

Texas Legislators Are Putting Pregnant Teens in Harm's Way

by Emily Rooke-Ley, cross-posted from RH Reality Check

I remember my first time answering the hotline for Jane’s Due Process, a nonprofit organization that provides legal representation for pregnant minors in Texas. Holding back tears, I listened anxiously to a young woman, whom I will call Gaby, explain her home life and her pregnancy, asking me to help her obtain a judicial bypass, which would allow her to obtain an abortion without a parent or guardian’s consent. She was just as mature as I am—probably more. “Well the thing is,” she said to me, her voice exuding a kind of tough conviction, “I just can’t bring a baby into this world right now.”  Read more »

Surprise! Slashing Funding Limits Reproductive Health Care Access

The Texas Evaluation Policy project released a new study [PDF] finding that many Texas women struggle to access and pay for reproductive health care, including cervical cancer screening and birth control. The researchers looked at women’s access to reproductive health care, beginning in 2011 when the Texas legislature slashed state funding for family planning and rejected federal funding for the women’s health program. Since 2011, 76 women’s health clinics have closed, leaving many women without nearby care. Read more »

“A Battle for Our Identity”: Energizing the Fight Over the Hyde Amendment

A very important debate has been raging in the Senate over the past couple of weeks — one that could be critical to the fight to over-turn the Hyde Amendment* thus ensuring that all women get access to abortion despite their income or source of insurance.

As you may know, the Senate Anti-Trafficking bill was stalled because the bill contained an abortion restriction that would have kept the women helped by the bill from being able to get abortions. This provision would have extended the Hyde Amendment onto a fund made up solely of fines from offenders — the first time the restriction would have been applied to a fund made-up solely of non-tax-payer dollars.

Several women’s health champions in the Senate, including Senators Harry Reid, Patty Murray, Patrick Leahy and Diane Feinstein, took to the Senate floor to decry this restriction. “A bill intended to help women should help women,” Senator Murray stated. Read more »