This morning’s Supreme Court ruling declaring same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional marks a victory for love. I can hear the chants outside my window, see it on the faces of my co-workers and feel it in my bones.
When Pennsylvania became the 19th state where same-sex couples could legally marry last year, the federal judge that overturned our state ban wrote that “we are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.” Read more here.
Today is the 43rd anniversary of Title IX!
Title IX is a comprehensive federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The principal objective of Title IX, established in 1972, is to avoid the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs, and to provide people effective protection against those practices. Read more here.
HB 1112 Amended: Victory for Female Athletes in PA!
We recently warned you about House Bill 1112, and asked you to take action on behalf of female athletes in Pennsylvania. We’re happy to report that your voices were heard, and the problem has been resolved.
You Are Being Heard: Vote on HB222 Postpone - But We Remain Concerned
On June 5th, we sent you an alert to inform you about a bill that would, if passed, punish women in recovery from drug addiction by withholding food from their families.
In short, House Bill 222 would impose a lifetime ban on benefits for people convicted of felony drug crimes. The ban is not just immoral, it’s ineffective as a deterrent. Prosecutors say refusing to give people in recovery the support to get back on their feet—and in many cases, the ability to support their children while doing so–only increases the likelihood of criminal behavior.
HB 222 also disproportionately affects women. Read more here.
11 "Revenge Porn" Cases in First Six Months of PA's New Law
A law criminalizing a type of digital harassment known as “revenge porn,” an initiative of the Agenda for Women’s Health, passed into law last year. A new analysis by The Tribune-Review reveals that in the first six months the law has been on the books, 11 cases are already underway.
“I don’t know that I want to say I’m encouraged, but I do feel vindicated,” said state Sen. Judy Schwank, co-chair of the Women’s Health Caucus. Schwank championed the legislation last year. Read more...
WLP Announces the Campaign for Women's Health
Women’s Law Project is proud to announce founding membership in the Campaign for Women’s Health, a new statewide coalition formed to change the conversation about women’s health care in Pennsylvania.
For years now in Harrisburg, the phrase ‘women’s health’ has been code for restricting access to safe and legal abortion for poor and working women. The result of substituting sound public health policy for buzzword politics is clear: Pennsylvania consistently ranks abysmally low for women’s health and economic security across all indicators. Read more here. Also check out our Legislative Action page.
Report: Why We Need to Raise the Minimum Wage in PA
By Tara Murtha, WLP Staff
As the Pennsylvania Legislature considers bills to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $10.10, a new report breaks down the big-picture and local benefits of hiking the minimum wage.
Currently, minimum wage in Pennsylvania is $7.25, the lowest amount allowed by federal law since 2009.
Read more here.
If You Don’t Want to Wait Until 2072 For Equal Pay in PA
April 14 is Equal Pay Day.
Why do we need a whole day to draw attention to the problem—and possible solutions—to gender-based wage discrimination? Because if we do nothing other than wait, Pennsylvania women will not earn equal pay until the year 2072. Read more here.
What Young v. UPS Means for Pregnancy Discrimination in PA
The Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion yesterday in the landmark pregnancy discrimination case Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service. At issue is whether or not the company violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978.
In short, the news is good for women. The Supreme Court pushed the case back to a lower court, giving Peggy Young another chance to prove that the company discriminated against her. "We think it's a big win for Peggy Young,” said Samuel Bagenstos, Young's lawyer at the Supreme Court. “We think it's a big win for pregnant workers around the country.” Read more...
Judge Upholds Pittsburgh Buffer Zone
By Tara Murtha
A federal judge has upheld the constitutionality of a 15-foot buffer zone ordinance that protects health care facilities in Pittsburgh. The decision is the first federal ruling on the constitutionality of a clinic buffer zone sinceMcCullen v. Coakley, the Supreme Court case decided last June. Read more...
King v. Burwell: What’s at stake for women in PA?
On March 4th, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the latest attempt to gut the Affordable Care Act.
King v. Burwell is a lawsuit brought by Virginia residents who ultimately hope to strip premium tax credits, also called a subsidy, from people who buy their health insurance through one of the 37 states with federally run exchanges.
PA Trying to Kill Philadelphia's Paid Earned Sick Days
Last month, Philadelphia became the twentieth city to pass earned sick day legislation.
Today, Pennsylvania lawmakers moved to undo that victory by not only banning every other municipality across the state from mandating earned paid sick leave, but adding an amendment to SB333 specifying the law, if implemented, would retroactively take effect January 1.
WLP Attorneys: Penn Professors Are Wrong
by Tara Murtha, WLP Staff
Women’s Law Project Executive Director Carol E. Tracy, Managing Attorney Terry L. Fromson and Staff Attorney Amal Bass, lawyers with extensive experience working with Title IX, the civil law that prohibits discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding, have written an open letter responding to University of Pennsylvania professors’ criticism of their school’s new system for adjudicating sexual assault complaints.
Bad Bill Alert: "Admitting Privileges" Coming to PA
Admitting privilege legislation is the latest trick deployed nationally by opponents of abortion rights to shrink the (already inadequate) number of abortion providers. That’s why it’s been all over the news for months.
Recently, we learned the admitting privilege controversy is coming to Pennsylvania.
The bill will be co-sponsored by Rep. Kathy Rapp. You may recall Rapp, a member of the Susan B. Anthony National Pro-life Caucus, as a sponsor of Pennsylvania’s mandatory ultrasound bill--an idea ridiculed by professional medical associations. (Then former Governor Corbett advised women endure the medically unnecessary procedure by just closing their eyes, and the entire country wondered what was wrong with Pennsylvania.) The other sponsor is Rep. Bryan Barbin, the Democratic leader of the Pennsylvania House Pro-Life Caucus. Read full blog here. Please help by contacting your state representative now.
Philadelphia Passes Paid Earned Sick Days Bill
Blog by Tara Murtha
We did it! Philadelphia is now the 20th jurisdiction in the United States to guarantee certain workers the ability to earn paid sick days.
The measure has been passed by City Council twice before, so it’s easy to say the third time’s a charm. But this success is, of course, is the result of a full-court press by advocates who refused to give up. As Ellen Bravo of Family Values at Work wrote earlier today, “This third time has nothing to do with charm and everything to do with smart organizing, grit, and a transformed political landscape.” See full article.
Pittsburgh Introduces Paid Family Leave Bill
Having a child is the single most expensive health event faced by young families. In fact, thirteen percent of families with a new infant become poor within a month, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. See full article.
Roe at 42: the U.S. House Set to Vote on Discriminatory Abortion Restriction
On this day in 1973, the Supreme Court decided the landmark abortion case Roe V. Wade.
Forty-two years later, women’s reproductive rights are being chiseled away as national and state anti-choice lawmakers are proposing, and in many cases passing, abortion restrictions at record levels.
Federal Lawsuit Targets DHS For Illegally Delaying Health Coverage for 85,000 Pennsylvania WomenWomen qualified for full coverage on January 1
Today (January 13), two women’s health organizations and a private citizen filed a federal class action claiming that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is unlawfully delaying the enrollment of tens of thousands of Pennsylvania women into comprehensive Medicaid coverage for which they qualified effective January 1. Go to full press release.
A Road Map for Our New Governor to Improve Women’s Health and Economic Security
By Kate Michelman and Carol E. Tracy
Democratic challenger Tom Wolf defied a national tide and 60 years of Pennsylvania history in defeating incumbent Republican governor Tom Corbett on November 4. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. October polls showed 61 percent of voters believed the state was on the wrong track — as did 100 percent of advocates for women’s health and economic security. It’s little wonder that Tom Wolf won the vote of women by 16 points. Read more here…
Women Against Abuse Names New Safe Haven "Carol's Place" in Honor of WLP Executive Director Carol Tracy
VICTORY! Bill to Protect Domestic Violence Victims from Eviction Heads to Governor's Desk
We asked for your help, you gave it. We heard about all the phone calls and emails. Now, together, we achieved a huge victory for the rights of domestic violence survivors in Pennsylvania, who can no longer be legally evicted from their homes for calling authorities for help when they need it. Read more about HB 1796!
Women’s Law Project Joins Nationwide Coalition Calling on Department of Justice to Denounce Enhanced Sentence for Pregnant WomanWomen’s Law Project joined New Voices Philadelphia: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice, New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice, and a coalition of 48 reproductive justice, drug policy reform, women’s rights and civil liberties organizations across the country in sending a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to renounce enhanced criminal penalties for women on the basis of pregnancy. Read more here or go to the full letter.
Supreme Court Rules That For-Profit Employers Can Refuse to Cover Birth Control
Pennsylvania Women's Advocates Cry Foul
50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act
Fifteen national and state-based women’s rights legal organizations are marking the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 with the launch of the Equal Pay Today! Campaign. Read more about the Equal Pay Today! Campaign and what you can do.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court has affirmed that the General Assembly meant what it clearly stated when it adopted a law in 2006 requiring insurers to pay claims to innocent victims whose homes and automobiles are damaged by the intentional acts of their abusive spouses. See Opinion and more.
The Women’s Law Project started advocating to improve police response to sex crimes in 1999 when it led the reform of police practice in Philadelphia. Our newly published Policy Brief (February 2013) describes the innovative strategies we have pursued at both the local and national level. See more resources covering Rape & Sexual Assault.
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