This is cross posted at Daily Kos: This Week in the War on Women.
SCOTUS, Hobby Lobby, and the Push for “Not My Boss’s Business” Act
Senators Mark Udall and Patty Murray's bill, “The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act,” clarifies that the law the Supreme Court based their decision on — The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) — cannot be used to allow for-profit corporations to limit any legal health care service.”
“The men and women who went to work for Hobby Lobby signed up to work at a craft store, not a religious organization,” Udall said.”
Senators Speak Out: Now Let’s Hope There’s Action
“It is a horrible decision,” Reid said, adding that he was “disappointed” in Chief Justice John Roberts and felt the justice had “misdirected” senators during his confirmation hearings about whether he supported constitutional privacy rights.”
“As the author of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, I can say with absolute certainty the Supreme Court got the Hobby Lobby case dead wrong,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). The point of the law was to protect the religious freedoms of individuals from government interference, Schumer said, and people who are born into or convert to a religion are nothing like for-profit corporations that form voluntarily and benefit from the marketplace under U.S. laws.”
“Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) called Hobby Lobby a “direct violation” of the right to privacy granted by the Griswold v. Connecticut decision, which struck down laws prohibiting the sale of birth control.”
All You Wish You Didn’t Need to Know about the Hobby Lobby Case
Think about It: “Until Hobby Lobby, religious liberty was a shield, not a sword. It protected minority religious practices from majority tyranny. Hobby Lobby, however, has opened the door to companies opting out of all kinds of laws: anti-discrimination laws, the Affordable Care Act, you name it.”
A HL Quote Roundup
Including: "Since the Supreme Court decided it will not protect women's access to health care, I will." -- Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on the elegantly referred to “Not My Boss’s Business” Act
They’re Not Done: Next Term the Boys of SCOTUS Will Decide how Pregnant Women Work
“The Court will consider the case of Peggy Young, a part-time delivery driver for UPS whose discrimination claim puts a spotlight on the vulnerabilities many workers face if they become pregnant.”
“Three-quarters of women entering the labor force will be pregnant on the job at some point in their lives, and issues of workplace accommodations for pregnant workers increasingly affect low-wage women workers. So this is a big case, and one that no matter the ruling will have a wide reach. It’s also a case that wades into issues of gender stereotyping, gender-neutral leave policies, and cultural assumptions about mothers’ and fathers’ “differential attachments to the labor force” including the way a cultural reverence for pregnancy and new mothers contributes to instances of pregnancy discrimination. These are murky waters for the conservatives on the Roberts Court.”
ENDA (Employment Protection Bill) Suffers from Right’s Rights to more Rights
“A number of high profile LGBT rights groups have announced they cannot support the current version of the employment protection bill known as ENDA. Why are they doing this, and where do we go from here?”
“The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force was among the first groups to announce it was formally dropping its support for the bill. ENDA (the Employment Non Discrimination Act) was originally was designed to end anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace. ENDA legislation passed the US Senate in November last year but it came with a major compromise. Chiefly, the language appears to allow broad religious exemptions that would mean businesses who claim to have sincerely held religious beliefs could still discriminate against LGBT employees and make hiring, firing and promotion decisions solely on the basis of sexual orientation.”
“Many groups had already raised serious concerns about this aspect of the legislation, and then came the Supreme Court “Hobby Lobby” decision. While that case dealt narrowly with an exemption based upon religious beliefs, the Religious Right has seized upon it as a window of opportunity for carving out exemptions from LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws and ordinances. The Task Force seems to think the ENDA loophole, teamed with this appetite to undermine civil rights laws, creates a similarly dangerous precedent.”
Can Bubble Zones Protect a Woman’s Right to Healthcare?
“In many states and municipalities court challenges are being initiated against the zones, but in others the cities themselves have made the decision just to fend off potential lawsuits. That isn’t working, however, and the mass of litigation, even where it is unnecessary, and the threats of even more lawsuits in the face of new proposals makes it clear that with one victory behind them, anti-abortion activists intend to use their clout as a group to ensure no new protections are put in place.”
“The reason for both of these facts are the same. Religious Right legal teams that step forward to offer to represent the states that pass unconstitutional bills also represent the anti-abortion activists that challenge what few protections patients do receive when they try to access a clinic. By virtue of their endless legal battles, they essentially frighten challengers out of litigation with the threat of crippling legal costs.”
“In other words, the end of abortion access may just come about not via overturning Roe v. Wade, but at the hands of hundreds of expensive lawsuits.”
“Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, protesters stepping into the buffer zones may already be scaring patients away from their appointments. Since the ruling, one Planned Parenthood clinic in Massachusetts told the Los Angeles Times that the clinic had "more no-shows for the week than usual."
Women as Built-in Healthcare Providers
“At the beginning of July, 26-year-old Mallory Loyola gave birth to a baby girl. Two days later, the state of Tennessee charged her with assault. Loyola is the first woman to be arrested under a new law in Tennessee that allows the state to criminally charge mothers for potentially causing harm to their fetuses by using drugs.”
“This view of pregnant women essentially means that as soon as you’re carrying a fertilized egg, you’ve lost your medical privacy and your right to make medical decisions,” Paltrow pointed out. “But all matters concerning pregnancy are health care matters. Pregnancy, like other health issues, should be addressed through the public health system and not through the criminal punishment system or the civil child welfare system.”
“A new law just took effect in Georgia that bans coverage of abortion in health plans purchased in the state health insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These health insurance policies can now only cover abortion "in the case of medical emergency,"but not in cases of incest or rape.”
Retro while Pretending to Be Hip
“Tech behemoth Apple has had a few run-ins with casual sexism over the past few years. After Siri was introduced, it soon became clear that the software had trouble finding abortion clinics, but was very capable of finding escort services. A writer at Jezebel noted that her iPhone will not autocorrect a misspelling of "vagina," no matter how clear it is that that’s the word she intended. Now it’s come to light that Apple will not engrave the words “clit” or “vagina” on their products. (But don’t worry, bros. “Dick” and “penis” are still A-OK.)”
“Apple’s policy against engraving “vagina” and “clit” but it’s apparent ease with words like “dick” and “penis” are an extension of this attitude. The lesson here is that men’s sexuality is normal and should be celebrated while women’s sexuality is abnormal and shameful. Apple’s engraving policy may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a symptom of one of the biggest battles we have to fight.”
Rape: For Goodness’s Sake, Teach Your Sons to Just Say NO!
A Young Victim of Drugging and Rape Speaks Out
Enough already with the drugging of girls and raping them. What the heck is going on. Is it so hard to raise a boy to be respectful of women? I don’t know what is a starker example of the War on Women than the drugging, raping, and media-harassing of young women. What a pitiful group of people we have in our midst.
“In an incident that shares several elements with the infamous Steubenville rape case that made national headlines last year, a 16-year-old girl from Texas says that photos of her unconscious body went viral online after she was drugged and raped at a party with her fellow high schoolers. But the victim isn’t backing down. She’s speaking out about what happened to her, telling her story to local press and asking to be identified as Jada.”
Schools and Colleges: Let’s Make them Safe Places
I don’t have many memories of high school (I’ve blocked out the isolation and boredom), but I do remember a history teacher saying, during class, that he would like to have sex with me, on a pretty regular basis. I didn’t say anything to anyone at school or to my parents. Who expected anyone to do anything back in the day? But that day really needs to come to an end.
“The American Association of University Women had already documented the problem of harassment for teens. Fifty six percent of middle- and high-school female teens were sexual harassed during the previous year, found a 2011 report by the Washington-based group. In an earlier study it found that 83 percent of female teens faced harassment throughout their teen years at school and only 9 percent of young women reported harassment to school faculty.”
“More than half of students surveyed in the American Association of University Women's 2011 report want a system put in place where they can report sexual harassment incidents anonymously, the study also found.”
“Most students are afraid to report sexual harassment because they fear that they will experience further bullying, said Narcisse in a phone interview. "Most people think their life is going to be in danger. People that get harassed by kids in school think that if they say something they're going to get bullied or beat up."
Harvard Stands Up for Women, Sort of
“Harvard should be praised for its new sexual assault policy. Released last week, the policy stands as the death knell of the Campus SaVE Act, a federal law enacted last year that weakens Title IX, the 1970s law that guarantees women safe and equal access to education.”
“Harvard will apply a "preponderance of the evidence" standard when determining whether an incident occurred. In the past, students reporting sexual assault faced a much more demanding standard of "clear and convincing evidence," which devalued women's worth on campus by declaring a credible victim's word inherently insufficient to merit sanctions against an offender. Under the new rule, the word of a woman will properly be accorded the same value as that of any student reporting or defending against any type of civil rights violence or harassment on campus.”
“Harvard will also define violence against women in accordance with civil rights laws that use terms such as "unwelcome" and "offensive."
The question now is, which school will do Harvard one-step better? Which school will be bold enough to assume bragging rights as the first school in the nation to embrace an iron-clad prohibition on violence against women with explicit directives guaranteeing fully equitable substantive AND procedural redress of gender-based civil-rights violations – at the exact same table of justice with victims of civil rights violations based on race and national origin? It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for a lower-tiered school to truthfully declare itself a "better" school than Harvard. Let the bragging-rights war begin!
The Cycle of Invisibility Continues
“The nominees for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards were announced on Thursday and women were 26 percent of the nominees. Out of a total 1406 nominated across 72 non-performance categories, women were nominated 369 times, while men were nominated 1037 times.”
But, Laverne Cox was the first openly-transgender actress to be nominated for an Emmy for her portrayal of Sophia Burset in Orange Is the New Black.
Pushing Back: Saying No to Our Bosses
Planned Parenthood Action
I dissent. Religious freedom means that every person should be allowed to follow her own conscience, whether she owns a company or works for an hourly wage. Women earn health care coverage the same way they earn a paycheck -- and they shouldn't have it taken away because of the personal views of their employers.
Mom’s Rising: Tell Congress to Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference!
And, most critically: VOTE IN NOVEMBER! Let’s bring government to the people and not keep handing it to the corporations.