BREAKING: Paycheck Fairness Act Filibustered by Senate Republicans
The Paycheck Fairness Act failed to get the 60 votes necessary to break the Republican filibuster in the US Senate today and was not brought to the floor, with all Republicans voting against the bill and all Democrats voting for the bill in a straight party-line vote. (Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) must vote procedurally with the prevailing side so he has the option of bringing the bill back to the Senate floor this session.) The Paycheck Fairness Act sought to protect women's right to equal pay by closing loophole of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Under the proposed law, employers would have been required to demonstrate that salary differences between men and women who do the same work are not due to gender. Employers would have also been barred from retaliating against employees who share paycheck information with coworkers.
Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal commented, "The Republican war on women rages on. First they attacked birth control, then the Violence Against Women Act, and now they're attacking pay equity. With the straight party-line vote, the GOP caved to business interests and denied women the equality they deserve."
Before the vote, Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) held a press conference with Lilly Ledbetter urging its passage. After the bill failed, Senator Mikulski, the chief sponsor of the bill, called it a sad day for the senate, but a sadder day for women.
Republicans have falsely argued that the law does not strengthen equal pay protections and just adds to the government bureaucracy. Republicans offered an alternative bill with fewer protections, the misnamed End Pay Discrimination through Information Act. The GOP has argued that it hurts business interests and the Chamber of Commerce released a statement in opposition to the bill. "It was especially disappointing that Senators Snowe, Collins, and Scott Brown did not listen to the women of their states and voted instead with so-called business interests that want loopholes to prevail and pay equity laws to be weak," said Smeal.
The Paycheck Fairness Act was brought as a cloture vote to break the filibuster requiring 60 votes in order to move the bill to the floor for consideration. Earlier, the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives voted 233- 180 in nearly a straight party-line vote against bringing the Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor. The bill was last brought to a Senate vote two years ago, but it received only 58 of the 60 necessary votes.
Media Resources: The Hill 6/5/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/5/12
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .