Progressive Groups Release Rights-Tracking Map of United States
Three progressive organizations held a press conference yesterday to announce the launch of a new website that tracks reproductive and sexual rights by state. Ipas, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective collaborated to create a database that evaluates states based on access to abortion and contraception; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues; and other concerns, such as abstinence-only education policies.
The website has a color-coded map and each state is given a profile that explains how it was ranked. Aside from providing statistics and links to relevant articles and studies, the website also links to the section of each state government’s website that addresses reproductive and sexual rights. The map reveals that Ohio and South Dakota place the most restrictions on reproductive and sexual rights, while New Mexico and New York receive the highest rankings for their state laws. The site also demonstrates a correlation between abstinence-only education and high teen fertility rates.
Speakers at the press conference, including Leila Hessini, senior policy advisor for Ipas; Jason Cianciotto, Research Director at NGLTF; and Loretta Ross, National Coordinator for SisterSong, hope it will serve as a one-stop source of information for activists, journalists, students, and anyone else interested in monitoring reproductive and sexual rights. The map is unique in that it addresses a breadth of issues, emphasizing the connectedness of many progressive concerns.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .