Executive Action Expected This Week on Women's Rights Issues
The incoming Obama/Biden administration is expected to address several key women's rights issues within the next week. Women's rights advocates are hopeful that President Obama will issue executive orders that rescind the global gag rule and release United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) funding that was authorized by Congress and held up by the Bush administration for years.
The Global Gag Rule prohibits family planning programs receiving US federal funds from speaking about or counseling on abortion. The rule was instituted by President Reagan in 1984, was rescinded by President Clinton, and was reinstituted by President Bush. Government relations vice president at Population Action International Tod Preston told the Los Angeles Times that if the global gag rule is rescinded, it will be a "big victory for women overseasÖ.we know their health has been severely impacted by the cutoff. If you want to reduce unintended pregnancies, abortion and women dying from high-risk pregnancies because they donít have access to family planning, you donít do it by cutting off US assistance."
The UNFPA is a United Nations program that deals specifically with population and family planning and has been denied federal funds from the Bush administration for seven consecutive years. The Bush White House falsely cited involvement in sterilization coercion in China as the reason for this decision, despite repeated investigations determining the accusations to be false.
Also, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act were the first bills to pass the House of Representatives this Congress. The Senate is expected to vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act shortly and it is expected that President Obama will sign it. The Ledbetter act corrects the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire Rubber Co., Inc. Supreme Court decision (see PDF) that gutted the ability of women workers to sue for wage discrimination.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 1/9/09, 7/18/09; Los Angeles Times 1/20/09
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .