Pauline Friedman Phillips, Original 'Dear Abby,' Dies at 94
Pauline Friedman Phillips, the original writer for the advice column "Dear Abby" and a fierce women's rights activist, died on Wednesday in Minneapolis. The popular columnist was 94 years old.
Pauline Friedman Phillips started her career by helping her twin sister respond to letters for an advice column in Chicago Sun-Times. In 1956, Phillips started her own advice column with the San Francisco Chronicle. She would write for Dear Abby for over 40 years, until her daughter Jeanne Phillips assumed the position in 2002. Jeanne Phillips not only continues her mother's tradition, but is also a strong supporter of women's rights and reproductive choice.
While best known for her column, Phillips was also very supportive of women's rights. She campaigned for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, including making a television ad for Iowa. In 1997, the column ran a letter by Mavis Leno, the Feminist Majority Foundation Chair of the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid, about the Taliban treatment of Afghan women and girls with the contact information for the organization. The piece generated enough calls from readers to crash the Feminist Majority Foundation phone system and that of a women-owned call center brought on to help handle the response.
Phillips also organized around AIDS treatment and awareness, birth control access, and abortion access. She also featured letters from women facing domestic violence, rape, incest, and drug abuse. Jeanne Phillips who continues her mother's tradition and is also a strong supporter of women's rights and reproductive choice.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 1/17/2013; Feminist Majority Foundation
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .