Feminists Win Potentially Largest Police Lawsuit in History
Leading feminist attorneys Patricia Bellasalma, Los Angeles National Organization for Women President Shelly Mandell, Jack O’Donnell, and Genie Harrison were handed a major victory yesterday when a Los Angeles Superior Court ruled unanimously that Los Angeles County has demonstrated a pattern and practice of race discrimination against its 500-plus public safety officers.
The class action lawsuit, spearheaded by Captains Alma Cruz, George Frank, and Victor Turner, argued that public safety officers perform duties comparable to Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies: they too face danger and possible loss of life. Yet, their pay is 40% less than deputies, and they are not given equal pension opportunities. The public safety officers, comprised 80% by Latinos, African-Americans, and Asian-Americans, patrol the county’s hospitals, parks and other public facilities where clients are predominantly women of color.
Lead attorney Bellasalma said, "The county wants to have their cake and eat it too. They knew they needed police officers to do these jobs, they just didn’t want to pay cop wages and benefits."
Cruz had come to the National Center for Women & Policing for help, at the suggestion of Jacqueline Gonzales, member of the National Center for Women and Policing. Gonzales, in turn, introduced Cruz and the other named plaintiffs to Bellasalma. This was Bellasalma’s first case out of law school. Plaintiffs will seek over $100 million in salary increases and back pay during the damages phase of the trial.
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. . . .