Em-URGE-ing Voices

Posts Tagged: legislation

Young, Pregnant, and At Work

Written by Kelsey Ryland, URGE Law & Policy Fellow The Supreme Court will hear the case of Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service (UPS) on December 3.  Kadijah wrote about the case for us, but in short: Ms. Young, a pregnant UPS employee, was instructed by her doctor to request light duty, but UPS refused to accommodate her request. UPS routinely accommodates other workers with injuries or other limitations. The 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act should protect workers in this situation, but two lower courts have supported UPS. Now the Supreme Court will hear the case and determine whether or not the Pregnancy Discrimination Act has enough force to protect pregnant workers. Protecting pregnant workers is a reproductive justice issue that hugely impacts young people. This isn’t the 1950s anymore and most… Read more »

What Kansans Can Expect in 2015

We all know how devastating the midterm elections were for certain parts of the country, especially on certain issues. Since I live in Kansas, I am as aware of that as anyone. For reproductive rights, the landscape for the next few years certainly does look bleak here, as it does in many other states. With supportive legislators at an all-time low, and an administration that has abortion restrictions high on its priority list, we can expect many new restrictions to be introduced, and possibly passed, in 2015. Meanwhile, even as anti-choice politicians were overwhelmingly elected nationwide, ballot initiatives and exit polls show that our nation still has a majority in favor of reproductive rights. Knowing this, it is important that we prepare ourselves for the continued rise of restrictions on… Read more »

Should Men Have a Say in Abortion?

Over the past few years, I’ve had a lot of conversations about abortion. In fact, a large portion of my life has revolved around abortion issues because of the people in my life and the organizations I work with. As a result of all of these conversations, I’ve heard a lot of different and nuanced opinions on how this issue should be handled. One of these opinions that I think is particularly dangerous is the argument that in order to get an abortion, a woman should have to get the consent of the biological father. Before I get any farther, I would like to acknowledge that women in heterosexual relationships aren’t the only people who seek abortions. People that identify with any gender along the spectrum might seek abortions. Women… Read more »

Sex-Selection Abortion Bans: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

In 2012, Congress failed to pass the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which would ban sex, and race based abortions. Shrouded in faux feminism and blatant Asian Pacific Island (API) discrimination, officially 8 states now allow for these laws. Doctors are now investigators and patients are now suspects, especially API women. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum calls South Dakota’s recent passage of HD 1162, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Supporters of South Dakota’s bill called opponents hypocritical for not supporting a bill that incites “gender violence.” Let’s be clear here. This is the first time some of these lawmakers have given two shits about women. It clearly reflects in their Congressional demographic. It’s upsetting that politicians want to use feminism and women’s rights to drive a wedge between abortion supporters when they’re normally the same lawmakers denying women… Read more »

Fetal Heartbeat: The Great Anti-Choice Divider In Kansas

On March 26th, 2013, The House Federal and State Affairs Committee opened at 8 a.m. the hearing on HB 2324—a bill summarized by the meeting minutes as “prohibiting an abortion of an unborn human individual with a detectable fetal heartbeat.” The hearing closed that day and now having been heard successfully in committee almost a year ago, the bill awaits to see if it will be introduced to the floor of the legislature for a vote, a vote imbedded in the divisionary politics and varying allegiances at play within the “pro-life”/anti-choice legislators, lobbyists, and activists in the capitol. There are multitude of anti-choice organizations in Kansas (and even more groups that actively work for anti-choice causes) but the five main anti-choice organizations in Kansas are “Kansans for Life” (KFL); “Kansas… Read more »

Let the Budgeting Begin: Why Obama’s Version Makes Me Smile

We had some good news out of the White House recently — President Obama just released his version of the budget this week and in it he gives some major attention (and money) to comprehensive sex education! I’m especially excited about President Obama’s five-year re-authorization and maintenance of funding for the Personal Responsibility Education Program, an education initiative for young people to help prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, specifically for youth who are homeless, in foster care, or who come from areas with high levels of teen pregnancy, including youth of color.  He also proposes increases in funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, which helps to prevent unintended pregnancies in teens and support teen parents in communities around the country. 

TRAPped in Texas

It was just last summer when we experienced Wendy Davis’ monumental filibuster against an anti-choice bill in the Texas Senate. Though the stand for abortion rights made national headlines, HB2 was later passed in a special session. The law has been in effect for several months and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is beginning to crack down on abortion providers. This past week in Houston, Theodore Herring’s license was revoked and the Affordable Women’s Health Medical Center was shut down for not following the ridiculous TRAP laws in HB2. TRAP laws, also known as targeted regulation of abortion provider laws, limit the ability for abortion providers to do their jobs. In HB2, abortion clinics must have admitting privileges to a hospital 30 miles away. This is apparently to… Read more »

Kansas Legislators: Stop Playing Doctor and Start Growing Up

Kansas isn’t new the notion of politicians saying and doing ridiculous and inappropriate things when it concerns reproductive rights. Hell, just in the past few weeks since the new legislative session opened, we’ve already had our governor equate abortion to slavery and another representative claiming women over 50 don’t need gynecological services. But, last Wednesday, on the anniversary of Roe v Wade, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook might have taken the cake when she orchestrated a sonogram during a meeting of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee. Sen. Pilcher-Cook claimed that she was trying to “give committee members a science education on life within the womb,” but really what she was trying to was try to use an outlandish stunt to disrupt the proceedings for the day—as well as shame anyone… Read more »

Keeping an Eye on the “Incremental” Abortion Restrictions in Ohio

I set out to write this piece about the impact that Governor Kasich’s budget bill has had in Ohio since it was signed into law six months ago. I thought the budget bill, or House Bill 59, was the worst blow to Ohio reproductive rights. What I didn’t know was that while House Bill 59 was a pretty tough blow, it was just one of many tough blows to the state’s fragmented reproductive rights protections. Turns out reproductive rights in Ohio have been steadily chipped away by the state’s government officials for over twenty years. Unless you have been part of the small group of people on the ground fighting back, you may not have known. And it’s all because of the approach the state government officials have taken. Instead… Read more »

3 Ways You Can Help Texas Right Now

This week has been a roller coaster ride in Texas. First, on Monday, District Judge Lee Yeakel found certain requirements under HB5 to be unconstitutional including the requirement of admitting privileges. But yesterday evening the 5th Circuit Court of a Appeals blocked Judge Yeakel’s injunction on the law, which means that even though the admitting privileges are currently considered unconstitutional by the courts, they will still go into effect – starting today – until the Court has made the a permanent ruling on the provision. Basically, it’s really bad news. Clinics are already being forced to cancel appointments and experts believe this decision will close one-third of abortion clinics in the state. Things are looking bad for abortion access in Texas right now, but this fight will be a long… Read more »