Stories of discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace are all too common, and that’s why we need the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which was introduced in Congress today.
Despite the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act over 30 years ago, which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, some employers continue to deny pregnant women the minor job modifications that could protect not only a woman’s pregnancy but also a family’s economic security, forcing pregnant women out of their jobs.
The PWFA would make it crystal clear to employers that they can’t treat pregnant women worse than other workers who have certain job limitations and instead must make reasonable accommodations if doing so doesn’t pose an undue hardship on the business....read more
Writing about adoption and Kathryn Joyce’s The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption in Al Jazeera this week, and looking at the ways the Evangelical claims of an orphan crisis hurt kids and families. A bit:...read more
Content note: Rape threats.
Dean Saxton, a student at the University of Arizona, is hanging out on campus with a “You Deserve Rape” sign. Because you’re dressed like a whore, of course, so you’re asking for it. The University says there’s nothing they can do, because he hasn’t violated the student code of conduct. I would suggest that maybe it’s time to rewrite the student code of conduct?...read more
So we know that Beyonce’s numerous sins include dressing sexy, being married, and saying that girls run the world when that isn’t technically true. But did you also know she’s singlehandedly responsible for luring young girls into sexual exploitation?...read more
This is a guest post by Lenora M. Lapidus, Director, ACLU Women’s Rights Project, and Ariela Migdal, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Women’s Rights Project. The ACLU Women’s Rights Project (WRP) is dedicated to ensuring that all women can lead lives of dignity free from violence and discrimination, including discrimination based on gender stereotypes....read more
Journalist Kathryn Joyce has a new book out called The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption about (guess what) the Evangelical Christian adoption movement. It’s a fascinating read, enlightening even for those of us who thought they knew something about the problems with the adoption industry. I interviewed Kathryn for Buzzfeed; here’s a bit:...read more
If you paid attention to the interwebs late last week, you probably some twitterings about Kermitt Gosnell, a Pennsylvania doctor accused of running a horror show out of his low-rent abortion clinic. He’s on trial in state court after being investigated and arrested two years ago — which you might remember, since feminist media (including this blog) covered the issue extensively. But now, lefty and centrist dudes are Very Concerned about Gosnell. Why? Because a handful of pro-lifers are whining that no one has covered the case, and lefty journalists are intentionally squelching any sort of media focus on Gosnell. In reality, the Grand Jury report was filed in early 2011, and included most of the facts now being presented at trial. In early 2011, dozens of outlets covered the report. When the trial commenced a few weeks ago, local media covered it. And when there’s a verdict, mainstream and feminist media will likely cover it again, since that will be something new to report. This is how media coverage of big court cases works, most of the time. So what’s all the fuss? And why are usually skeptical journalists taking known liars like Michelle Malkin and Jill Stanek at their word? I’m at Al Jazeera writing about it:...read more
An investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar, a woman who died in an Irish hospital after being refused a medically necessary abortion, has confirmed that Ms. Halappanavar and her husband were indeed told that her pregnancy could not be terminated because Ireland is a Catholic country....read more
I don’t usually point folks in the direction of right-wing comment sections, but man, this one over at Hot Air about access to emergency contraception is amazing. Background: A federal judge ruled that the law making emergency contraception (referred to variously as Plan B, EC and the morning-after pill) only available without a prescription to young women 17 and over was arbitrary and capricious, and not grounded in any scientific or legally tenable basis. Cue right-wing freak-out. The always incredibly astute and never hysterical AllahPundit started the post off by worrying about the hordes of 13-year-old Plan B addicts trolling pharmacies at midnight looking for their fix (“You don’t want your 13-year-old running around town at midnight looking for a pharmacist on duty just to get hold of some Plan B, do you?”). In other words, “It’s 11pm. Do you know where your kids are? Because they’re probably running around town looking for a pharmacist just to get hold of some Plan B for huffing. D.A.R.E.” Then, of course, the genius commenters joined in. These are all actual comments from Hot Air; I could not make this up if I tried:...read more
Punting on Marriage Equality Won’t Prevent Culture Wars; It’ll Undermine the Supreme Court’s Credibility
Political commentators, at least on the left and center, seem relatively convinced that the past two days of marriage equality hearings in the Supreme Court won’t result in an opinion extending same-sex marriage rights to all people in the United States. They might be right, but I’m not sure why so many left-of-center folks seem to be warning the Court not to move too quickly on marriage equality. I get why the socially conservative right is doing it — it’s a threat, essentially. “Do a think we don’t like and we will FREAK OUT!” And they will surely throw a mild temper-tantrum if the fundamental right of marriage is found to include same-sex couples. But “Oh jeez, the religious right might act like toddlers again” is not a very good reason to delay granting a group of citizens basic constitutional rights. Also: Contrary to what has somehow become an accepted truth, Roe v. Wade did not ignite the culture wars. Abortion was controversial well before Roe, and while abortion rights were secured in a small handful of states (four, I believe), they weren’t going to move ahead in many more because of conservative, religious push-back. The idea that a Roe-free U.S. would somehow have led to the broad securement of abortion rights without controversy is flat-out wrong. As is the idea that marginalized groups of people should have to wait for the tides of public opinion to turn before they get rights. Which is what this piece in the Nation is about:...read more
Over at Al Jazeera, I’m writing about the evolution of American laws on rape and sexual assault. Over the decades, sexual assault law and jurisprudence have changed along with the status of women; the law has both reflected the culture and helped to move it forward. In light of that, perhaps it’s time for another shift in the law, to a model of affirmative consent:...read more
Today, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a day after it heard Hollingsworth v. Perry, about California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in that state. The Hollingsworth audio is worth a listen if you have an hour. There are a lot of things that stand out about the arguments, and I’ll be writing about them in various places around the internet (hopefully) today and tomorrow. But one piece that, unsurprisingly, was hammered by Mr. Cooper, the attorney for the anti-marriage-equality side, was the idea that marriage has always been a certain way, and allowing same-sex couples to marry would change the entire institution in a way that had never been seen before. Which is kinda true, except of course that same-sex marriage is already legal in a bunch of places and Armageddon has not arrived. And also, marriage has been fundamentally changed in ways never seen before dozens (hundreds?) of times over. The vast majority of folks who crow about their support for traditional marriage are in (or seek to be in, or support) decidedly un-traditional marriages. So for all the female proponents of “traditional marriage,” I hope you are following these rules:...read more