President to Sign Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
Just a day after the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed the Senate, President Obama plans to sign the equal pay legislation, reports NPR, making it only the second piece of legislation the President has signed.
When Lilly Ledbetter’s pay discrimination case against Goodyear Tire
went to the Supreme Court, the Court ruled that Ledbetter was not
entitled to any damages, because she had brought her claim more than
180 days after her first discriminatory paycheck. (As Gail Collins writes, "Let us pause briefly to contemplate the chances of figuring out your
co-workers’ salaries within the first six months on the job.") This legislation
reinstates the standard that a pay discrimination claim can be brought
up to 180 days after an employee’s last discriminatory paycheck.
Global Gag Rule Reinstatement Fails
Senate Democrats successfully beat back an amendment to an SCHIP expansion that would have reinstated the global gag rule, the Associated Press reports. The measure failed by a 60-37 vote. Sponsor Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida said, "This
policy is not about reducing aid…It is instead about
ensuring that family planning funds are given to organizations
dedicated to reducing abortions instead of promoting them."
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Sen. Barbara Boxer countered: "Tens of thousands of abortions will be avoided because of the
actions of our new president, and for the life of me, I don’t
understand how someone who is against abortion could offer such an
amendment, which in essence will consign women to back-alley abortions
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days Win BBC Film Award
The much-praised (including on Rewire) drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" won the BBC Four Cinema Award, BBC News reports. BBC News writes, "The
film, directed by Romanian Cristian Mungiu, follows two female friends
from his home country after one becomes pregnant and wants an illegal
Prevention First Called "FOCA’s Evil Twin"
American Life League President Judie Brown has called the Prevention First Act "FOCA’s evil twin," reports the Illinois Federation for Right to Life. The Illinois Federation writes:
complained that FOCA, the legislation designed to render illegal all
state and federal regulations on abortion, has received more attention
than PFA among pro-life circles, although PFA is already "gathering
steam." "If and when FOCA is ever introduced and starts to build
steam, we are ready to take that on as well, but first things first!"
Brown wrote…Brown claims that The Act, if passed, would
hand over millions to "family planning" methods, strike a blow to
health providers’ conscience rights, and financially pave the way for
the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). "It’s a one-two punch:
FOCA to strip away all the restrictions and then PFA to pour millions,
if not billions, in the abortion industry," Jim Sedlak, executive
director of American Life League’s (ALL) STOPP International and an
expert on Planned Parenthood, told LifeSiteNews.com. "The Prevention
First Act … opens the floodgates for Planned Parenthood and all kinds
of birth control, contraception, [and] family planning money."
North Carolina’s Abortion Fund Could Be Cut
The $50,000 per year North Carolina spends to fund abortion care may be cut in upcoming budget negotiations, the Raleigh News-Observer reports. The fund is already restricted to "poor women who were not on Medicaid and needed an abortion because of rape, incest or life endangerment" — a restriction apparently so narrow that "Paige
Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Central North Carolina chapter of
Planned Parenthood, said that as far as her organization knows, no
woman has received help from the program since 1995 [the year the restrictions were put in place]."
South Carolina Considers Mandatory Delay Legislation
Under new legislation proposed in South Carolina, women seeking
abortions would have to wait two days after viewing an ultrasound
before returning for abortion care, the Associated Press reports.
Currently, the mandatory waiting time is an hour. Women are required
to be asked if they would like to view the ultrasound, and must sign a
form saying they were given the option. The AP writes, "The South
Carolina Coalition for Healthy Families opposed the measure, calling it
extreme and said it could require taking two days off of work and
finding transportation. The state needs to focus instead on reducing
unintended pregnancies by funding preventive health care, contraception
and comprehensive education beyond abstinence only, said coalition
lobbyist Brandi Parrish."
Layoffs Hit NARAL Pro-Choice America
The economic downturn has hit progressive non-profit and political groups hard, and NARAL Pro-Choice America is not immune, reports Garance Franke-Ruta in the Washington Post. "NARAL
Pro-Choice America is not immune to the most severe economic challenges
facing Americans in more than 50 years," said Ted Miller, communications director. "Like
many nonprofit organizations that rely on individual contributions, we
have made adjustments. We have reduced staff and cut expenses to both
preserve the organization’s fiscal health and continue our work as a
leader in advancing policies that protect women’s freedom and privacy."
Other News to Note
Jan 28: Rapid City Journal: State lawmakers have an abortion bill to debate
Jan 28: Right Voices: $335,000,000 FOR STD PREVENTION IN ECONOMIC STIMULUS BILL