News Round Up

20 posts

October 27-November 3 Weekly News Round Up

A round up of current news stories on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

I’m a little late on this one, but it still gives me a sense of excitement to be able to highlight a project that addresses both domestic abuse and the inequities in the criminal justice system. Activists launched a letter writing campaign in support of Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot when threatened by her abusive husband. The great part of this campaign is that it asks men to write letters in support of Alexander, thereby challenging men to become more engaged on what is often seen as a “women’s issue”. Brilliant.

The Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, the Connecticut Department of Labor, and the U.S. Dept. of Labor Women’s Bureau are hosting a “roundtable on women in science, technology, engineering and math occupations” Tuesday in Hartford. Shout out to all our STEM sisters! Details here.

An update on the battle over NYC’s stop and frisk policy.

A scheduled decrease in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (also known as food stamps) went into effect Friday, even though food insecurity remains high. Even worse, Congress is currently negotiating the 2013 Farm Bill and both the House and Senate versions call for cuts to the program.

Technical problems continue to plague the federal government’s new healthcare exchange website, but rollout of Connecticut’s site, Access Health CT, has been relatively smooth by comparison. However, challenges remain for CT’s exchange, with price cited as a top concern.

Connecticut’s Democratic Party has seen a fundraising boom thanks to a new CT law that increases the amount an individual can contribute to political parties. While advocates claim the legislation better aligns CT with federal law, others fear it’s a mistake to allow a greater influx of money into the political system.

A federal court has ruled that the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act is a violation of religious freedoms. However, this fight is far from over and will most likely land at the Supreme Court. I’m no lawyer, but I’ve never understood this reasoning. If employers are allowed to deny coverage for any healthcare they disapprove of on religious grounds, what else does that open the floodgates for?

Limiting credits is not cool, UConn.

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News Round Up Special: UConn Students File Title IX Complaint

The following is a special edition of the weekly news round up with a focus on the Title IX complaint that UConn is currently facing. The regular weekly news round up will appear as usual tomorrow.

News Round Up: UConn Students File Title IX Complaint 

By Tess Koenigsmark

By now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard something about the Title IX complaint filed by seven University of Connecticut students. But, if you’re not sure exactly what is going on, have no fear.

Here’s a rundown of the developments so far, and a healthy collection of links for more info:

At a press conference in Hartford on Monday, October 21, attorney Gloria Allred announced that she was representing seven UConn students filing a Title IX complaint against UConn with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Four of the complainants: Kylie Angell, Carolyn Luby, Erica Daniels, and Rose Richi spoke at the press conference on Monday.

So far, the media has focused largely on Luby, the lead complainant, and Angell. Luby gained a lot of attention back in April when she an article she wrote criticizing rape culture at UConn and the school’s new mascot was published on The Feminist Wire. Luby received a deluge of misogynistic comments and threats, including rape threats, after writing the piece. UConn police told her that they could not help her and suggested she wear a hat. The focus on Angell, whose attacker was allowed back on campus without her knowledge, seems to have arisen largely from the truly shocking nature of her ordeal.

On the Wednesday following the press conference, UConn president Susan Herbst addressed the complainants’ allegations at a meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees. Instead of promising to look into the allegations, Herbst prematurely denounced the claims as insulting and untrue, and many criticized her dismissive response. Thursday of the same week, Governor Malloy and Connecticut legislative leaders called for public hearings on UConn’s handling of sexual assaults.

Last Wednesday, October 30, UConn students held a rally to support the Title IX complainants and protest rape culture at the university. Yesterday morning, Gloria Allred announced that four of the complainants from the Title IX case will file a federal lawsuit against the university. It is also expected that the governor will announce dates for legislative hearings shortly.

So there you have it – everything you need to be up to date on the UConn Title IX complaint. Hopefully this incident will ignite some much-needed conversations about how Connecticut’s universities handle sexual assault, and rape culture more broadly. This Daily Campus article is a good start.

Due to the extensive nature of the news coverage on this topic, all of the embedded links are also listed below.

Links

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/21/uconn-sexual-assault-complaint_n_4133713.html

http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Gloria-Allred-Representing-Victims-of-UConn-Sex-Assaults-228657681.html

http://thefeministwire.com/2013/04/an-open-letter-to-uconn-president-susan-herbst/

http://thefeministwire.com/2013/04/urgent-an-open-letter-to-president-susan-herbst-the-uconn-community-barstool-sports-and-others-on-behalf-of-carolyn-luby/

http://www.dailycampus.com/writer-of-open-letter-attacked-online-1.3036489?pagereq=1#.UnQN8BaGHy8

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/23/21100458-uconn-president-on-sexual-assault-complaints-astonishingly-misguided#comments

http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2013/10/president-herbst-discusses-uconns-sexual-assault-response/

http://www.nhregister.com/opinion/20131027/editorial-uconn-president-susan-herbst-deeply-misguided-in-response-to-sexual-assault-claims

http://www.ctmirror.org/story/2013/10/24/governor-and-republican-leaders-call-hearings-uconn-sex-assault-protocols

http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-uconn-rally-sex-assault-1031-20131030,0,4320619.story

http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-uconn-federal-lawsuit-1102-20131101,0,6456958.story

http://www.dailycampus.com/commentary/the-five-lies-you-already-believe-about-the-title-ix-complaint-against-uconn-1.3101505 – .UnMTahaGHy8

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October 13-19 Weekly News Round Up

A round up of current news stories on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

On last Friday, two sexual assaults were reported at UConn. The two female victims were led off into the woods near a party on Hunting Lodge Road by two men, where one man raped one of the women and the second man “attempted to engage in non-consensual sexual contact” with the other woman.

During an October 7th concert for UConn’s Homecoming Week, students erupted in cheers when a rapper from the group Timeflies mentioned the “rape trail” in a rap that incorporated elements of UConn culture. The “rape trail” is a wooded path that connects the UConn campus and several off-campus apartment complexes. Student sexual assault prevention advocates have promoted calling the path “Celeron Trail,” but the unfortunate nickname still holds. Sexual assaults have happened on and near the trail, making the name even more appalling.

East Haven, Connecticut has met the deadlines for reforms imposed on the city after a U.S. Department of Justice investigation found that the police department was discriminating against Latinos. Deliberations began this week in a case against two East Haven police officers accused of profiling Latinos. Meanwhile, Hispanic police officers in Bridgeport have accused their assistant police chief of not taking action when a criminal justice professor used racial slurs in a training session.

National attention has shifted to Maryville, Missouri, after a teenage girl went public with the story of her sexual assault and the subsequent persecution her family faced at the hands of the town. In January of 2012, two older high school boys raped 14-year old Daisy Coleman and her thirteen-year old friend, yet prosecutors dropped the case despite the existence of a recording of the attack. The case is already being called the “next Steubenville.”

Colorado will have a “personhood” amendment on the ballot in 2014, thanks to the efforts of anti-choice group Personhood Colorado. Personhood measures seek to define fetuses as people at all stages of development in order to outlaw abortion. Anti-choice groups have attempted to push personhood bills in other states, but fortunately none have succeeded. What personhood advocates conveniently decline to mention is that these amendments hurt not only women who want to have an abortion, but also infringe on the rights of women carrying wanted pregnancies to term. For example, if a pregnant woman becomes ill and needs to have a medical procedure that would harm her fetus, doctors could refuse to provide treatment because the fetus and its incubator – sorry, mother – would have the same legal status.

While the government has reopened, Congress will face another budget deadline in just a few months, meaning that birth control coverage could potentially be on the chopping block once again.

In New Haven on Tuesday, activists protested the decision to relocate female inmates from a federal prison in Danbury. CT Senators Murphy and Blumenthal are still attempting to stop the move, which critics say would harm women by taking them away from their families. Although our current criminal justice system seems to have forgotten, the goal of incarceration is not just punishment, but rehabilitation. Removing what may be prisoners’ only connections to the outside world is not conducive to that goal.

An update on Connecticut’s healthcare exchange, Access Health CT, which opened October 1.

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September 23-29 Weekly News Round Up

A round up of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

At a rally in Hamden, CT politicians and advocates for greater worker protections drew attention to how CT can improve its current laws. While CT was ahead of other states in passing family medical leave, many workers still can’t afford to take advantage of leave that is unpaid. Representative Rosa DeLauro spoke at the event and advocated for a federal paid sick leave bill.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz  “filibustered” the Senate vote on a House spending bill that would also have defunded the Affordable Care Act. Democrats and  some Republicans saw Cruz’s antics as having more to do with gaining personal publicity than the legislation at hand. Congress must pass a spending bill to continue funding the government and avoid a looming October 1 shutdown, but the Senate predictably rejected the House version that would defund the Affordable Care Act.

This Tuesday is the big day for the Affordable Care Act, as the state healthcare exchanges, one of the core pieces of the legislation, open in all 50 states. How smoothly the exchanges operate and how many people enroll will be a huge factor in judging the success of the Affordable Care Act. You can find information on CT’s exchange, Access Health CT, here.

A Connecticut task force created after the Newtown shooting is responsible for making recommendations on how to improve mental health services in the state. Figuring out how to better address mental illness is something that all states should be devoting greater energy to. However, one issue I do have is that addressing mental health as part of a response to Newtown reinforces the stereotype that the mentally ill are prone to violent behavior, ironically enabling the stigma the taskforce is trying to prevent.  Most mass shooters are not mentally ill, and to my knowledge there is still no evidence indicating that the Newtown shooter suffered from mental illness.

John Olsen, president of the CT AFL-CIO, stepped down earlier this week with a farewell speech that warned against threats to labor even in liberal states such as Connecticut. Governor Malloy was present to voice his support for organized labor. The new president, Lori Pelletier, will be the first openly gay woman to lead a US state labor federation.

Governor Malloy has issued an executive order that will make it easier for veterans to transfer their military experience into college credit.

State government officials, including Governor Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen, are objecting to changes in federal tribal recognition standards proposed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The concern is that the changes, which would relax current standards, would allow for the recognition of several additional tribes in Connecticut, entitling them to land and the right to open casinos. The clear stance of CT officials regarding the changes has led Indian news outlets to accuse state officials of being anti-Indian.

Women’s groups in Texas have filed a lawsuit against the new anti-abortion provisions in the legislation that was famously filibustered by Wendy Davis, who is running for Texas Governor. Hopefully, the suit will stop implementation of provisions that have the potential to shutter several Texas abortion clinics. The law will otherwise go into effect October 29.

Finally, what would a roundup be without a good dose of righteous outrage? The chairman of Barilla Pasta went on a radio show and decided it would be the perfect opportunity to discuss why he would never have a gay family in their advertisements. Seriously? Obviously anti-gay sentiment has not gone anywhere, but at least most public figures have figured out that no one wants to hear about their homophobia. And must we drag poor pasta, in all its carb-laden goodness, into this?

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September 16-22 Weekly News Round Up

A round up of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

New US Census Bureau data shows a widening gap between the rich and the poor, with unemployment rates for the lowest group of earners at 21 percent. Connecticut is no stranger to income inequality, particularly in Fairfield County.

CT Attorney General George Jepsen is pushing for legislation that would require healthcare providers to notify patients upfront about hospital facility fees. As more doctors’ offices are acquired by hospitals, some unsuspecting patients have been billed thousands of dollars in hospital facility fees for medical procedures.

Implementation of the state healthcare exchange as part of the Affordable Care Act is making strides in CT, but lags behind in other states. A large part of the difficulty is that many states have opted not to run their own exchange, making the federal government responsible for implementation in those states.

The House of Representatives voted to cut 4 billion dollars a year from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps). California representative Jackie Speier made an unconventional and epic argument against the cuts, which included bringing steak, vodka, and caviar to the House floor. Speier chided representatives who oppose SNAP yet eat lavish business meals around the globe on someone else’s dime.

In an effort to get more men involved in reproductive justice advocacy, NARAL celebrated “Men for Choice” day Wednesday.

The Supreme Court is likely to rule on whether the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act impinges on the First Amendment rights of business owners.

CT parents have filed a complaint against the Hartford school system after their daughter went on a field trip where students participated in a re-enactment of slavery and were subject to racial epithets.

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September 9-15 Weekly News Round Up

Weekly News Round Up

 A roundup of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

Southern Connecticut State University students held a protest Tuesday against alleged university mishandling of a sexual misconduct case. Two years ago, the university concluded that Professor David Chevan had violated school sexual harassment policies after a student came forward with claims that he trapped her in a storage room and made sexual advances. Chevan was suspended for two weeks, but remains on campus and has not suffered any university disciplinary action beyond the suspension. While Chevan’s lawyer denies the allegations, the take-away here is that SCSU found Chevan guilty of serious misconduct and continues to employ him. This is not a question of he-said, she-said, but a failure to appropriately discipline a staff member found to be at fault.

Connecticut is using a unique approach to encourage enrollment in the state healthcare exchange, which opens in October. Outreach workers have been going to beaches, concerts, and other local events to market the exchange to residents. Connecticut’s investment is a smart one, as the more people enroll, the more successful the exchange will be. The exchange is targeted at the uninsured as well as people paying too much for their current insurance, and will offer substantial subsidies to offset costs.

NAACP leader Ben Jealous is stepping down as the organization’s President and CEO. Over at RH Reality Check, is it time for a black feminist NAACP president?.

Debate over the constitutionality of an Ohio abortion law is headed to the Supreme Court. The law requires doctors to follow FDA protocol for prescribing Mifeprex, the medication (sometimes referred to as the “abortion pill”) taken for a medical abortion. While following FDA protocol sounds innocuous enough, the Slate article linked above explains how this actually requires doctors to administer the medication in a manner that’s less safe for patients, making the law a blatant attempt to undermine women’s reproductive options.

India has sentenced 4 men convicted in a New Delhi gang rape and murder to death by hanging. The rape and murder of the 23-year old victim sparked outrage in India over the frequency of sexual assault and the government’s failure to address sexual violence.

In a recent study of 6 Asian countries (Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea), 1 in 4 men admitted to committing rape.  The study highlights the widespread nature of sexual violence, and the need for proactive solutions addressing rape culture. A necessary reminder: While it’s easy to let outrage over sexual violence in other countries placate us about the state of affairs in the US, our “developed” nation is far from perfect in regards to this issue.

Speaking of which, members of the Peace Corps currently do not have access to abortion coverage in cases of sexual assault. Other federal employees, including members of the military, already receive this coverage.  The Peace Corps Equity Act was introduced in the Senate earlier this year to correct this glaring oversight. To be sexually assaulted while doing your job is traumatic enough without having to worry about the consequences of an unintended pregnancy. You can sign a petition in support of the Peace Corps Equity Act here.

A report on the performance of Hartford students shows that that students attending magnet or suburban schools outperform their peers who remain in Hartford Public Schools. The initiative to desegregate schools is a result of a 1996 Supreme Court Case, and CT is still shy of its required integration benchmark. While it’s hard to deny that integration is beneficial (for urban and suburban students, I would argue), the bigger question is how to best achieve it.

A report by Connecticut Voices for Children found that arrests in CT schools declined over a three-year period, but many students are still being arrested for minor school violations. While schools should take legitimate safety concerns seriously, it makes little sense to criminalize children for non-threatening disciplinary issues. There is also a striking racial disparity in rates of arrests.

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September 2-8 Weekly News Round Up

 Weekly News Round Up

 A roundup of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

The Washington Post has pulled off a remarkable feat, running not one, but two, victim blaming, rape apologist columns in under a week. You can read both at your own risk, but both columns essentially blame girls, not women but girls, for their own rapes. Both articles are resoundingly idiotic, desperate attempts at relevancy by the people who penned them. That makes the larger question, why would the Washington Post publish them in the first place? My best guess is the titillation factor. Discussing something “taboo” like rape is seen as edgy and attention grabbing. Rape is not a scandal; it is a crime and should be covered as such.

The percentage of Connecticut households experiencing food insecurity has risen, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture. Cited reasons for the increase, which is at odds with national trends, include CT’s high unemployment rate and food deserts. The current situation will only worsen if the federal government decides to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps).

A Connecticut pilot program requiring perpetrators of domestic violence to wear GPS ankle bracelets has proved effective since its launch in 2010. Legislators are considering making it a statewide program.

Teen birth rates dropped to their lowest numbers yet last year. Researchers are crediting more effective birth control methods, such as the IUD, for the decline. Let’s take this moment to reflect on the awesomeness that is the IUD – no upkeep, low risk, and virtually foolproof. It’s definitely an option that should be recommended to more young women.

In honor of their 20th anniversary the National Network of Abortion Funds has launched Abortion Access Month 2013. They will be promoting discussions on barriers to abortion access throughout the month. You can use the hashtag #access13 to follow the conversation on Twitter.

A collective of Texas reproductive health centers is mapping the crisis pregnancy centers in the state, as well as the abortion facilities expected to remain open by September 2014.  Several clinics are expected to close by that date, when restrictive new anti-choice laws take effect. The current tally stands at 108 crisis pregnancy centers versus 6 abortion clinics. In making abortion clinics scarcer, the new laws also increase the risk that women will turn to crisis pregnancy centers, which are religiously funded organizations that offer inaccurate medical advice to scare women out of seeking abortions.

Under direction from Attorney General Eric Holder, the Department of Veteran Affairs will no longer enforce a law that denies spousal benefits to same-sex couples. A Norwich veteran will continue with the lawsuit she filed against the VA after she and her same-sex spouse were denied benefits. While federal orders such as Holder’s can be reversed, the suit would force a definitive ruling on the law’s constitutionality.

The city of San Antonio has passed an ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Opponents of the bill claimed that it would be a violation of free speech and lead to the persecution of Christians. Seriously. Newsflash for the bigots of San Antonio, free speech is not a blanket defense for treating someone like dirt.

CT Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal are in disagreement about the use of air strikes on Syria. Blumenthal supports the strikes, while Murphy has voiced his opposition throughout the debates over Syria.

If you haven’t seen this already, it should definitely brighten your day. Aziz Ansari, a comedian most well known for his role as “Tom” on Parks and Recreation, gives a smashing takedown of racist and homophobic jokes after sitting through one too many as a presenter at Comedy Central’s roast of James Franco. Watch the video here.

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August 25 – September 1 Weekly News Round Up

 Weekly News Round Up 

A roundup of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

The big news this week was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, which forced the nation to reflect on how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go. Read the full transcript of Obama’s speech at the commemoration here. Some criticized the celebrations for reflecting too much on the past instead of the work still to be done, especially after several young organizers were cut from the roster of speakers.

California’s senate has passed legislation that would increase the number of abortion providers by allowing nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants to perform the procedure. While conservatives argue that this puts women at a greater risk, abortion is a very low-risk procedure, and nurse practitioners are already performing abortions in Oregon, Montana, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Connecticut has approved regulations for medical marijuana that will allow for the opening of marijuana dispensaries. Much of the debate over regulations focused on fears of a potential federal government response. That argument is now moot, as the Justice Department announced Thursday that it will not interfere with state decisions to legalize marijuana.

Fast food workers in Hartford walked off the job Thursday for a one-day strike protesting low wages. Unions and the Connecticut Working Families Party supported the strike, one of many happening around the country on Thursday. The workers are asking for a $15/hour wage. It’s not news that the minimum wage, which the majority of these workers make, has fallen well behind the cost of living. Conversations about what compensation minimum wage workers “deserve” often provoke incredibly frustrating but predictable indignation from folks who argue that such “menial” labor isn’t deserving of higher wages. My rule: if you haven’t worked a minimum wage service job in the last decade, take a back seat.

In light of the fast food strikes, the director of Connecticut’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women makes a case for why economic security is a women’s issue (and I would add, a feminist issue as well).

The US is changing its process for recognizing Native American tribes, which may directly affect tribes here in Connecticut.

A giant WTF?! to Montana, where a teacher convicted of raping a 14-year old student will serve only 30 days in jail. The judge decided that the girl was equally responsible for the “situation.” Horrifying.

Connecticut representatives want Obama to get congressional approval before taking action in Syria.

This thought-provoking piece on the Miley Cyrus VMAs debacle is the most brilliant thing I’ve read this week. It’s a little less news and a little more reflection, but it’s well worth your time.

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August 18-25 Weekly News Round Up

Weekly News Round Up 

A roundup of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

An Oklahoma judge has blocked a law that would require women under 17 to have a prescription to purchase Plan B, the emergency contraceptive commonly referred to as the morning-after pill. As Oklahoma demonstrates, even though Plan B has finally become available over the counter, there’s a still a lot of work to be done before the medication is truly accessible.

NARAL California has released its report from their two-year long undercover investigation of crisis pregnancy centers. One the many terrifying stats from the report is that 70% of CPCs told women that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer.

Another CT NOW blogger has already laid out the issue with most media reactions to Chelsea Manning expressing her desire to transition from male to female. But the most horrific response to date is the much talked about Daily Beast article which dismisses prison rape entirely, and has the audacity to claim that being gay or trans* in prison is a walk in the park (definite trigger warning for rape apologism and transphobia).  Prison Culture discusses the actual reality of prison rape, and gives some suggestions for how you can let the Daily Beast know their actions are unacceptable.

Connecticut legislators will vote next week on whether to approve regulations for medical marijuana. While CT has already passed a law that will allow for people with debilitating diseases to use marijuana and for marijuana dispensaries to set up shop, regulations still need to be approved to govern the implementation of the new law.

Federal budget cuts will mean that fewer CT children from low-income families will be able to enroll in preschool this year. There is already a large disparity in early childhood education, as children from higher income families are much more likely to attend preschool. It also means that many working parents will have to find another form of childcare, which isn’t cheap.

An influx of state money will allow UConn to hire more faculty and tackle new construction projects on campus. Almost all of the new faculty will be in the STEM fields, but President Herbst claims that coming changes will benefit the humanities as well. As a former UConn humanities student who often tired of the continual special attention STEM received (I get that STEM is important, it’s just not everything!) I remain skeptical.

CT has passed new laws meant to provide greater protection to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. One part of the legislation attempts to relieve the financial burden on victims by forcing the offender to provide temporary financial assistance. This addresses the fact that many women are unable to leave an abusive relationship because their abuser controls the finances. However, while the intent is good, I wonder how many women will reject this option out of fear of further angering their abuser.

The CT NAACP is considering a class-action lawsuit against local hospitals after survey results showed that area hospitals employ very low percentages of African Americans as doctors, nurses, and contractors, as well as have few African American members on their boards of directors.

Hilary Clinton will visit CT in October to deliver an address at her alma mater, Yale Law School. I once ate mini-muffins left over from a batch Hilary Clinton had been served, so I basically know her.

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August 4-11 Weekly News Round Up

Weekly News Roundup

A roundup of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

Connecticut has approved insurance rates for its healthcare exchange, Access Health CT. Enrollment in the exchange will begin in October, and is part of the Affordable Care Act.  Created with uninsured or underinsured individuals, families, or small business owners in mind, the exchange is expected to offer insurance at more affordable rates than previously available.

Another much discussed benefit of the Affordable Care Act is no co-pays on birth control. If you’ve already benefited from this change, continue on your merry, protected way! But if you’re wondering why your plan has yet to get with it, Jezebel has you covered.

While the Affordable Care Act brings many improvements to healthcare for women, these benefits are not available to undocumented women and immigration reform could actually worsen the situation.  Failing to address healthcare for undocumented immigrants leaves a gaping hole in a healthcare plan that seeks to reduce healthcare costs by insuring more people.

The federal government is planning to transfer inmates at a women’s prison in Danbury, Connecticut to a prison in Alabama. A group of senators, including CT Senator Chris Murphy, have questioned the transfer. They rightly point out that the move would unfairly punish the women and their families.

Bei Bei Shuai, an Indiana woman charged with murder and incarcerated for attempting to commit suicide while pregnant, has finally seen the end of her legal struggles. Shuai’s case is a tragic but illuminating example of the persecution pregnant women will continue to face when our laws value fetuses over women.

 NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has released audio recordings from their undercover investigations into Virginia crisis pregnancy centers (commonly called CPCs). This is not the first time CPCs have been exposed for what they are – religiously funded organizations masquerading as medical centers that use scare tactics to keep young, pregnant women from accessing all of their medical options. However, NARAL managed to record such an impressive array of misinformation and outright lies (right wing conspiracies about condoms ahead!) that it’s worth a listen. More background info on CPCs here.

The Dream Defenders, a group of protesters occupying the Florida capitol in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, have yet to go home. Now, they’ve announced a massive voter drive meant to counteract Governor Rick Scott’s voter purge.

To end on a lighter note, watch this badass Texas woman refuse to back down after being told breastfeeding her infant in a recreation center is inappropriate. I could delve into all the reasons why this is so wrong (I mean, a rec center? Those are made for families!), but this fierce mother has it under control.

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