New Year Weekly News Round Up: December 30-January 5

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

By Tess Koenigsmark

On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted an injunction to several religious organizations, temporarily exempting them from the birth control mandate that they argue violates their religious liberties. While frustrating, this isn’t a major concern yet, as the injunction is temporary and only applies to a handful of organizations. Justice Sotomayor can elect to decide the case herself or refer it to the Court. On Friday, the Obama administration responded in defense of the birth control mandate, asking the Court not to extend the injunction.

Connecticut’s minimum wage increased from $8.25 per hour to $8.70 per hour on Wednesday, and supporters hope that the wage hike will help lift many people out of poverty. Unfortunately, CT’s minimum wage is still not a living wage, and several other states have higher minimum wages than CT. For a liberal state with a high cost of living, it seems like we could still do better. Oh, and economists agree that a higher minimum wage would reduce poverty, so there’s that.

How will the Affordable Care Act affect healthcare in CT in 2014?

Senator Chris Murphy and juvenile justice advocates are opposing Connecticut’s decision to create a new locked facility for girls. Advocates argue that these facilities become self-fulfilling prophecies; once they’re built, their existence tends to justify their continued use.

Insurance company UnitedHealthcare is being sued by two Connecticut medical associations for dropping a large number of physicians from its Medicare Advantage network. State officials are supporting the medical associations, voicing concerns over how the move would impact healthcare access for the elderly and other vulnerable populations.

A woman in Texas is being kept alive on life support against both her own previously expressed wishes and those of her family solely because she is pregnant. Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she was brought to the hospital unconscious after collapsing in her home. Texas law prohibits taking pregnant women off of life support regardless of their wishes, cruelly extending the agony and suffering of Munoz’s family. Even worse, many other states have the same law on the books as Texas.

The Nation reflects on “The Year in Feminism”

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