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Jan 27 – Feb 2 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

Last Tuesday the House of Representatives passed HR7, or the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion bill. The bill would bar insurance plans sold through the healthcare exchanges from providing abortion coverage, and ban abortion coverage for servicewomen. It will never pass in the Senate, making it yet another opportunity for House GOP members to say angry things about abortion instead of focusing on real problems. The great response from pro-choice members of Congress was the only thing that kept this story from being entirely depressing.

In the wake of Title IX complaints at the University of Connecticut, lawmakers are proposing legislation to improve how Connecticut colleges and universities handle sexual assaults.

While progressives may not have gotten everything they wanted from Obama’s State of the Union address (*coughs* reproductive rights), we can all agree that it was pretty awesome to hear the president speak about pay inequality and workplace policies that disadvantage women. “It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode,” may have been the most quotable line of the evening.

Additionally, check out the Connecticut delegation’s guests to the State of the Union. Good choices all around.

A Connecticut woman has filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after the senior living center she works for denied her wife health benefits. Although same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, it’s not in Tennessee, where Brookdale Senior Living is based. This rationalization is still being used by many employers to deny same-sex spouses benefits, although it’s certainly a less credible argument since the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in June. Not to mention, it seems like a pretty bad PR move for a health care company to deny its employees health benefits. *Update*

As more hospitals consider becoming for-profit institutions, Connecticut legislators want to tighten regulations for changes to hospital ownership.

The National Women’s Law Center has filed complaints with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Health and Human Services against four health insurance companies that they claim are charging women more than men for the same coverage. Known as “gender rating”, the practice was outlawed by the Affordable Care Act.

Dylan Farrow has written an open letter in the New York Times addressing how her adoptive father, Woody Allen, sexually abused her as a child. This is important, and you should read it.

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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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