Weekly News Round Up

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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 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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