Monthly Archives: December 2013

6 posts

December 22-29 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

Connecticut is now requiring that all health insurance companies in the state provide coverage for medical treatments that are part of a patient’s gender transition.  This is awesome news, since many transgender people can’t afford to pay for procedures such as hormone therapy or surgery out of pocket, and being denied medical treatment has a very real impact on the physical and mental health of transgender people.

It’s that time of year again – best/worst stuff that happened in the past year list time! (If anyone has a less clunky name for this phenomenon, I’m taking suggestions.) RH Reality Check discusses 2013’s best and worst moments for women’s economic status. Topics include the minimum wage, abortion restrictions, and domestic worker legislation.

A comedy about a woman who gets an abortion will be featured at the Sundance Film Festival. There’s a real dearth of representations of abortion in popular culture, and one portraying a woman who is A-OK with her decision is especially rare.

President Obama signed a defense bill on Thursday that includes changes meant to improve the military’s handling of sexual assault. For example, under the new law military commanders will no longer be able to overturn jury decisions. However, the law does not go as far as the proposed Military Justice Improvement Act, which would remove prosecution of sexual assault cases from the military chain of command. While these recent changes are progress, I’m still hoping 2014 sees reform beyond reversing rules that never should have existed in the first place.

The Connecticut legislature has made a number of suggestions to help the unemployed, including addressing bias that harms older unemployed workers.

Connecticut’s healthcare exchange saw a flurry of action right before the December 23 deadline to sign up for health coverage that will take effect January 1. In total, 62,153 people have signed up since the exchange opened. People can continue to sign up for health insurance through the exchange, but coverage will start at a later date.

Happy New Year!

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December 16-22 Weekly Round Up

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

By Tess Koenigsmark

Monday is the last day to sign up for health coverage that takes effect January 1 through Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT. The state is anticipating that the start of coverage under plans purchased through the exchange will be bumpy, but urges people to be patient as they work through any issues.

Additionally, a federal government decision regarding the purchase of “catastrophic” health insurance plans may also complicate Connecticut’s health insurance exchange.

Catholic hospitals are growing, and that’s bad news for women’s health and safety. Religious restrictions followed by Catholic hospitals mean that they do not provide contraception or abortion services, even if a woman’s health or life is in danger. Since not everyone has the luxury of choosing from an array of hospitals (and in an emergency “choice” isn’t really part of the equation), this is a severe threat to women’s ability to access quality health care.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA), which would remove disciplinary proceedings for sexual assault from the military chain of command, is expected to receive a vote when the Senate returns in January. It’s about time.

After becoming the subject of a federal investigation into how it handles sexual assault, Occidental College created an online system where sexual assault victims can anonymously report an assault. The reports are used to track trends, and are not the sole basis of any disciplinary proceedings. Sounds good so far, right? Well, this attempted improvement in tracking campus sexual assault enraged a very nasty corner of the internet known as  “men’s right’s activists” or MRAs, whom I prefer to call “organized misogynists”.  Working under the false and incredibly stupid assumption that men at Occidental would be arrested or dragged through disciplinary proceedings on the basis of anonymous reports, these lovely folks flooded the system with a barrage of false rape reports. Way to show those rape victims who’s in charge.

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December 8-15 Weekly Round Up

A (quick) round up this week of current news stories on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues. We’ll be back to our regular analysis next week.

By Tess Koenigsmark

“Trumbull High, RENT, and Why the Fight for LGBT Equality Didn’t Stop with Marriage”:

“Should Birth Control Sabotage Be Considered a Crime?”

“Michigan Passes Bill Requiring Women to Purchase ‘Rape Insurance’“

“New report serves as indictment of Border Patrol’s “systematic” display of abuse of power”

“New Act Proposes National Paid Family Leave Policy”

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Women The Best

Science confirmed today that women — particularly the Connecticut chapter of the National Organization of Women — are the best.

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Tyler Super Design

Can you believe it?!

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December 1-7 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

Anti-apartheid revolutionary and former South African president Nelson Mandela passed away on Thursday at the age of 95.  While our nation’s political leaders mourn his passing, it’s easy to forget that not a decade has passed since the US government branded Mandela a terrorist. ThinkProgress offers an interesting article on some of Mandela’s more radical (and, I think, most interesting) political views.

Republicans in Congress are proposing a budget that would end federal long-term unemployment benefits, which the White Houses says would affect 85,100 Connecticut residents. Connecticut Democrats  are fighting the cuts, standing with other Democrats who claim they will not accept a budget that eliminates the benefits.

On Thursday, fast food workers and supporters protested in cities across the country for higher wages. The protests, part of a movement demanding a $15 an hour wage for fast food workers, were planned for Connecticut as well. The lack of a living wage for fast food workers is an especially salient issue for women, who make up two thirds of the industry’s workers.

It’s unacceptable for UConn officials to receive substantial raises when the university’s tuition continues to rise.

A European company which produces a chemically identical drug to the morning-after pill (also know by the brand name Plan B) produced in the US is changing its labels to reflect that it is not effective on women who weigh over 176 pounds, and begins losing effectiveness in women over 165 pounds. As the FDA considers whether US manufacturers must change their labels, the news should serve as a reminder of the importance of diversity in medical research.

Homelessness has increased in the past year in Connecticut, even as homelessness nationwide decreased. Connecticut recently received $18 million in grants and loans to increase available affordable housing. Hunger also remains high in Connecticut, as highlighted at a symposium called “Rich States, Empty Plates” hosted by the organization End Hunger Connecticut!, which discussed potential long-term solutions for ending hunger.

Male GOP candidates are receiving lessons on how to talk to women. Oh man, what I would give to be a fly on the wall in that workshop!

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