Analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has shown that the Republicans’ proposal to replace Obamacare, which plans to defund Planned Parenthood, would result in thousands of additional births since women would be denied services that allow them to avoid pregnancy. The proposed plan to exclude the women’s health organization from the Medicaid program would, the CBO suggested, have the greatest impact on low-income areas and communities, leaving some 15 percent of people in that demographic without access to contraception services.
According to its latest annual report, Planned Parenthood provided more than 300,000 abortions and nearly three million contraception services in 2015, with more than half of its centers serving rural or medically underprivileged areas. It currently serves 2.5 million men and women nationally, providing reproductive and other health care services, including abortions.
While the planned cuts in these services would reduce federal spending on Medicaid by an estimated $178 million during 2017, the CBO has suggested that these savings will be at least partly offset by the increase in births. Medicaid already finances roughly 45 percent of all U.S. births and it is likely that the majority of these new babies would qualify for the the federally funded program.
In response to this latest budget analysis, Dana Singiser, Planned Parenthood’s vice president for public policy and governmental relations, issued a statement saying that the proposal “reaffirms what we already know: the provision to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood would have disastrous consequences and result in women losing access to care, especially services that help women prevent unintended pregnancies.”
Anti-choice advocates on the other hand have attempted to discredit the analysis, suggesting it of minimal value and urging Planned Parenthood to be defunded imminently. “Planned Parenthood should be defunded because its business is based upon killing unborn children. Beyond any and all other reasons, defunding should take place for this reason,” Tom Glessner, president of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, an umbrella group of 1,400 of these centers, said in a statement.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.
The European Court of Justice on Tuesday ruled in favor of European businesses and their right to require employees refrain from wearing any visible item perceived as having religious or political associations. While in theory the court’s decision will be applied to all forms of personal expression in the workplace falling within those categories, critics of the decision claim that the ruling is simply a guise for legalized discrimination aimed particularly, if not expressly, at Muslim women.
The ECJ’s decision comes on the heels of a case brought by two Muslim women whose jobs were terminated for refusing to remove their headscarves at their employer’s request. The ladies — Asma Bougnaoui, a former design engineer working for Micropole in France and Samira Achbita, a receptionist in the Belgian branch of the security firm G4S — claimed that even though their professional conduct had been exemplary, they had suffered discrimination because of their choice to wear a hijab on the job. Referred by their national courts to the ECJ in Luxembourg, Europe’s highest court decided that “the rule thus treats all employees to the undertaking in the same way, notably by requiring them, generally and without any differentiation, to dress neutrally.”
While the distinction was made that no customer had the right to request an employee remove a headscarf or other religious paraphernalia, the company could choose to do so at its discretion.
Several institutions including the Open Society Justice Initiative and CCIF, a French organization that works to combat Islamophobia, have expressed concern that the ban has the potential to economically handicap Europeans in the workforce who would feel pressured to compromise their religious values in order to secure a job. Decisions like those of the court, instead of leveling the playing field, only feed the current tensions in society. Others, such as The Conference of European Rabbis, were worried that the ruling could be seen as part of a larger message that communities of faith in Europe can expect to be increasingly marginalized in the years to come.
Despite so much controversy, many see the decision as a victory for secular European Society.
Ready the full story at The Guardian.
Producer Lukasz Gottwald, also known as “Dr. Luke,” is trying to subpoena a fan of Kesha in his ongoing legal battle with the pop star.
According to Billboard, Dr. Luke and his lawyers seek to question Michael Eisele, who runs the @KeshaToday Twitter account. Court papers allege that Eisele “closely coordinated” with Kesha to “spread defamatory statements and tarnish Plaintiff’s reputation.”
The “defamatory statements” in question concern Kesha’s much-publicized allegations that Dr. Luke sexually and verbally abused her. In 2014, Kesha sued the producer, seeking to void all contracts between them — contracts that prohibited her from recording new music with other labels. In February of last year, a New York Court denied Kesha’s injunction against Dr. Luke.
While the case was ongoing, fans of the pop star launched the so-called #FreeKesha campaign. They protested outside the New York courthouse where the case was heard, and established a petition to void the business relationship between Kesha and Dr. Luke. Now, court papers allege that Kesha assisted “Mr. Eisele in creating bogus Internet ‘petitions’ and engaging in other tactics to pressure Sony Music Entertainment to terminate its business with Plaintiffs.”
Eisele, the document maintains, “has information that is material and necessary to the prosecution of this action.”
Read more at Billboard.
Vladimir Krull, a former NYPD officer who was convicted of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl, was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday.
According to The New York Times, Krull was convicted of eight criminal counts that occurred over three different encounters with the girl, who was the daughter of Krull’s girlfriend. The jury found Krull guilty of having sexual relations with the girl twice, and of demanding oral sex from her after a father-daughter breakfast at her school.
Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence the defendant to 15 years in prison. In total, Krull was sentenced to four three-year sentences and four one-year sentences, but these will be served concurrently. Krull will also be placed on five years of post-release supervision.
The victim, who is now 16, said that the abuse has been “hard” on her relationship with her mother. “I still struggle with the feeling that I betrayed her, and I feel guilty sometimes,” she said.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
In 2012, documentary-filmmaker and self-described liberal Julie Winokur was frustrated by the political landscape in America. (Little did she know of what was to come.) She detested “Republican obstructionism,” according to The Washington Post, and wasn’t particularly interested in hearing any argument coming from the right.
One day, Winokur’s 17-year-old son leveled with his mother, telling her that she was “the most politically intolerant person” he knew.
Realizing that the teen was onto something, Winokur decided to try and fix her own attitude — and alleviate the bitter partisanship that so often plagues American politics while she was at it. She traveled across the country with a little card table, which she used to hold calm, respectful conversations with people from all walks of life. Some of them shared Winokur’s political ideologies, others decidedly did not. She chronicled these conversations in a documentary film titled Bring It to the Table.
Since the 2016 election, Winokur has been getting invitations to speak at college campuses across the country. She brings her card table, and teaches students to engage in non-confrontational discourse. Honest conversation, she told the Post, is the “citizens’ antidote to politicians.”
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Read the full story at The Washington Post.
Acclaimed feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has found herself in the midst of a complex debate about the place of transgender women within the feminist movement.
According to The Washington Post, Adichie was being interviewed by Channel 4 in the U.K. when she was asked: “If you’re a trans woman who grew up identifying as a man, who grew up enjoying the privileges of being a man, does that take away from becoming a woman? Are you any less of a real woman?”
“So when people talk about, you know, ‘Are trans women women?’ — my feeling is trans women are trans women,” Adichie replied, drawing a line between trans and cisgendered women. Trans women, she went on to say, have presented as male and therefore enjoyed the privileges that society affords to men — regardless of what their gender identity might be.
“It’s about the way the world treats us,” she added, “and I think if you’ve lived in the world as a man with the privileges that the world accords to men and then sort of change gender, it’s difficult for me to accept that then we can equate your experience with the experience of a woman who has lived from the beginning as a woman and who has not been accorded those privileges that men are.”
Her comments have raised thorny questions about struggle, privilege, and what it means to be a woman. According to The Guardian, many trans activists took to Twitter to argue that Adichie fundamentally misunderstands the trans experience.
“I’m not sure a difference in genitalia would give you the privilege pass,” Twitter user @enenicolea wrote, for example. “Trans women embody womanhood and femininity from birth too.” Some called Adichie transphobic.
Actress Laverne Cox, without mentioning Adichie, said that she has never felt much in the way of privilege while growing up as a feminine boy. “The irony of my life is prior to transition I was called a girl and after I am often called a man,” she wrote on Twitter.
Rattled by the backlash, Adichie sought to clarify her comments in a lengthy Facebook post. “I see how my saying that we should not conflate the gender experiences of trans women with that of women born female could appear as if I was suggesting that one experience is more important than the other,” she wrote. “Or that the experiences of trans women are less valid than those of women born female. I do not think so at all — I know that trans women can be vulnerable in ways that women born female are not. This, again, is a reason to not deny the differences.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and other remarkable women will be appearing at our 8th Annual Women in the World New York Summit, taking place April 5-7. Tickets available now.
Read more at The Washington Post.