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7/17/2014 - Federal Judge Finds California Death Penalty Unconstitutional
A federal judge ruled California's death penalty unconstitutional, finding that the sentence "serves no penological purpose." US District Judge Cormac J....

7/16/2014 - New Federal Guidelines On Pregnancy Discrimination Align with Pregnancy Discrimination Act
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its pregnancy discrimination guidelines this week for the first time in over 30 years....

7/16/2014 - Lower Court Upholds Affirmative Action at University of Texas at Austin
Affirmative action survived a federal appellate court in Texas on Tuesday....

7/16/2014 - Church of England Votes to Allow Women Bishops
The General Synod, the decision-making body of the Church of England, voted Monday to allow women to become bishops....

7/15/2014 - Financial Disparities Between Tipped and Full-Wage Workers Larger Than Ever
A new study shows that the wage gap between tipped and non-tipped workers is the widest it's ever been in American history. 1966 amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) created protections to hotel, restaurant and other service employees, but also created a sub-wage for tipped workers with the expectation that an employee's tips, when added to the sub-wage, would match or exceed the minimum wage....

7/14/2014 - Study Shows High Rates of Child Marriage and Maternal Death Across Nigeria
The Nigerian Demographic Health Survey of 2013 (NDHS) revealed persistently high child marriage rates and a need for increased family planning resources in Nigeria. Nigeria accounts for 13 percent of global maternal death rates, with 36,000 women dying in pregnancy or child birth each year....

7/14/2014 - Massachusetts Lawmakers Work to Restore Protections for Abortion Clinics Following McCullen
The state of Massachusetts is expected to soon push legislation providing greater protections to reproductive health clinics following the Supreme Court's ruling in McCullen v....

7/11/2014 - Revenge Rape in India Leads to Three Arrests
A man in eastern India was arrested for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl this week in "retaliation" for the girl's brother having allegedly sexually assaulted a woman. Three people were arrested in connection with the event: the alleged rapist, the brother of the girl (charged with molestation), and a member of the village council accused of ordering the crime....

7/11/2014 - Tennessee Mom Arrested Under New Pregnancy Outcome Law
A Tennessee woman was arrested Tuesday under a new state law that criminalizes drug dependent mothers. The Tennessee measure, signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam in April, prohibits "the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if [the] child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug." The new mother was arrested and charged with simple assault just two days after giving birth....

7/10/2014 - Georgia Law Banning Insurance Coverage of Abortions Goes Into Effect
A new law just took effect in Georgia that bans coverage of abortion in health plans purchased in the state health insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)....

7/9/2014 - LGBT Rights Groups Withdraw Support for ENDA Following Hobby Lobby Decision
In light of the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, several LGBT rights groups have withdrawn their support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) citing increased concerns about the religious exemption included in the bill. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund on Tuesday was the first LGBT rights organization to withdraw its support ENDA on the grounds that the religious exemption, like the ACA exemption and accommodation for contraceptive coverage, might "be used as a similar license to discriminate across the country."The American Civil Liberties Union, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Transgender Law Center subsequently withdrew their support....

7/9/2014 - Congressional Leaders Speak Out Against TPP, Citing Human Rights Concerns
Rep....

7/8/2014 - Democrats to Introduce Bill Reversing Hobby Lobby Decision
Democrats in the House and Senate are expected to introduce companion bills today to reverse the US Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v....

7/8/2014 - Pope Begs Forgiveness of Sexual Abuse Survivors, But Survivors Want Action
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called on Pope Francis yesterday to take "tangible steps" to prevent widespread sexual abuse by clergy members instead of asking for forgiveness from victims. Yesterday Pope Francis met with six people who were sexually abused by clergy members as children to ask for their forgiveness....

7/8/2014 - One in Four Americans Live in High-Poverty Areas
One in four Americans lived in a high-poverty area in 2012, according to Changes in Areas with Concentrated Poverty: 2000 to 2010, a recently released report that analyzes data from the United States Census Bureau and the American Community Survey. The 77 million Americans who live in poverty areas - defined as an area where over one-fifth of the residents earn incomes below the current poverty line of $23,600 for a family of four - is a significant increase from the 18 percent recorded by the Census Bureau in 2000....

7/8/2014 - Missouri Governor Vetoes 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon last week vetoed a 3-day waiting period for abortions and issued a fiery response to state lawmakers who signed off on the measure....

7/7/2014 - Delaware Law Would Protect Pregnant Employees From Discrimination
The Delaware House of Representatives last week followed the Delaware Senate in passing a bill to protect pregnant workers from discrimination....

7/7/2014 - North Carolina College Students Join Challenge to Voter ID Laws
North Carolina college students are joining the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the US Department of Justice in a challenge to restrictive state voting laws that they argue violate the 26th Amendment....

7/7/2014 - SCOTUS Decision On Wheaton College May Expand Hobby Lobby
In an unsigned order issued on Thursday, a majority of the US Supreme Court granted a temporary emergency injunction to Wheaton College, a Christian college in Illinois, ruling that the school does not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA)contraceptive coverage benefit, prompting a severe rebuke from the three women Justices. The decision comes on the heels of the Court's 5-4 decision in Burwell v....

7/3/2014 - SCOTUS Will Hear Pregnancy Discrimination Case Next Term
The US Supreme Court will decide next term whether the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) requires an employer to provide workplace accommodations to pregnant employees if that employer also provides comparable accommodations to non-pregnant employees who become temporarily unable to perform their jobs without the accommodation. The case - Young v....

7/2/2014 - Supreme Court Ruling in Harris v Quinn May Reduce Power of Unions
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that certain public sector employees who benefit from a labor union's representation will no longer have to pay union fees. According to the decision in Harris v....

7/2/2014 - Restrictive Abortion Laws in Mississippi and Florida Take Effect
Laws restricting access to abortion went into effect in Mississippi and Florida yesterday. Mississippi law now bans abortion 20 weeks after a woman's last menstrual period, about 18 weeks gestation -beforefetal viability....

7/2/2014 - Iraqi Women Face Reproductive Health Care Shortage During Crisis
The United Nations warned this week that due to the escalating crisis in the northern and western parts of the country, about 250,000 Iraqi women and girls - including almost 60,000 pregnant women - need urgent health care as soon as possible. Recent violence in Iraq has displaced approximately one million people, overwhelming health facilities in parts of the country....

7/2/2014 - US Supreme Court upholds California gay conversion therapy ban
The US Supreme Court ruled Monday that "gay conversion therapy," which aims to change the sexual orientation of children under the age of 18, is within a state's right to regulate and can therefore be banned....

7/1/2014 - Hobby Lobby Decision Values Corporations Over Women
The US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 along rigid gender and ideological lines that "closely-held" corporations could not be required to provide health insurance coverage for methods of contraception that violate the corporation'ssincerely held religious beliefs -- preventing employees who work for these companies from accessing certain FDA-approved contraceptives. In a statement issued by the Feminist Majority Foundation, President Eleanor Smeal said the decision "not only deprives women of comprehensive healthcare, but it sets a terrifying standard in affirming the 'personhood' of corporations." Though the Court did not provide a definition of a "closely held" corporation (there are multiple state definitions), the Wall Street Journal reports that roughly 90 percent of all companies in the US are "closely held," and according to a 2009 NYU research study, roughly half of all private sector employees work for such corporations....