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Washington May Be First State to Pass Abortion Insurance Mandate

Washington May Be First State to Pass Abortion Insurance Mandate

The Washington state Senate is considering legislation that would mandate abortion insurance coverage. The recently proposed Reproductive Parity Act would require all insurance companies providing maternity care to also pay for abortions. Earlier this month, the bill passed the state House with a vote of 53-43. However, support in the Senate is less certain. Melanie...
BREAKING NEWS: ND Legislature Passes Personhood Measure

BREAKING NEWS: ND Legislature Passes Personhood Measure

Today the North Dakota state legislature passed a measure that would amend the state Constitution to define life as starting as conception, granting full personhood to fertilized eggs. The state House approved the measure in vote of 57-35. The state Senate already approved the measure in February. The measure now goes before North Dakota voters....
Ryan Budget Passes House, Killed in Senate

Ryan Budget Passes House, Killed in Senate

Yesterday the devastating Ryan Budget for 2014 was passed on a party line vote of 221-207 in the House of Representatives. Later that day it was solidly defeated in the Senate in a vote of 40-59. The Ryan budget would repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which prohibits insurance companies from classifying being a woman as a pre-existing medical condition...
48 States Slash Higher Education Funding To Avoid Tax Increases

48 States Slash Higher Education Funding To Avoid Tax Increases

According to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, all but two states in the U.S. are contributing less funds towards higher education than they did before the recession hit. Except for North Dakota and Wyoming, each state now contributes about 28% less funding per university student than they did before 2008. Arizona and New Hampshire have...
Amendments to Ryan Budget Defeated

Amendments to Ryan Budget Defeated

Yesterday debate continued on the Ryan Budget in the U.S. House of Representatives. Five separate amendments to alter the Ryan Budget (House Concurrent Resolution 25 [PDF]) were overwhelmingly defeated. The most significant counter to the Ryan Budget was the official House Democratic budget, proposed by ranking member of the Budget Committee Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Van...
TX Senate Panel Passes TRAP Bill

TX Senate Panel Passes TRAP Bill

A Texas senate committee has passed a TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) bill that would require abortion clinics in the state to meet strict operating standards that could potentially close many of Texas’s abortion providers. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed SB 537 on a vote of five to two. Similar TRAP laws threaten...
Federal Judge Overturns Missouri Birth Control Law

Federal Judge Overturns Missouri Birth Control Law

On Monday, a federal judge overturned a Missouri law that would allow employers to deny contraceptive coverage for their employees. U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it violated the Affordable Care Act. Judge Fleissig determined that, according to the U.S. Constitution, federal law takes precedent over state laws when there is...
Philippine Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Birth Control Law

Philippine Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Birth Control Law

The Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood Bill to allow for the opposition to present arguments against the law. The bill would provide access to state-funded contraception and would provide it free of charge to those who cannot afford to pay. Requirements for comprehensive sex and family planning...
Hillary Clinton Officially Announces Support for Same-Sex Marriage

Hillary Clinton Officially Announces Support for Same-Sex Marriage

On Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially announced her support for same-sex marriage rights. In the past, Clinton has supported civil unions and domestic partnerships, but did go so far as to say that she supported marriage equality. In a video by the Human Rights Campaign, Clinton spoke of her changed views: “America is at its...
HERvotes Blog Carnival: #StandUpforWomen! Defeat the Ryan Budget

HERvotes Blog Carnival: #StandUpforWomen! Defeat the Ryan Budget

by Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation and KristinRowe-Finkbeiner, MomsRising.org Tomorrow the House of Representatives will vote on the Ryan Budget.  It is devastating to women’s advancement and to programs that women want and need.  It is the budget that women overwhelming voted against in the 2012 election with a decisive gender gap.  HERvotes, with its...
ND Passes Six Week Abortion Ban

ND Passes Six Week Abortion Ban

Today the North Dakota state Senate approved two bills that together would form the strictest abortion ban in the nation. Now they go to North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple (R) for his signature. The state Senate voted to approve a measure that would ban abortion when a heartbeat is detected. With a transvaginal ultrasound, a heartbeat can...
Steubenville Trial Begins

Steubenville Trial Begins

Yesterday, both sides made opening statements in the case of two high school football players accused of raping a 16 year old classmate in Steubenville, Ohio. The judge will continue to hear arguments and witness testimonies today in a non-jury trial. Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter has argued that the victim was too intoxicated to consent, while the defense...
Senate Democrats Announce Budget Proposal

Senate Democrats Announce Budget Proposal

In response to a budget proposed by House Republicans, Senate Democrats announced their own budget proposal for 2014. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, released a proposal that combines spending cuts with increased tax revenue, an aspect missing from Representative Paul Ryan’s proposal. The Murray budget seeks to close tax loopholes for the...
Archbishop of Buenos Aires Elected as Pope

Archbishop of Buenos Aires Elected as Pope

Yesterday Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected to replace Pope Benedict XVI. After two days of discussion, the conclave announced that they had selected Cardinal Bergoglio to lead the Catholic Church and assume the name Pope Francis. He is the first Latin American pope, as well as the first Pope selected from...
AZ Ban on Mexican American Studies Ruled Constitutional

AZ Ban on Mexican American Studies Ruled Constitutional

On Friday a federal judge ruled that a 2010 law banning Mexican American studies in Tuscon, Arizona, is constitutional. Federal Judge Wallace Tashima of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appealsdetermined that the plaintiffs failed to prove that the law was too broad or violated student first amendment rights. Only one part of the law was struck...
Idaho "Fetal Pain" Bill Struck Down By Federal Court

Idaho “Fetal Pain” Bill Struck Down By Federal Court

On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that an Idaho law banning abortion after 20 weeks is unconstitutional because it places an undue burden on a woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy before viability. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill wrote in his opinion, “the Idaho Legislature’s enactment of the [fetal pain law] in light of this...
UN Affirms Commitment to Ending Violence Against Women

UN Affirms Commitment to Ending Violence Against Women

  On Monday, the 57th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women began in New York. The two-week long convention discusses the current problems facing women and girls around the world and what the international community can do in response. The primary goal of the commission is to eliminate violence against women and girls. Deputy Secretary-General...
AR Legislature Passes Toughest Abortion Ban in the US

AR Legislature Passes Toughest Abortion Ban in the US

Yesterday, the Arkansas state legislature voted to override Governor Beebe’s veto of the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, which bans abortion after a heartbeat can be detected with a standard ultrasound (usually 12 weeks). While the bill does include exemptions for rape, incest, severe fetal abnormality, and to save the life of the mother, the bill is the...
President Obama to Sign VAWA Today

President Obama to Sign VAWA Today

President Obama will sign the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law today. The ceremony will take place at Interior Department. After over 500 days without congressional reauthorization, the House approved an inclusive, bipartisan VAWAas passed by the Senate on February 28. The reauthorization includes expanded protections for students, LGBT individuals, immigrants, and Native Americans. Eleanor Smeal, President...
Lieutenant General Overturns Service Member's Rape Conviction

Lieutenant General Overturns Service Member’s Rape Conviction

On Monday, Lieutenant General Craig Franklin overturned the rape conviction of an air force service member who was found guilty by a jury. Franklin claims there was not sufficient evidence that the woman had been raped. The Air Force fighter pilot was convicted in November for aggravated sexual assault by a jury of four colonels and a...