Congress will be in session briefly in December, when there will be an opportunity to pass bills crucial for women’s rights.
A bill to address the growing birth control pricing crisis has been introduced in both the House and the Senate. Prices have skyrocketed, some up to $50/month, as a consequence of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. It included a little-noticed provision that prohibited the decades-old practice of pharmaceutical companies selling contraceptives to college clinics and clinics serving low-income women at deeply discounted rates.
The Fair Pay Restoration Act, a measure to correct the Supreme Court’s ruling in Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. which gutted Title VII pay discrimination protections for women workers, has already passed in the House. It is stalled in the Senate, but women’s rights and civil rights groups, including the Feminist Majority, are working to move this bill through the Senate despite the Republican threat to filibuster.
Negotiations between the House and Senate on this year’s Foreign Operations Appropriations bill are also crucial for feminist legislative priorities. The House and Senate versions of the bill differ in key wording regarding funding for programs that directly aid Afghan women and girls, as well as for the Independent Afghanistan Human Rights Committee, which monitors and investigates violations of women’s rights.
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