Tag Archives: Womens Rights

Justice Department Sues Idaho to Protect Reproductive Rights

Complaint Alleges Idaho Law Violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act
 

Protesting for reproductive rights © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit to protect the rights of patients to access emergency medical care guaranteed by federal law. The suit challenges Idaho Code § 18-622 (§ 18-622), which is set to go into effect on Aug. 25 and imposes a near-total ban on abortion.

The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that § 18-622 conflicts with, and is preempted by, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) in situations where an abortion is necessary stabilizing treatment for an emergency medical condition. The United States also seeks an order permanently enjoining the Idaho law to the extent it conflicts with EMTALA.

“On the day Roe and Casey were overturned, we promised that the Justice Department would work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.  “That is what we are doing, and that is what we will continue to do. We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that pregnant women get the emergency medical treatment to which they are entitled under federal law. And we will closely scrutinize state abortion laws to ensure that they comply with federal law.” 

“Federal law is clear: patients have the right to stabilizing hospital emergency room care no matter where they live,” said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Women should not have to be near death to get care. The Department of Health and Human Services will continue its work with the Department of Justice to enforce federal law protecting access to health care, including abortions.”

“One critical focus of the Reproductive Rights Task Force has been assessing the fast-changing landscape of state laws and evaluating potential legal responses to infringements on federal protections,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “Today’s lawsuit against the State of Idaho for its near-absolute abortion ban is the first public example of this work in action. We know that these are frightening and uncertain times for pregnant women and their providers, and the Justice Department, through the Task Force’s work, is committed to doing everything we can to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services.”

EMTALA requires hospitals that receive federal Medicare funds to provide necessary stabilizing treatment to patients who arrive at their emergency departments while experiencing a medical emergency. When a physician reasonably determines that the necessary stabilizing treatment is an abortion, state law cannot prohibit the provision of that care. The statute defines necessary stabilizing treatment to include all treatment needed to ensure that a patient will not have her health placed in serious jeopardy, have her bodily functions seriously impaired, or suffer serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

As explained in the complaint, once § 18-622 enters into effect in Idaho, a prosecutor can indict, arrest and prosecute a physician merely by showing that an abortion has been performed, without regard to the circumstances. A physician who provides an abortion in Idaho can ultimately avoid criminal liability only by establishing as an affirmative defense that “the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman” or that, before performing the abortion, the pregnant patient (or, in some circumstances, their parent or guardian) reported an “act of rape or incest” against the patient to a specified agency and provided a copy of the report to the physician. The law provides no defense for an abortion necessary to protect the health of the pregnant patient. 

Idaho’s criminal prohibition of all abortions, subject only to the statute’s two limited affirmative defenses, directly conflicts with EMTALA and stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment of EMTALA’s federal objectives of providing stabilizing care and treatment to anyone who needs it. The Justice Department is committed to protecting access to reproductive services. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, the Justice Department established the Reproductive Rights Task Force, chaired by Associate Attorney General Gupta. The Task Force is charged with protecting access to reproductive freedom under federal law. For additional information on the work of the Task Force visit www.justice.gov/reproductive-rights.

Biden Administration’s DoJ, HHS Work to Protect Reproductive Freedom Under Federal Law

Long Islanders react to Supreme Court overturning Roe’s constitutional protections of reproductive freedom. The Biden Administration is setting up a task force within the Justice Department to insure rights are protected, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is issuing guidance to roughly 60,000 U.S. retail pharmacies, reminding them of their obligations under federal civil rights laws. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Justice Department Announces Reproductive Rights Task Force

The Task Force Formalizes the Department’s Ongoing Work to Protect Reproductive Freedom Under Federal Law

The Justice Department announced today the establishment of the Reproductive Rights Task Force. The Task Force formalizes an existing working group and efforts by the Department over the last several months to identify ways to protect access to reproductive health care in anticipation of the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta will chair the Task Force, which will consist of representatives from the Department’s Civil Division, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney community, Office of the Solicitor General, Office for Access to Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Policy, Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of the Associate Attorney General, Office of the Deputy Attorney General and Office of the Attorney General and will be supported by dedicated staff.

“As Attorney General Garland has said, the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision is a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States,” said Associate Attorney General Gupta. “The Court abandoned 50 years of precedent and took away the constitutional right to abortion, preventing women all over the country from being able to make critical decisions about our bodies, our health, and our futures. The Justice Department is committed to protecting access to reproductive services.”

The Task Force will monitor and evaluate all state and local legislation and enforcement actions that threaten to:

  • Infringe on federal legal protections relating to the provision or pursuit of reproductive care;
  • Impair women’s ability to seek reproductive care in states where it is legal;
  • Impair individuals’ ability to inform and counsel each other about the reproductive care that is available in other states;
  • Ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy; or
  • Impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who provide reproductive health services in a manner authorized by federal law.

The Task Force will identify such actions and coordinate appropriate federal government responses, including proactive and defensive legal action where appropriate. The Task Force will work with agencies across the federal government to support their work on issues relating to reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare. 

The Justice Department is working with external stakeholders such as reproductive services providers, advocates and state attorneys general. The Task Force will continue this important effort. It will also work with the Office of Counsel to the President to convene a meeting of private pro bono attorneys, bar associations and public interest organizations in order to encourage lawyers to represent and assist patients, providers and third parties lawfully seeking reproductive health services throughout the country. In order to assist attorneys working to protect access to comprehensive reproductive health services, the Task Force will centralize online legal resources, such as filed Justice Department legal briefs and information about the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

Recognizing that the best way to protect reproductive freedom is through congressional action, the Task Force will also coordinate providing technical assistance to Congress in connection with federal legislation to codify reproductive rights and ensure access to comprehensive reproductive services. It will also coordinate the provision of technical assistance concerning Federal constitutional protections to states seeking to afford legal protection to out-of-state patients and providers who offer legal reproductive healthcare.

HHS Issues Guidance to the Nation’s Retail Pharmacies Clarifying Their Obligations to Ensure Access to Comprehensive Reproductive Health Care Services
 

Today, following President Biden’s Executive Order on ensuring access to reproductive health care, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is issuing guidance to roughly 60,000 U.S. retail pharmacies, reminding them of their obligations under federal civil rights laws. The guidance makes clear that as recipients of federal financial assistance, including Medicare and Medicaid payments, pharmacies are prohibited under law from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in their programs and activities. This includes supplying prescribed medications; making determinations regarding the suitability of prescribed medications for a patient; and advising a patient about prescribed medications and how to take them.  The action is the latest step in the HHS’ response to protect reproductive health care.

“We are committed to ensuring that everyone can access health care, free of discrimination,” said Secretary Becerra. “This includes access to prescription medications for reproductive health and other types of care.”

Under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (Section 1557), 42 U.S.C. 18116, recipients of federal financial assistance cannot exclude an individual from participation in, denying them the benefits of, or otherwise subjecting them to discrimination based on sex and other bases (i.e., race, color, national origin, age, and disability) in their programs and activities. Under federal civil rights law, pregnancy discrimination includes discrimination based on current pregnancy, past pregnancy, potential or intended pregnancy, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Read the guidance here: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pharmacies-guidance.pdf.

HHS is committed to ensuring that people can access reproductive health care, free from discrimination. If you believe that your or another person’s civil rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with HHS at: https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/complaints/index.html.

Below are a list of actions HHS has taken in the days following the Supreme Court’s ruling to ensure access to reproductive health care:

  • Launched the ReproductiveRights.gov public awareness website, which includes a know-your-rights patient fact sheet;
  • Convened a meeting with health insurers, and sent them a letter, calling on the industry to commit to meeting their obligations to provide coverage for contraceptive services at no cost as required by the Affordable Care Act; 
  • Issued guidance to patients and providers that addresses the extent to which federal law and regulations protect individuals’ private medical information when it comes to seeking abortion and other forms of reproductive health care, as well as when it comes to using health information apps on smartphones;
  • Announced nearly $3 million in new funding to bolster training and technical assistance for the nationwide network of Title X family planning providers; 
  • Met with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, and Maine Governor Janet Mills and state attorneys general to discuss state-specific concerns;
  • Issued guidance on the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) reaffirming that it protects providers when offering legally-mandated, life- or health-saving abortion services in emergency situations.

Biden Announces Actions In Light of SCOTUS Decision to Overturn Roe v Wade

Protester at a rally at the Nassau County Courthouse, Long Island, New York, hours after the Supreme Court announced its ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and with it, women’s reproductive freedom – one of hundreds across the country. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

June 24, 2022


 FACT SHEET:
President Biden Announces Actions In Light of Today’s Supreme Court Decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

 

Today, President Biden announced actions that his Administration is taking to protect women who will face the grave consequences of today’s Supreme Court decision. This decision expressly took away a Constitutional right from the American people that it had recognized for nearly 50 years – a woman’s right to choose, free from government interference.

This decision will have devastating consequences in the lives of women around the country.

The President made clear that the only way to secure a woman’s right to choose is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe as federal law. Until then, he has announced two actions the Administration is taking to protect women.

Protecting the Right to Seek Medical Care

As the Attorney General made clear, women must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek the care they need.

A person has the right to travel between states for whatever reason they want – it is no one else’s business – especially the government’s. If a woman lives in a state that restricts abortion, the Supreme Court’s decision does not prevent her from traveling from her home to a state that allows it.

If any state or local official tries to interfere with women exercising this basic right, the Biden Administration will fight that deeply un-American attack.

Protecting Access to Medication

The President directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to protect women’s access to critical medications for reproductive health care that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration—including essential preventive health care like contraception and medication abortion.

More than 20 years ago, the FDA approved mifepristone to safely end an early pregnancy; this drug is also commonly used to treat miscarriages. The American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wrote to President Biden and Vice President Harris, asking the federal government to protect access to this care. In the face of threats from state officials saying they will try to ban or severely restrict access to medication for reproductive health care, the President directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to identify all ways to ensure that mifepristone is as widely accessible as possible in light of the FDA’s determination that the drug is safe and effective—including when prescribed through telehealth and sent by mail.

See: Abort the Court: Supremes Have Lost all Credibility, Authority, Legitimacy

On Equal Pay Day, Biden-Harris Administration Commit to Support Women’s Economic Security

On Equal Pay Day, the White House is announcing critical steps the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to advance pay equity and promote women’s economic security. President Biden and Vice President Harris have long championed equal pay as a cornerstone of their commitment to ensuring all people have a fair and equal opportunity to get ahead. New actions promote women’s employment and support working families across the country © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
 

This Equal Pay Day, the White House is announcing critical steps that the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to advance pay equity and promote women’s economic security.
 
President Biden and Vice President Harris have long championed equal pay as a cornerstone of their commitment to ensuring all people have a fair and equal opportunity to get ahead. Closing gender and racial wage gaps is essential to building an equitable economy and addressing the barriers that have long hampered women from fully participating in the labor force. But we still have work to do. In 2020, the average woman working full-time, year-round earned 83 cents for every dollar paid to their average male counterpart.  Compared with the average man working full-time, year-round, disparities are even greater for Black women, Native American women, and Latinas, as well as certain subpopulations of Asian women.
 
This Equal Pay Day, the Vice President is hosting a virtual summit, bringing together partners across the country who are taking critical steps to tackle pay discrimination, create good-paying jobs, and support families’ access to care.

Yesterday, the President published a proclamation on Equal Pay Day. The President stated “Equal pay is a matter of justice, fairness, and dignity — it is about living up to our values and who we are as a Nation.’  (Read and share the full proclamation here: A Proclamation on National Equal Pay Day, 2022 | The White House)

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions to promote women’s employment and support working families across the country. These actions will:
 
• Advance pay equity for the Federal workforce.  The Office of Personnel Management announced that they anticipate issuing a proposed regulation that will address the use of prior salary history in the hiring and pay-setting process for Federal employees, consistent with the President’s Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce.  Banning the use of prior salary history can help break the cycle of past arbitrary and potentially discriminatory pay that can follow women and workers of color from job to job, entrenching gender and racial pay gaps over time. 
 
• Promote efforts to achieve pay equity for job applicants and employees of Federal contractors. President Biden will sign an Executive Order directing the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to consider enhancing pay equity and transparency, including by limiting or prohibiting federal contractors from seeking and considering information about job applicants’ and employees’ existing or past compensation when making employment decisions, and appropriate accountability measures.  The Department of Labor will consult with the FAR Council on the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness in Federal contracting that would be promoted by potential regulatory changes, and the most effective implementation strategy for any subsequent rulemaking.
 
• Strengthen pay equity audits by Federal contractors. The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued a new directive clarifying federal contractors’ annual obligation to analyze their compensation practices.  Conducting these pay equity audits helps address and prevent pay disparities based on gender, race, or ethnicity.
 
• Ensure equitable access to good-paying jobs. The Department of Labor issued a report analyzing the impact that women’s concentration in low-wage sectors – and their relative underrepresentation in many good-paying occupations – has on their overall economic security and gender and racial wage gaps. The report finds that, in 2019, Black women lost $39.3 billion and Hispanic women lost $46.7 billion in wages compared to white men due to differences in industry and occupation. This segregation intensified the COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women, in part due to the overrepresentation of women in hard-hit industries such as hospitality.  
 
• Address discrimination against caregivers.  Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published technical assistance on caregiver discrimination, addressing the circumstances under which discrimination against applicants and employees based on pandemic-related caregiving responsibilities may violate federal employment discrimination laws.
 
The actions announced today build on steps the Administration has taken to advance pay equity, including:
 
• Provided immediate relief through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to millions of women who have borne the brunt of the pandemic.  This work includes: standing up a historic vaccination program that has fully vaccinated more than 215 million Americans; reopening schools; providing direct payments to individuals; expanding nutrition programs for families; providing paid leave tax credits for small and midsize employers; distributing the majority of emergency rental assistance to female-headed households; and expanding the Child Tax Credit, which last year helped reduce child poverty to its estimated lowest level in recorded American history.
 
• Helped keep child care providers open and boosted pay for child care workers. States have already delivered American Rescue Plan stabilization grants to more than 150,000 child care providers serving more than 5 million children and their families. One survey finds that 92% of providers receiving funds relied on them to help stay open and nearly half used them to repay debt incurred during the pandemic. Many states also used funds to help boost compensation of the child care workforce. For example, Minnesota is requiring providers to increase compensation, while North Carolina and Connecticut offered bonus payments to providers who increased compensation of the workforce. Increasing compensation for child care workers helps narrow gender and racial pay gaps, as more than nine in ten are women and more than four in ten are women of color. While ARP funds allowed child care programs to provide temporary bonuses, they need long-term funding as the President has proposed to sustainably increase wages.
 
• Provided tax relief to help families with child care costs during the pandemic by delivering a historic increase in the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) to support millions of working families this tax season. The ARP increased the maximum CDCTC for a median income family with two children under age 13 by more than sixtimes—providing up to $8,000 towards child care expenses in 2021. It will reimburse most families for up to half of their child care expenses. And the ARP CDCTC is fully-refundable, helping lower-income parents fully benefit regardless of their tax liability. Even before the pandemic, families struggled to afford child care, forcing parents and especially mothers to forego higher paying jobs, work fewer hours, or take time out of the workforce, leading to lower pay over their career. The President has urged Congress to pass his plan for child care, which could lower child care costs for nine in ten families with young children.
 
• Increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour for Federal workers and contractors, benefiting many women and people of color. The President issued Executive Orders directing the Administration to work toward ensuring that employees working on federal contracts and federal employees earned a $15 per hour minimum wage. Those directives went into effect in January, raising the wages of about 370,000 federal employees and employees of federal contractors. In addition to helping the government do its work more efficiently, these directives take a step towards narrowing racial and gender disparities in income, as many low-wage workers are women and people of color. The order also eliminates the subminimum wage for workers with disabilities. The President has called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, so that American workers can have a job that delivers dignity, and to make greater strides towards pay equity.
 
• Signed into law the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  Administration investments through this law will increase access to good-paying jobs, including for women, people of color, and members of other communities who are currently underrepresented in the sectors where these jobs will be created, such as transportation, clean energy, and broadband.  The Department of Transportation and the Department of Labor signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the creation of good infrastructure and transportation jobs with a focus on equitable workforce development using funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
 
• Issued an Executive Order to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across the federal government – the nation’s largest employer – including by prioritizing efforts to close gender and racial wage gaps, address workplace safety and harassment, including in our national security workforce, and advance equity for LGBTQI+ public servants.
 
• Issued an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. This established the Administration’s policy of addressing anticompetitive behavior in labor markets, which can fall heavily on women and workers of color. The Order includes specific initiatives to promote competition in labor markets, including encouraging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ban or limit non-compete agreements, and encouraging the FTC and the Department of Justice to strengthen antitrust guidance to prevent employers from collaborating to suppress wages or reduce benefits by sharing wage and benefit information with one another.

The White House Equal Pay Day Summit
Tuesday, March 15, 2022 | 3pm ET 
Watch live here:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/

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On Women’s Equality Day, Biden Draws Contrast to Trump Failure: ‘Now, it is up to us to carry forward the banner of equality’

Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for president, with running mate Senator Kamala Harris. On Women’s Equality Day, Biden is drawing strong contrast with Trump on policies he would propose to benefit women, including equal pay and health care (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In stark contrast to the hate-filled propaganda fest of the Republican National Convention, Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, has continued to address the important issues and unprecedented crises the nation is facing, some age-old, and others more immediate. Women’s Rights and the inequity in pay has lifelong and generational implications for women and families. On Women’s Equality Day, Biden, who sponsored the Violence Against Women Act and named Kamala Harris, his vice president, issued this statement and fact sheet drawing the contrast between Trump’s failures on women’s issues and how Biden would work for American women:

Today, on Women’s Equality Day, Jill and I join with all Americans in celebrating the long line of women who have reached out through history as fearless, ambitious trailblazers to deliver a better future for America’s daughters. From the suffragists, to the labor organizers, to the women who continue to lead the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment, and from the glass-ceiling breakers to the women in every workplace who have to fight twice as hard just to prove their basic dignity every single day, American women have pushed this country forward, one step at a time.
 
There can be no half measures when it comes to equality. That’s why we must keep working.100 years ago today, the final paperwork was signed, officially proclaiming the ratification of the 19th Amendment to our Constitution–and of the right of women to vote in the United States of America. It was a culmination of decades of struggle to achieve a Constitutional amendment on women’s suffrage, and a true milestone for our nation. But it was also only the beginning of a long, still unfinished march toward full equality for all women, especially for women of color who were still not guaranteed their right to vote until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and even longer for Latinas and Native American women.
 
Now, it is up to us to carry forward the banner of equality for the next generation–to build on the legacy of Shirley Chisholm and Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton to elect Kamala Harris as our next Vice President; to fully deliver on the promise of equal pay for equal work; to ensure women’s access to health care, eliminate health disparities, and protect women’s ability to make their own health care choices; and to end the scourge of violence against women.
 
It starts by voting this November. It starts by exercising that sacred American right, which so many have marched and suffered to secure.
 
We can do this. We can finally live up to our highest ideals–that all men, and women, are created equal. We can ensure that little girls and boys alike, of every race and background, know that in America, there is no limit on how high their dreams and their talents can carry them.

FACT SHEET:
Trump Has Failed American Women

President Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic has wiped out years of jobs gains for women, launching us into a she-cession with millions of women unemployed and worried about whether they will be able to feed their families and return to work. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted women of color and young women, with 1 in 7 Black women and Latina women and 1 in 5 young women unemployed and many women forced to work fewer hours than they need or would like. Even before the pandemic, President Trump has relentlessly worked against women’s interests. He has:
 
Persistently tried to rip away health care benefits and protections for millions of women. In the middle of a pandemic, Trump is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare, which would allow insurers to deny women coverage because of pregnancy or pre-existing conditions like cancer or diabetes, choose not to cover maternity care, stop young adults under 26 from staying on their parents’ plan, charge co-pays for recommended preventive services including contraception and mammograms, and charge women higher premiums just for being women — a practice which cost women $1 billion more than men annually. And, he has prevented organizations like Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X federal family planning funds.
 
Rolled back protections from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Trump revoked the Obama-Biden Administration’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order, which required that federal contractors comply with labor, wage and hour, family and medical leave, safety and health, civil rights, and other laws. He said women would make the same as men if they “do as good a job,” defended employers who pay mothers less than men and called pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers, and has taken steps backwards on closing the gender pay gap. The Obama-Biden Administration required medium and large employers to collect and disclose compensation information by race, gender, and ethnicity to the federal government so it had better insight into pay disparities and could better target enforcement. The Trump Administration only continued to collect this data at the order of a federal court, and has announced its intent to stop collecting pay data for future years.
 
Made college campuses less safe for women by shaming and silencing survivors of sexual assault. The Trump Administration’s Education Department — led by Betsy Devos — has rolled back Obama-Biden policies and given colleges a green light to ignore sexual violence and strip survivors of their civil rights under Title IX. Trump and DeVos have let colleges off the hook for protecting students by permitting them to choose to investigate only more extreme acts of violence and harassment and requiring them to investigate in a way that dissuades survivors from coming forward.
 
Disbanded the White House Council on Women and Girls. The Obama-Biden Administration created the White House Council on Women and Girls to make sure the federal government was doing its best to tackle issues like equal pay, paid family leave, and poverty in an effective manner. The Trump Administration then disbanded it and put nothing in its place.
 

Highlights: How Joe Will Work For American Women 

Women, and particularly women of color, have never had a fair shot to get ahead in this country. When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris build our country back better after this economic crisis — a crisis worsened by President Trump’s failure to get the virus under control — they will ensure we get closer to full inclusion of and equality for women. Highlights of Joe’s plans include:
 
Ensure women’s issues remain at the forefront of policy efforts. Biden will create a White House Council on Gender Equality, chaired by a senior member of the White House tasked solely with guiding and coordinating government policy that impacts women and girls, such as economic policy, health care, racial justice, gender-based violence, and foreign policy.
 
Improve women’s economic security. Joe will create millions of good paying jobs, pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and take other steps to achieve equal pay, take on workplace discrimination and harassment, and support women entrepreneurs.
 
Expand women’s access to health care. Joe stood with President Obama to pass Obamacare, which gave millions of women access to better, more affordable health care. Joe will protect and build on Obamacare to expand access and lower costs, including by offering all women the choice of a new public option. He’ll reduce the unacceptably high maternal mortality rate, which disproportionately affects Black and Native women, and he’ll ensure all women have access to the full scope of health care — including reproductive health care.
 
Help women navigate work and families. Joe has taken care of aging parents, and he’s been a single parent — he knows how hard it is to raise a family. As President, he will provide universal access to high quality preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds and ensure no low-income or middle class family with children under age 5 has to pay more than 7% of their income for child care. He will also enact legislation to provide 12 weeks paid family and medical leave, and require employers to provide up to seven days of paid sick, family, and safe leave.
 
Expand access to higher education and relieve student debt. Women, and primarily Black women, hold two-thirds of the nation’s student debt. Joe will provide access to community college without debt, make public colleges and universities tuition-free for families earning under $125,000, invest over $70 billion in HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions, and double Pell. He’ll also strengthen Public Service Loan Forgiveness and forgive undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from public colleges for people earning up to $125,000.
 
End violence against women. A driving force in Joe’s career has been fighting back against abuses of power. It motivated him to author the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Joe will keep getting things done for survivors of gender-based violence, starting by reauthorizing VAWA, keeping guns out of the hands of abusers, and expanding the safety net for survivors.
 
Dismantle systemic racism affecting women of color. Joe will be unflinching in confronting systemic racism, including by investing in trauma-informed prevention and treatment programs and services as alternatives to girls – disproportionately girls of color – being placed in detention.

Biden Marks International Women’s Day Reviewing Record for Promoting Gender Equality

On International Women’s Day, Vice President Joe Biden released a fact sheet detailing his record of working to advance gender equality at home and around the world, both as a Senator, notably championing the Violence Against Women Act (which Republicans have refused to renew) and as part of the Obama Administration which, as Obama’s first act, signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and promoted Obamacare which ended the hardship of being a woman counting as a “pre-existing condition”. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

On International Women’s Day, Vice President Joe Biden, running for president, released a fact sheet detailing his record of working to advance gender equality at home and around the world, both as a Senator, notably championing the Violence Against Women Act (which Republicans have refused to renew) and as part of the Obama Administration which, as Obama’s first act, signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and promoted Obamacare which ended the hardship of being a woman counting as a “pre-existing condition”. This is from the Biden campaign:

Joe Biden has a long track record of working to advance gender equality at home and around the world. As a Senator, Biden introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), which provided a framework for the United States to address gender-based violence globally. Though IVAWA never became law, the Obama-Biden administration used executive action to implement much of the bill and its comprehensive approach to gender-based violence.
 
The Obama-Biden Administration promoted the health, safety, and empowerment of women and girls around the world because it was both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. Women’s full participation in all spheres of society is fundamental to achieving global peace, development, and prosperity.  Twenty-five years ago this principle was agreed to by 189 countries in the Beijing Declaration, which set forth a platform for action to advance women’s rights globally. Unfortunately, today, as a result of the disastrous policies of the Trump Administration, women’s rights and their opportunities for full economic and political participation are under assault. 
 
Trump’s decision to reinstate and expand the global gag rule has had devastating effects on the health and well-being of women around the world, with fewer organizations providing critical healthcare; and his implementation of this rule here in the United States has cut funds to over 900 women’s health clinics that primarily serve women of color. Trump Administration policies have sought to cut funds for global efforts to improve child and maternal health and to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS. His Administration’s cruel immigration policies have rejected asylum claims for women fleeing horrific gender-based violence and made it much more difficult for foreign women and girls who were trafficked into the United States to obtain visas and receive the medical and social services they need to recover. He has watered down and threatened to veto UN Security Council resolutions that address sexual violence in conflict, making it far more difficult for the international community to hold the perpetrators of such violence accountable and ensure survivors have access to the health and support services they need.
 
As President, Joe Biden will restore America’s leading role as a champion for women and girls around the world and return to a government-wide focus of uplifting the rights of women and girls at home and around the world. He will do so by: 
 
Confronting Gender-Based Violence Globally. The scourge of violence against women affects global communities: An estimated 1 in 3 women are subject to physical violence, rape, or stalking by a partner at some point in their lives, with closer to 70% of women affected in some countries. Gender-based violence has profound economic costs for societies. It is a barrier to girls’ education, and inhibits women’s full participation in politics and the economy, holding back entire communities and countries.
 
As president, Joe Biden will expand his Violence Against Women Act of 1994 to the global landscape and restore U.S. leadership internationally by championing the fundamental human right that all women should live free from violence—a future the Violence Against Women Act helped make possible in the United States. President Biden will rescind the Mexico City Policy that President Trump reinstated and restore U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund, which advances child and maternal health, and works to end female genital mutilation and cuttingearly and forced marriage, and other practices detrimental to the well-being of women and girls. The Biden Administration will launch multi-sectoral efforts to confront gender-based violence globally, beginning in Central America, where women face some of the highest rates of femicide (the murder of women because of their gender) in the world. Biden will spearhead a comprehensive effort that places diplomatic pressure on governments to train law enforcement to root out the corruption that enables gender-based violence and teaches authorities to effectively investigate and prosecute these crimes. Moreover, he will ensure that women and girls fleeing gender-based violence are given the opportunity they deserve to seek asylum in the United States.
 
Elevating Women Economically. The Biden Administration will invest in women as economic catalysts for growth and development around the world, because we know that when we grow incomes and opportunity for women, entire communities, economies, and countries benefit.We forgo trillions of dollars in wealth globally because women aren’t fully empowered and employed, and that has negative consequences for the well-being of families and entire communities, because women invest a particularly large share of their income in the education and health of their families.  Alarmingly, women’s global economic participation and opportunity actually declined in the last year. Given the trends, it will take 257 years to achieve gender parity. Leaving one-half of the world’s population behind inhibits peace, prosperity, and security at home and abroad, and we must tackle the multifaceted barriers hindering the economic advancement of women and girls. We cannot help half the world’s population advance meaningfully without also addressing gender-limiting laws, policies, and norms, and we can’t do it alone, without working with other countries. 
 
Joe Biden will invest in critical areas to advance the status of women, and close gaps between the economic well-being of men and women, and boys and girls around the world. Specifically, the Biden Administration will increase access to education as a driver of empowerment and accumulation of wealth. Additionally, President Biden will focus on enhancing financially inclusive banking and increasing women’s access to capital, so that women have the resources they need to start and expand businesses. And President Biden will work with partners in countries and multilateral organizations to systematically tackle and eliminate legal and attitudinal barriers to equity and inclusion. . More broadly, Biden Administration efforts to advance development globally will pay particular attention to the often unique challenges faced by underrepresented communities around the world, including indigenous women, Afro-Latina women, and women in the LGBTQ community. The goal will be equality.
 
Promoting Women’s Contributions to Peace and Security. For 20 years, the international community has recognized the critical contributions women make to advancing peace and security, whether it’s recognizing the first signs of violent conflict in their communities, or helping to forge more durable peace agreements in the wake of conflicts. Yet women continue to be excluded from conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
 
President Biden will ensure that efforts to build a more peaceful and secure world include the talents of everyone, including women. In countries affected by war, terrorism, and insecurity, a Biden Administration will protect and advance women’s inclusion in decision-making roles, from negotiators to parliamentarians, from security actors to peaceful protestors. He will ensure full implementation of the United States’ 2017 law — based on the groundbreaking Obama-Biden Administration National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security — recognizing the security benefits of women’s participation. As president, Biden will revive the United States’ commitment to refugees and displaced persons, raising our refugee target to admit 125,000 annually to start, and he will require that programs supporting refugees recognize and address the specific challenges women and girls face, from targeted violence and trafficking to unequal access to basic services. He will champion multilateral efforts to end sexual violence in conflict in the UN Security Council and to hold perpetrators of such violence accountable, starting with ISIS. The Biden Administration will provide financial assistance and training for local and international efforts to document cases of ISIS-perpetrated sexual violence, urge the Iraqi government to prosecute ISIS prisoners for gender-based violence crimes, and support peacebuilding efforts in Iraq and elsewhere that promote women’s inclusion.To ensure all civilians are better protected in times of crisis, President Biden will work with the United Nations to improve peacekeeper performance and accountability, including by supporting the UN’s efforts to ensure peacekeepers are trained to prevent conflict-related sexual violence and are held accountable if they perpetrate sexual exploitation and abuse. 
 
Supporting Women’s Leadership Globally. Women’s political and civic leadership promotes equality and stability. When women are represented in parliaments, their participation is associated with a decreased risk of civil war and fewer human rights abuses. Around the world, women are more likely to advocate for policies on issues like education and health, which promote the well-being of everyone. Yet, only 4 out of 193 countries have at least 50 percent women in the national legislature. A Biden Administration will amplify and elevate the voices of authentic, local women leaders globally, creating an initiative to strengthen the influence of women-led civil society organizations in advancing women’s and girls’ well-being; combating gender-based violence; and promoting peace, security, and prosperity. Furthermore, recognizing the benefits to equality and stability when women are represented in political office, the Biden administration will break down barriers to women’s political empowerment, supporting civic education and leadership development for women and girls around the world.
 
Pursue Ratification for the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). For nearly 40 years, CEDAW has been the most important international vehicle for advancing gender equality. It is simply embarrassing that the United States has not ratified the convention. We are in the company of some of the most oppressive countries in the world, including Iran, Sudan, and Somalia. From the very beginning, the Obama-Biden Administration made ratifying this U.N. convention a priority. As president, Biden will continue to push the Senate to ratify this important treaty, so that we can better advance the rights of women and girls here at home and around the world.
 
Ensuring Gender Parity and Diversity in National Security Appointments. To keep our nation safe and effectively advance our national security interests, our government needs the best possible team of national security professionals. That means developing senior leadership teams that are diverse, by elevating more women into senior national security positions and ensuring that women of color are well represented in senior ranks. Women are underrepresented in our national security establishment, and throughout the federal government their levels of representation are decreasing4 of the 23 positions in Trump’s Cabinet are currently held by women. Joe Biden has pledged that, as president, he will “strive for gender parity in senior national security and foreign policy appointments.” 

Womens March on NYC Led by Womens March Alliance Draws Tens of Thousands

By Karen Rubin, News& Photo Features

Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019

Tens of thousands took to the streets of New York City on Saturday, January 19, 2019 for the third annual Women’s March organized by the Women’s March Alliance, calling for action on a Woman’s Agenda that encompasses everything from pay parity, paid parental leave and reproductive freedom, to immigration reform, gun violence prevention, climate action, criminal justice reform – in other words, the gamut of social, political, environmental and economic justice. (See also With Cry of ‘Your Voice Your Power,’ Alliance Mounts 3rd Annual Women’s March on NYC Jan. 19)

The marchers got particularly animated outside of Trump Tower Hotel on Central Park West, chanting “Shame, Shame, Shame,” extending a finger, and waving placards calling for “Indict, Impeach, Imprison.”

The protesters use their bodies as message boards. Here are highlights:

Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
New York City High School members of “NYC Great Girls” (Girls Reaching Every Apex Together), a leadership initiative of the NYC Department of Education, gather for the 2019 Women’s March NYC © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Alexandria OcasioCortez at 2019 NYC Women’s March © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Alexandria OcasioCortez at 2019 NYC Women’s March © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney with Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer at 2019 NYC Women’s March © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019
Women’s March on NYC organized by Womens March Alliance, Jan. 19, 2019

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© 2019 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin