February 4, 2013 — "Fifty-five percent of women ... voted for President Barack Obama this past November," and "[n]ow, as President Obama's second term begins, every women's group seems to have a to-do list for the 113th Congress," Laura Flanders writes in The Nation.
A number of the groups' priorities pertain to women's health. "Hopes are high that, early on, Congress will pass an inclusive, updated Violence Against Women Act with protections for immigrants, Native Americans and LGBTQ people," Flanders writes. She adds that women's groups "would also like to see a reversal of the administration's refusal to grant unrestricted over-the-counter status to the 'emergency contraceptive' Plan B, as well as a once-and-for-all repudiation of the Bush-era 'conscience clause,' which allows healthcare providers (including pharmacists) to deny women contraceptives at will."
Ending the Hyde Amendment would be "the single move that would make a significant difference for the most women because female poverty is up," Flanders continues, stating that at least "200,000 women every year ... seek financial help paying for 'choice.'"
Flanders also outlines women's groups' hopes for legislation to ensure fairness and expand protections for women in the workplace. For example, the National Partnership for Women & Families is leading a coalition to push for passage of the Healthy Families Act -- which would allow workers up to seven paid sick days annually -- and updates to the Family and Medical Leave Act that would allow unpaid leave for small-business employees and workers who are caring for an extended family member (Flanders, The Nation, 1/30).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership