Archive for the ‘Legal’ Category

January 26, 2010

Juez le indica a la FDA que haga “Plan B” disponible sin prescripción a jóvenes de 17 años, y que considere remover todas las restricciones

Publicado por Rachel / del orginial en inglés: March 24, 2009

OBOS is committed to expanding our audience and in this spirit we’ve asked former board member Moises Russo to translate into Spanish several of our blog entries. We hope to translate more entries in the coming year.

En OBOS estamos comprometidos a expandir nuestra audiencia de lector@s  y en este espíritu le hemos solicitado a Moisés Russo, ex-miembro de la Junta de OBOS, que traduzca al español varios de los blogs que tenemos en la página electrónica. Esperamos continuar con dichas traducciones durante este año.

Buenas noticias vía The New York Times:

Un juez federal le ha ordenado a la Administración de Alimentos y Comida (FDA) el día lunes que haga la píldora anticonceptiva del día después “Plan B” disponible sin prescripción médica a mujeres jóvenes desde los 17 años de edad.

El juez falló que la agencia había cedido en forma inapropiada a presiones políticas de la administración Bush el 2006 cuando estableció el límite en los 18 años de edad.

La agencia tiene 30 días para cumplir con la orden, en la cual el juez también instó a la agencia a considerar remover todas las restricciones a las ventas de Plan B sin prescripción. El medicamento consiste en dos píldoras que previenen la concepción si son tomadas dentro de las primeras 72 horas luego de una relación sexual.*

Nancy Northup, Presidenta del Centro por los Derechos Reproductivos, el cual demando a la FDA en representación de organizaciones de mujeres e individuos, llamó el fallo del juez “una completa reivindicación del argumento que los defensores de los derechos reproductivos han estado haciendo por muchos años, que en administración Bush era la política, y no la ciencia, la que guiaba las decisiones en temas de salud de las mujeres.

Plan B” ha estado disponible en los Estados Unidos desde 1999, pero inicialmente solo con prescripción médica. Hubo que esperar hasta el 2006 para que la FDA aprobara las ventas sin prescripción médica a mujeres desde los 18 años de edad, lo cual significa que debe estar en stock detrás del mostrador en las farmacias y que las mujeres deben mostrar un comprobante de su edad. Esto lo hace difícil  para que algunas mujeres, incluyendo a inmigrantes sin documentos, puedan obtener las píldoras en forma fácil cuando las necesitan.

En su fallo de 52 páginas, el Juez Edgard R. Korman de la Corte del Distrito Federal en Nueva Cork concluyó que “no hay ningún propósito útil que esté siendo cautelado si se continúa la privación de acceso a Plan B a mujeres de 17 años sin prescripción médica”, y que “tanto los oficiales como personal de la FDA han estado de acuerdo en que mujeres de 17 años pueden usar “Plan B” en forma segura sin prescripción médica”.

Korman dijo que la decisión de la FDA “no fue el resultado de un proceso de toma de decisiones razonado y de buena fe dentro de la agencia”. El juez citó a oficiales de la FDA por comunicarse en forma impropia con oficiales de la Casa Blanca  sobre “Plan B” y llenar el panel de expertos a cargo de analizar el medicamento con personas que tienen visiones en contra del aborto. La FDA también ignoró las conclusiones sobre seguridad del medicamento a las que llegó de su propio panel asesor.

En un artículo publicado la semana pasada en el Huffington Post, Northrup resume el bizantino trayecto de la aplicación del estatus de venta sin prescripción a “Plan B”, y describe lo que se conoció durante el juicio:

Meses de testimonios en el caso federal han dejado al descubierto una red de engaños tras bambalinas, repleto de oficiales de alto nivel en la FDA doblegándose a influencias políticas externas, eludiendo las regulaciones de la agencia, para finalmente conspirar para otorgar solamente acceso restringido a “Plan B”.

Testimonios judiciales revelaron que un oficial confesó a uno de sus colegas que tuvo que rechazar la solicitud de “Plan B” por miedo a perder su empleo. Otro le dijo a un colega que el plan era que la agencia pospusiera cualquier decisión sobre el medicamento todo el tiempo que fuera posible y, si se vieran forzados a actuar, aprobar el medicamento con una restricción etaria, todo para “apaciguar a los votantes de la administración [Bush]”.

Susan Wood, la anterior directora de la FDA para asuntos de salud de las mujeres, que renunció el 2005 como protesta a las demoras en aprobar “Plan B”, le dijo al Times ahora hay una nueva oportunidad de “restaurar la integridad científica de la FDA”.

Además: ¿Necesitas información sobre Anticoncepción de emergencia, o si tu farmacia más cercana la tiene en stock? Revisa el “Sitio Web de Anticoncepción de Emergencia”, un recurso independiente, con revisión de pares administrado por la Oficina de Investigación sobre Población de la Universidad de Princeton y por la Asociación de Profesionales en Salud Sexual y Reproductiva.


January 24, 2010

In Honor of George Tiller: What Does “Trust Women” Mean to You?

This post was written in connection with the annual Blog for Choice Day, Friday, Jan. 22. Apologies for the delay!

This year marks the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the fifth anniversary of Blog for Choice Day, started by Jessica Valenti and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

NARAL is dedicating Blog for Choice 2010 to the legacy of Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered last May in his church foyer as he welcomed parishioners attending morning mass. Tiller provided abortions to women who often had no place else to turn and whose health, or the health of the fetus, was threatened.

Scott Roeder, 51, a vocal anti-abortion advocate, admitted in November that he killed Tiller, and he claims the killing was justified. Roeder’s first-degree murder trial started on Friday — yes, Roe v. Wade’s anniversary. You can follow the trial coverage at http://www.kansas.com/news/tiller/index.html.

Tiller was the focus of anti-abortion groups for years; he had survived previous attempts on his life, including being shot in 1993. Committed to his work, he sometimes wore a button that said, simply, “Trust Women.”

This year’s blog question, “What does ‘Trust Women’ mean to you?” can be answered with an equally simple response: Everything.

If the world learned to trust women, women would not only control their bodies but would control their lives.

If the world learned to trust women, women would be welcomed into power structures, affecting every legal, political, social and economic arena.

If the world learned to trust women, women — and especially men — would no longer fear living outside of stereotypes and would be able fulfill their potential.

Trust Women isn’t just a mantra of tolerance or respect. It’s a phrase that changes the playing field, in every way imaginable.

It’s the right phrase to advocate for women making their own reproductive health choices, and it’s a much broader statement about our future.

For more reflections, check out Feministing’s Blog for Choice Round-Up, which includes this excellent post by fellow OBOS blogger Rachel Walden, and feel free to add your own responses in the comments.

More Suggested Reading …

- “Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us” by Carol Joffe
I just started reading this new, well-researched book and will write more on it soon.

- “Who Decides? The Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States
This is NARAL’s 19th annual report on current state and federal laws. A summary of the victories and setbacks are listed below.

Progress
In 2009, 14 states and Washington, D.C. enacted 21 pro-choice measures. Examples include:

- Wisconsin enacted a law that requires health-insurance plans that provide prescription-medication benefits to cover contraceptives and required pharmacists to fill valid birth-control prescriptions.

- Hawaii, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Washington enacted laws that improve sex education in schools.

- Utah and D.C. enacted laws to ensure that sexual-assault survivors receive information about and access to emergency contraception in emergency rooms.

Setbacks
In 2009, 14 states enacted 29 anti-choice measures, increasing the number of anti-choice measures enacted in states since 1995 to 610. Examples include:

- Virginia enacted a law that establishes “Choose Life” license plates. A portion of the proceeds from these plates funds anti-choice organizations known as “crisis pregnancy centers” that target women considering abortion and often mislead, coerce and intimidate them.

- Arizona enacted a far-reaching law that includes a litany of anti-choice provisions that, among other things, subject women to state-mandated lectures and waiting periods that delay access to abortion care. The law also allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide abortion services and to refuse to provide or dispense contraceptives.

Watch
Grit TV with Laura Flanders
This episode includes a discussion with Carol Joffe, author of “Dispatches from the Abortion Wars,” Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, and Silvia Henriquez, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Learn about the current state of reproductive health and rights and how anti-abortion efforts — whether through legislation or terrorism — hurt all pregnant women.

Listen
PRX: “Hyde-ing” the Right to Choose
While lawmakers in Washington mull over the nuts and bolts of health care reform, advocates are concerned that a woman’s fundamental right to reproductive health services is endangered. We explore how access has been denied for decades to young women and poor or low-income women who are disproportionately women of color. On this edition, Stupak, the Hyde Amendment, and religion.

Featuring:
Stephanie Poggi, Executive Director, National Network of Abortion Funds
Jenny, shares her story about having an abortion
Jon O’Brien, Catholics for Choice President
Guadalupe Rodriguez, ACCESS/Women’s Health Rights Coalition Program & Public Policy Director


November 25, 2009

Courts Find in Favor of Women Claiming Prempro Caused Breast Cancer

Courts in Philadephia recently ruled in favor of two plaintiffs who sued Pfizer because they believed their breast cancer was caused by taking Prempro, an estrogen plus progestin combined hormone replacement therapy (formerly sold by Wyeth).

More than $100 million was awarded by juries between those two cases, although news reports indicate that Pfizer will appeal and damages awarded are likely to be reduced; a Pfizer spokesperson said the company does not believe the verdicts “were supported by the evidence or the law.” About 10,000 similar cases are apparently pending at this time.

In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative study was released results indicating that women taking estrogen plus progestin hormone replacement (such as Prempro) were more likely to develop breast cancer than women taking placebo, and their cancers were more likely to be more advanced. The trial was stopped early that year after it became clear to investigators that the risks of combination hormone therapy outweighed the reported benefits.

As a result of WHI findings, in 2003 the FDA required the addition of a black box warning to the drug’s label to state that estrogen and estrogen plus progestin therapies should not be used for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, and to warn of increased risks of myocardial infarction, stroke, invasive breast cancer, pulmonary emboli, and deep vein thrombosis in postmenopausal women taking the estrogen/progestin combo.


July 13, 2009

Political Diagnosis: Global Gag Rule; Update on Conscience Clause; New Violence Against Women Advisor; The Last Word on Sarah Palin? …

Supreme Court Decisions and You: The National Women’s Law Center has released an analysis of 2008-2009 Supreme Court decisions that have a direct effect on women’s lives. Here’s the report (pdf); more discussion at the NWLC blog, Womenstake:

In Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee, the Supreme Court safeguarded women’s and girls’ rights by allowing them to pursue remedies for gender discrimination in schools under both Title IX and the Constitution. In Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, the Court ruled that employees are protected from being subject to retaliation for cooperating with an employer’s internal investigation of discrimination. “The Court’s decisions in these two cases kept hard-won protections in place,” [NWLC Co-President Marcia] Greenberger said.

But not all outcomes were positive:

“In AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen, the Supreme Court ignored the realities of the workplace and the intent of Congress and ruled against female workers,” Greenberger said. As Justice Ginsburg noted in a strong dissent in the case, the Court’s decision permitted AT&T to pay women lower pension benefits for the rest of their lives.

Gag on Global Gag Rule: Ever since President Ronald Reagan instituted the “global gag rule” in 1984, its existence has been dependent on which party is in the White House. If it’s a Democrat, it’s revoked; if it’s Republican, it’s reinstated. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 17-10 to approve an amendment to a Department of State and foreign affairs appropriations bill that would make permanent President Obama’s reversal of the global gag rule. Emily Douglas has more.

The global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City policy (the site of the United Nations International Conference on Population where it was first announced), prohibits international family planning groups that receive U.S. aid from offering abortion services or providing information about safe abortion, even if they use other funding. It would be great to see it gone, for good.

New NIH Director: President Obama has nominated Francis Collins, best known for leading the public effort to sequence the human genome, to be director of the National Institutes of Health. Chris Wilson at Slate looks at how Collins, an evangelical Christian, has combined his faith in God with his faith in science.

New Violence Against Women Advisor: “Vice President Joe Biden’s June 26 announcement of a White House Advisor on Violence Against Women stirred some public grumbling about President Barack Obama’s recent ‘czar frenzy,’” writes Kayla Hutzler at Women’s eNews.

“But at a time of rising pressure on domestic violence shelters, representatives of two of the largest advocacy groups for ending domestic violence were far more enthusiastic about the creation of the post. They were also excited at the naming of Lynn Rosenthal, a former executive director at the New Mexico Coalition against Domestic Violence in Albuquerque, with a substantial resume of safety advocacy and working ties to Biden.”

Here’s the White House announcement, and a New York Times editorial in favor of the appointment.

The Last Word on Sarah Palin (Fingers Crossed): Go read “Palin’s Long March to a Short-Notice Resignation,” then head over to Slate for Dahlia Lithwick’s parting shot: “[Wh]en the dust settles, the lesson may be that she was simply a woman who made no sense.”

Looking Ahead to 2012: Jill Miller Zimon wonders, “Could we see a female-female GOP ticket for president and vice president in 2012?”

Update on Conscience Clause: Kay Steiger has written a good round-up of efforts at the state level to pass legislation that allows medical professionals to refuse to provide services that violate their religious or moral beliefs.

Speaking of conscience clauses, anyone remember the federal rule instituted in the final days of the Bush administration? It cut off federal funding for state and local governments, hospitals, health plans and clinics that did not fully accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacists or other employees who refuse to provide care they feel violates their beliefs. Aimed at abortion and family planning services, it went beyond laws that already provide for healthcare workers and threatened access to many health services, including infertility treatment, end-of-life care, blood transfusions and mental health counseling.

President Obama moved to rescind the rule, as expected, but the process has been very slow. The 3o-day public comment period on rule changes ended in April; Health and Human Services Department is still reviewing the hundreds of thousands of comments received.

Administration officials acknowledged early on that they were looking for a compromise, but we haven’t heard much more on the subject until President Obama told a group of religion reporters earlier this month that the new policy would “certainly not be weaker” than what existed before President Bush’s expansion:

We will be coming out with I think more specific guidelines.  But I can assure all of your readers that when this review is complete there will be a robust conscience clause in place.  It may not meet the criteria of every possible critic of our approach, but it certainly will not be weaker than what existed before the changes were made.

David Brody has the full transcript of Obama’s remarks.


July 13, 2009

What You Need to Know for Judge Sotomayor’s Senate Confirmation Hearing

sonia_sotomayorJudge Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing begins today at 10 a.m. (EST). C-SPAN will have live television coverage. Streaming video will be available at newshour.pbs.org.

Viewers and listeners can expect statements today from each of the Senate Judiciary Committee members (reminder: 17 men, two women) and possibly Sotomayor’s opening statement.

For a look at some of the issues sure to arise, head over to SCOTUSblog, where Kristina Moore provides a detailed look at Sotomayor’s judicial record, neatly organized by subject matter.

The AP reports on the mock hearings Sotomayor has gone through and, in a separate story, on the restrained support offered by some women’s groups.

Sotomayor is expected to be confirmed, but as Michael D. Shear points out, there are other issues and agendas to look for this week:

Democrats are betting that an overly zealous assault on Sotomayor by Republican senators could anger Latinos and accelerate the shift of Hispanic voters away from the Republican Party, particularly in the South and West.

Conservatives are hoping to use the Sotomayor hearings as a way to motivate their base if they can successfully portray her as an activist judge whose “empathy” for certain groups guides her rulings more than court precedent or the written law.

And activist groups on both sides have already prepared press releases and statements to argue that the Sotomayor outcome says something about where the country’s population is on the issues of guns, abortion, affirmative action, race and gender. Liberals hope an overwhelming vote for her confirmation will encourage Obama to consider even more progressive nominees in the future.

Dahlia Lithwick has kindly put together everything you need to know about the hearing, including who will say what (yes, she can predict these things):

For those brave souls choosing to watch this spectacle on live television all week, it’s useful to point out that most of her interlocutors will not be addressing themselves to Judge Sotomayor at all, although they will frequently use her name. Instead, they will be talking aloud to their constituents back home, with Judge Sotomayor serving as a sort of constitutional blackboard on which to sketch out their legal views: Senators will talk at length about their pet projects and concerns, then turn to ask Judge Sotomayor what she thinks of their pet projects and concerns. She will say she is for them. [...]

Other senators, such as Arlen Specter, will attempt to tap into Judge Sotomayor’s judicial subconscious; asking trick questions about whether she thinks precedent is important (she’ll say it is) and what she thinks of specific cases (she will take a page from Chief Justice John Roberts’ book and summarize cases, without opining on them). She will make blurry-yet-bold pronouncements about the right to privacy, personal autonomy, and bodily integrity—none of which will clarify her stand on abortion.

Both sides will ask how it’s possible that she has ruled in a handful of abortion cases over the years without ever addressing the rightness of abortion itself. She will reply that she is a careful minimalist who answers only the question before her. Both sides will grind their teeth in frustration at this marked absence of judicial activism, which makes it very hard to tell whether she will be a judicial activist once confirmed. Jeff Sessions will rail that Sotomayor should have been more of a judicial activist (he will say “zealous constitutional watchdog”) where gun rights were concerned. Everyone will thus agree that judicial activism is bad except insofar as it’s good.

There’s more. Actually, if you’ve got nothing else going on this week, Lithwick’s predictions may be the basis of a supreme drinking game.

Remembering what it took to get to this moment, the Women’s Media Center has documented racist and sexist comments made about Sotomayor in various media outlets. A video, “Media Justice for Sotomayor,” ties it all together:


June 29, 2009

Double Dose: Pregnancy, Prison and HIV

Woman Shackled During Labor Sues State: A former inmate at the Washington Corrections Center for Women who was shackled while in labor is suing the state of Washington for violating her constitutional rights. Read the full complaint here (pdf).

The Seattle-based women’s rights organization Legal Voice filed the federal lawsuit last week on behalf of Casandra Brawley. According to the complaint, Brawley, who was serving a 14-month sentence for shoplifting, was shackled by a metal chain around her belly during transportation to the hospital. At the hospital, she was shackled to her hospital bed during several hours of labor. A physician demanded the leg iron be removed while he performed an emergency c-section. The shackles were replaced after the baby was born.

“It defies common sense – and the Constitution – to risk any pregnant woman’s health, safety, and dignity by shackling her while she is in the process of giving birth,” Sara Ainsworth, senior counsel at Legal Voice and co-counsel for Brawley, said in a release.

“Like Ms. Brawley, the majority of women incarcerated in Washington State are serving sentences for non-violent crimes. And the idea that labor presents an escape opportunity is absurd. There is simply no justification that outweighs the medical risks of this inhumane, demeaning practice.”

Extra Sentence for Pregnant, HIV-Positive Woman: Rachel Mehlsak, a legal intern at the National Women’s Law Center, wrote a good summary of a court case involving a 28-year-old pregnant woman from Cameroon. A judge in Maine had sentenced the woman — who pleaded guilty to possessing false immigration documents — to a prison term longer than the maximum suggested under federal sentencing guidlines to ensure she would deliver her baby in prison. Why? Because she is HIV-positive, and the judge rationalized that she would receive better care behind bars, thus reducing the risk of HIV transmission. No joke.

The woman was recently released while her appeal to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is pending in Boston. Margo Kaplan of the Center for HIV Law and Policy has more.

New Push for Fetal Homicide Law: Another example of an ill-conceived attempt to protect the fetus comes by way of New Mexico, where the murder of a 22-year-old pregnant woman has led to talk of a fetal homicide law.

“Most crimes of this nature are prosecuted under state law, and according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 36 states have fetal homicide laws (variously known as the Fetal Protection Act, the Preborn Victims of Violence Act and the Unborn Victim of Violence Act). Some laws apply to the killing of a fetus at any time after conception, while others only apply to a fetus that is capable of surviving outside the womb,” writes Gwyneth Doland of the New Mexico Independent.

There are, of course, hefty consequences:

“What we’ve discovered is that the minute one of these laws passes, the first people who are prosecuted are not batterers, but pregnant women themselves,” says Lynn Paltrow of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a women’s rights organization that has fought against fetal homicide laws.

“These cases are always presented as a response to violence against women. But not a single state has ever looked at whether these laws have done anything to decrease the epidemic of violence against women. And no state should pass another law like this until that research is done,” Paltrow says.

Paltrow says that similar laws in other states are used to prosecute pregnant women who suffer from substance abuse problems.

In particular, she points to South Carolina, where a fetal homicide law has been used to prosecute dozens of pregnant women struggling with substance abuse. In one case, a 22-year-old homeless woman whose pregnancy resulted in a stillbirth was convicted of murder and sentenced to 12 years in prison, even though health experts said there was no evidence her drug problem caused the stillbirth.

A Model Program: I recently learned about the work of Women’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment (WE-ACTx), which began working in Rwanda in early 2004 to help genocide rape survivors, many of whom had contracted HIV from their attackers. Today, WE-ACTx focuses on increasing women’s and children’s access to comprehensive HIV/AIDS care and services, education and training.

Earlier this month, WE-ACTx held its 4th annual celebration of Day of the African Child (commemoration of the 1976 child uprising in Soweto against apartheid) with more than 400 children with HIV and their families.

In addition to running several medical clinics, the organization educates people affected by HIV/AIDS  about their legal rights, and empowers them to take action to resolve legal problems they may face. Here’s the English version of the WE-ACTx Community Handbook on Health-Care Rights and Other Laws (pdf). If you’re looking for an organization to support, take a look at WE-ACTx.

Resources on HIV Testing: National HIV Testing Day was June 27, and the Kaiser Family Foundation has released new and updated materials on attitudes toward HIV testing. First, take a look at the 2009 Survey of Americans on HIV/AIDS, the Foundation’s seventh major survey of the American public’s attitudes, knowledge and experiences related to HIV/AIDS.

Two new survey briefs were prepared as a follow-up: The first, on views and experiences with HIV Testing, looks at the U.S. public’s attitudes about experiences with HIV testing, including which groups are most likely to report being tested for HIV, reasons for being tested/not being tested, communication with doctors and partners about HIV/AIDS and more. The second brief examines more closely African American’s views and experiences with HIV testing.


June 4, 2009

OBOS Joins ACLU Lawsuit Challenging Breast and Ovarian Cancer Gene Patents

We’ve written previously about the ACLU’s concern about gene patents, especially regarding the possibility that “high licensing and diagnostic testing fees that some biotech companies charge for use of ‘their’ genes are inhibiting biomedical research and interfering with patient care.”

On May 12, the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation filed a lawsuit against the U.S Patent and Trademark Office, Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, “charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and invalid.” The suit focuses on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, mutations of which are related to increased risk of breast and/or ovarian cancers.

In explaining the rationale for the lawsuit, ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero wrote:

Knowledge about our own bodies and the ability to make decisions about our health care are some of our most personal and fundamental rights. The government should not be granting private entities control over something as personal and basic to who we are as our genes. Moreover, granting patents that limit scientific research, learning and the free flow of information violates the First Amendment.

The following video provides an excellent overview of concerns about BRCA gene patenting, with additional commentary from ACLU representatives and women concerned about how the patents affect their own health:

Our Bodies Ourselves has joined the suit as a plaintiff, along with the Association for Molecular Pathology, American College of Medical Genetics, American Society for Clinical Pathology, and the College of American Pathologists, several prominent individuals in genetics and pathology, genetic counselors, and individual women patients who have been affected by the patents.

Breast Cancer Action has also joined the suit as a plaintiff, explaining that:

When one company controls all the testing, less information and resources are available to both patients and researchers. Women unable to afford the $3,500 fee are prevented from access to the test; women seeking second opinions on any results they might receive have nowhere to go; and women of African, Hispanic, or Asian descent are at a significant disadvantage because they disproportionately receive ambiguous results when tested by Myriad.

BCA Executive Director Barbara Brenner notes the importance of the landmark case:

There are so many injustices and inequities in breast cancer. The time has come to address them in all their forms—as they affect genetic risk, as well as social, political, and economic realities. This case is an important first step.

OBOS Executive Director Judy Norsigian will appear in a segment on the issue produced by Ivanhoe Broadcast News’s “Smart Woman” team — we’ll post an update when the piece airs.

The suit itself, Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al., was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan and can be accessed online via this ACLU webpage.

The ACLU is also providing answers to frequently asked questions about the issue, and a number of background resources and fact sheets. Individuals may also sign a statement of support for the plaintiffs.


June 3, 2009

Same-Sex Marriage: New Hampshire Makes Six …

Six states where same-sex couples can legally marry, that is.

Gov. John Lynch is expected to sign the legislation this evening. Assuming he does so, the law will take effect Jan. 1, 2010.

Lynch had threatened to veto any bill that did not include specific language stating churches and religious groups could not be forced to officiate at gay marriages. (Protections are in place already, but some folks like to see it spelled out.)

The Senate passed the measure this morning by a vote of 14-10. The House followed this afternoon, 198-176. The religious protections bill was an add-on to the same-sex marriage bill. Read more from the Union Leader and Boston Globe.

New Hampshire will join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Iowa  as states that permit same-sex marriage.

For a look at where the rest of the states stand, check out NPR’s map showing how legal battles are playing out across the country.



May 29, 2009

OBOS Interview: Georgetown Law Professor Emma Coleman Jordan

emma_coleman_jordanUpon hearing that President Obama had selected Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter, Our Bodies Ourselves turned to Georgetown University Law Professor Emma Coleman Jordan to answer questions about the nomination.

Jordan established the field of economic justice in legal theory, and she is well known for her work in financial services and civil rights. Her most recent book is “Economic Justice: Race, Gender, Identity and Economics.”

Jordan also knows something about Supreme Court confirmations — she was counsel to Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.

Two widely discussed issues have been Sotomayor’s views on a woman’s constitutional right to abortion and her comments on ethnicity and gender. In her 17 years as a federal judge, Sotomayor has had limited experience dealing directly with abortion-rights cases, and Jordan said there’s “nothing decisive” to be gleaned from her decisions.

Referring to the oft-repeated line, made during a speech delivered at University of California Berkeley School of Law in 2001, that has become the rallying cry of some Republicans opposed to Sotomayor’s nomination — “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life” — Jordan said, “If you read the full transcript of her comment you will see that she was only offering an insight into her unique contribution and the wisdom that comes from her unique experiences.”

We’ll see if Republicans can appreciate context — because it’s truly an eloquent speech on the complexities and responsibility of identity and experiences. (Update: Obama is now saying he’s “sure [Sotomayor] would have restated it,” but he goes on to defend the speech and concludes in his remarks to NBC’s Brian Williams, “I think all this nonsense that is being spewed out will be revealed for what it is.”)

Here’s the rest of our interview with Jordan:

Our Bodies Ourselves: How does the selection of Judge Sotomayor fit with what we’ve heard President Obama say about a Supreme Court justice needing empathy as well as experience?

Emma Coleman Jordan: Judge Sotomayor represents the president’s commitment to excellence, above everything else. The nomination is consistent with what we have seen of his judgment in selecting the members of his cabinet. A Nobel laureate for energy secretary, who is also an Asian American; a Wellesley class president, former First Lady and presidential primary rival for Secretary of State, who happens to be a woman.

OBOS: Is this appointment a representation of Obama’s liberal principles or more a part of his pragmatic strategy?

ECJ: Remember that we are only four days into this nomination. With that caveat in mind, I would say that this represents the Obama brand of pragmatic progressivism. Remember that our biggest influence on the direction of the Supreme Court is our vote for president. In addition, when a president chooses a nominee he is engaged in art, not science.

OBOS: What might Sotomayor’s working class background bring to an understanding of economic justice and legal theory?

ECJ: She has spoken of feeling like an “alien” at Princeton. She indicated that she did not raise her hand, or utter a single word in class during her freshman year there. She later won the highest general prize for academic excellence for an undergraduate, graduating summa cum laude. She has referred to passing drug dealers in the stairwells of her apartment complex in the Bronx.

These transitional experiences would be powerfully formative to help her penetrate the complex and difficult constitutional, regulatory and economic puzzles that the Court must confront.

Each justice adds something unique to the mix of experience available among the nine justices.  For example, Justice Samuel Alito, also a Princeton graduate, told the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing that his father experienced discrimination against Italian Americans: “[a]fter he graduated from college, in 1935 in the midst of the Depression, he found that teaching jobs for Italian-Americans were not easy to come by, and he had to find other work for a while.”

All of these experiences give us human beings, talented Americans, who reflect the range of experience in America. Together, they provide the wide spectrum of experiences this nation needs for thoughtful judging of the hard cases.

OBOS: While a female candidate was expected this time around, real progress will be made when a third woman joins the Supreme Court. What are the chances Obama will nominate another woman if a second vacancy arises during his administration?

ECJ: I wouldn’t venture a guess on that, except to note that he is the only male resident of the White House, and he appears to be very comfortable surrounded by smart, confident women in his own family.

OBOS: President George H.W. Bush appointed Sotomayor to the federal bench. Will that have any neutralizing effect on Republican opposition? What will Republicans who want to derail the nomination focus on in their criticisms?

ECJ: The earlier Bush appointment to the district court helps defuse the unfair, partisan attacks.

OBOS: Obama’s announcement, which focused on Sotomayor’s personal story, echoed another “only in America” narrative. Sotomayor’s qualifications are evident, and we’ve heard how much she impressed Obama during her interview. Does dwelling on her personal story give her opponents an open door to challenge the selection and use her opinions to show she’s an “activist” judge who will champion the rights of minorities? Or does it help to build public support for a nominee whose life story is relatable?

ECJ: The personal story introduction is a standard Supreme Court nomination framework.  Every justice now sitting was introduced that way. The personal biography helps to humanize some of our most brilliant jurists and to make it possible for ordinary Americans to relate to these extraordinary Americans.

The lines of attack now being launched were formulated long before her name was made public.  These are standard opposition strategies that have long been used against any democratic judicial nominees, even for lower federal courts.

OBOS: You represented Anita Hill during her questioning before a then all-male Senate Judiciary Committee. What has the Senate and America learned from that uncomfortable experience — in a positive or negative way — and how did it later influence the treatment of women before the committee?

ECJ: Anita Hill’s testimony changed the nation’s understanding of the demeaning effect of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual innuendo in the workplace. One lasting legacy of those hearings is that we have never again had an all male Senate Judiciary Committee. Since Judge Sotomayor is only the third woman nominated to the Supreme Court, she will be the first to face a committee with both male and female senators.


May 29, 2009

Political Diagnosis: The Supreme Court Edition

For starters, read the OBOS interview with Georgetown University Law Professor Emma Coleman Jordan about Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination.

Coding Sonia Sotomayor: The New York Times today looks at Sotomayor’s direct and challenging questioning from the bench. Since we’re dealing with a female jurist, this is known as her “blunt and testy side.”

The story redeems itself — almost — by quoting Judge Guido Calabresi, a former dean of Yale Law School who taught Sotomayor there and now sits with her on the Second Circuit. He asserts that Sotomayor’s behavior was “identical” to other members of the 12-member court.

“Some lawyers just don’t like to be questioned by a woman,” Calabresi added. “It was sexist, plain and simple.”

During a discussion about the Times story on NPR’s “All Things Considered” this afternoon, EJ Dionne remarked that Justice Antonin Scalia is regarded as “sharp” and having “a sense of humor” for displaying the same aggressiveness. Funny how that happens.

Racist? Really?: Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would prefer Republicans quit calling Sotomayor “racist,” as Rush Limbaugh and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have been prone to do.

“I think it’s terrible. This is not the kind of tone that any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advice and consent,” Cornyn told NPR’s “All Things Considered” on Thursday.

Now about former Rep. Tom Tancredo’s comments that Sotomayor’s membership in the National Council of La Raza, which bills itself as “the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States,” amounts to being part of “a Latino KKK” ….

Don’t Worry, Says White House: The White House went out of its way Thursday to address concerns that Sotomayor will uphold protections for a woman’s right to abortion. In her 17 years as a federal judge, Sotomayor has not dealt with constitutional questions about abortion, leaving little for groups on either side of the abortion debate to discuss.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said during a press briefing on Tuesday that Obama “did not ask that specifically” about Sotomayor’s views on abortion or privacy rights. That created some unease among pro-choice advocates.

On Thursday Gibbs attempted to explain, without going into detail, why the White House was so confident: “In their discussions, they talked about the theory of constitutional interpretation, generally, including her views on unenumerated rights in the Constitution and the theory of settled law,” Gibbs said. “He left very comfortable with her interpretation of the Constitution being similar to that of his.”

During a 2007 campaign debate, Obama said, “I would not appoint somebody who doesn’t believe in the right to privacy.”

We’ve had “stealth nominees” before — David Souter, who, to everyone’s surprise, ended up voting to uphold abortion rights.

The Washington Post, looking for outside sources on Sotomayor’s views, talked with one of Sotomayor’s former colleagues and a group OBOS works with regularly, Childbirth Connection:

In the few days since Sotomayor’s nomination, no record of her personal feelings on the issue have emerged; some former clerks say they do not remember discussing it with her. George Pavia, senior partner in the law firm that hired Sotomayor as a corporate litigator before her days on the bench, said he thinks that support of abortion rights would be in line with her generally liberal instincts.

“I can guarantee she’ll be for abortion rights,” Pavia said.

Also before she was a judge, Sotomayor served on the board of the Maternity Center Association, a Manhattan nonprofit group that focuses on improving maternity care for women.

Carol Sakala, director of programs for the organization (now called Childbirth Connection), said today that it “deals exclusively with women who want to carry their pregnancies to term” but has never taken a position on abortion. She said abortion has never come up at a board meeting in the more than 10 years she has worked there and is not discussed in her daily work.

“We have no reason to have a position on abortion. We aren’t involved in any manner with that issue,” Sakala said. “There’s no paper trail on it, because it’s not relevant to our work.”


May 26, 2009

California Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage, by a vote of  6-1. Lawyers on both sides expected this decision. San Francisco Chronicle staffers are tweeting from outside the California Supreme Court building, where advocates on both sides of the issue have gathered.

As to the question of the legitimacy of the roughly 18,000 same-sex marriages performed before the passage of Proposition 8, those marriages will remain valid under state law.

In May 2008, the same court legalized same-sex marriage. The law took effect in June and remained valid up through Election Day, when voters approved Proposition 8 by a margin of 52-48.

“The author of last year’s 4-3 decision, Chief Justice Ronald George, said today that the voters were within their rights to approve a constitutional amendment redefining marriage to include only male-female couples,” writes Bob Egelko at the San Francisco Chronicle. “Justice Carlos Moreno, in a lone dissent, said a majority should not be allowed to deprive a minority of fundamental rights by passing an initiative.”

Meanwhile, the momentum to legalize same-sex marriage has taken root in other parts of the country, namely in the northeast. A court decision in Connecticut legalized same-sex marriage shortly before Election Day; Iowa, Maine and Vermont legalized same-sex marriage this year.


May 26, 2009

Obama Selects Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court

From The New York Times:

President Obama has decided to nominate the federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, choosing a daughter of Puerto Rican parents raised in Bronx public housing projects to become the nation’s first Hispanic justice, officials said Tuesday.

The decision, to be announced Tuesday morning, will be Mr. Obama’s first selection to the Supreme Court and could trigger a struggle with Senate Republicans who have indicated they may oppose the nomination. But Democrats control nearly the 60 votes necessary to choke off a filibuster and even Republicans said they have little hope of blocking confirmation barring unforeseen revelation.

The Times also has a profile of Sonia Sotomayor and some of her notable court opinions and articles. She has had limited experience with abortion-rights cases.

SCOTUSblog summarizes Sotomayor’s opinions in civil cases, with four additional parts: I, II, III, IV.

The four finalists to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter were: two federal appeals judges, Sotomayor of New York and Diane P. Wood of Chicago; and two members of the Obama administration, Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Update: During a televised press conference announcing the decision, Obama called Sotomayor “an inspiring woman” and said the decision was made after “deep reflection” and “careful deliberation.” He was looking for someone with “rigorous intellect” and “mastery of the law.” The second requirement was “recognition of  limits of the judicial role” and “respect for precedent.”

He added that justices “need something more,” and he quoted Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes on justices needing “compassion” and “experience.”

Sotomayor thanked her family members, calling her mother, who was in attendance, “her life’s inspiration.”  Sotomayor said that for as long she could remember, she has been inspired by the principles of the founding fathers. She said it would be a “profound privilege applying those principles to questions and controversies we face today.”

She concluded by saying: “I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences” — her selection being one of them.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


May 24, 2009

Double Dose: Prop 8 Decision Due Tuesday; Ruling Against Tobacco Companies; Vermont Moves to Publicize Payments to Doctors; Violence Against Women Ignored and More …

Prop 8 Decision Due Tuesday: The California Supreme Court will announce its decision on Proposition 8 on Tuesday, May 26. The court’s decision will be posted online at 10 a.m.: www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme

Check www.marriageequalityusa.org or www.equalityactionnow.org for info about where and how to organize a response.

“If we must reverse Prop. 8 at the ballot, we will do so,” Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and a lawyer for couples in the case. “We will win – if not on Tuesday, then one day soon.”

A post-decision event is scheduled for Saturday, May 30. Marriage equality supporters from across California will “Meet in the Middle for Equality” at Fresno City Hall to celebrate or protest the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Standing Up For Her Own: Vogue’s Anna Wintour does her best to fulfill every dreaded stereotype of how fashion magazine editors regard the rest the word.

Ruling Against Tobacco Companies: A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a 2006 court ruling that found cigarette companies deceived consumers for decades about the dangers of smoking (view the decision [pdf]). From the Washington Post:

In a 93-page opinion, a three-judge panel cleared the way for new restrictions on how cigarette companies market and sell their products. Under the decision, the manufacturers will no longer be allowed to label brands “light” or “low tar” and will have to purchase ads on television and in major newspapers that explain the health dangers and addictiveness of their products.

Tobacco companies indicated that they will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, a process that would probably put compliance with the ruling on hold for at least several months.

Vermont Shines Light on Payments to Doctors: The Vermont Legislature has passed the nation’s strictest law (pdf) concerning the relationship between the medical industry and doctors. Under the law, which will take effect July 1 (assuming the governor signs it, as expected), pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers would be required to disclose all money given to physicians and other health care providers. Natasha Singer of The New York Times writes:

The Vermont law promises to provide a window into the considerable efforts and spending by device and drug makers to woo doctors even in a small state.

Makers of medical products spent about $2.9 million in fiscal year 2008 on marketing to health care professionals in Vermont, according to a report last month from the state’s attorney general. Of Vermont’s 4,573 licensed health practitioners, almost half received remuneration, including payments for lectures, meals or lodging from pharmaceutical companies in the 2008 fiscal year, the report said.

“If the drug industry gives $3 million on average for three years now to physicians in a small state like Vermont, what is happening in California and New York?” said Ken Libertoff, director of the Vermont Association for Mental Health, an advocacy group that supported the law.

Plus: Richard A. Friedman, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, writes about the popularity of “sexy blockbuster drugs” that are newer, but not necessarily better, and the effect that drug company marketing has on both patients and physicians.

Midwife Shortage in Mexico: IPS reports on the shortage of professional midwives in Mexico and the training at the only officially accredited Mexican school of midwifery, run by the non-profit Centre for Adolescents of San Miguel de Allende (CASA). Since the school was founded in 1997, 38 professional midwives have graduated; currently, 32 women are being trained.

Violence Against Women – Yawn: “We are so used to violence against women we don’t even notice how used to it we are,” writes Katha Pollitt, in a column on the shooting death of Johanna Justin-Jinich, a Wesleyan University student.

“When we’re not persuading ourselves that women are just as violent toward men as vice versa if you forget about who ends up seriously injured or dead, or pointing out that most murders are of men by men, we persuade ourselves that violence against women just comes up out of nowhere. Murder is serious, especially if the victim is young, white, middle-class, pretty; harassment, abuse, domestic violence, even rape, not so much.” Do go and read the rest.

Student Activists: In her first column as The Plain Dealer’s philanthropy writer, Margaret Bernstein writes about a group of high school girls who are taking on relationship violence. “These girls may not sound like philanthropists, but I think they are. They’re grass-roots philanthropists, using their actions instead of money to spark change.”

Rape Escalates in Eastern Congo: Dominique Soguel reports for Women’s eNews on the worsening sexual violence in the Eastern Congo. “Last week,” she writes, “the Congolese army came under scrutiny from the United Nations and human rights groups for its role in raping, killing and looting sprees during military operations in the two eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu.

“Human Rights Watch called on the army to hold accountable soldiers involved in the rape of 143 women and girls, more than half of the 250 rape cases the organization documented in North Kivu.”

Plus: Eve Ensler, writing about the war on women in the Congo, asks: “I was in Bosnia during the war in 1994 when it was discovered there were rape camps where white women were being raped. Within two years there was adequate intervention. Yet, in Congo, femicide has continued for 12 years. Why? [...]

“What is happening in Congo is the most brutal and rampant violence toward women in the world. If it continues to go unchecked, if there continues to be complete impunity, it sets a precedent, it expands the boundaries of what is permissible to do to women’s bodies in the name of exploitation and greed everywhere. It’s cheap warfare.”


May 19, 2009

Oprah is Not Your Doctor and Much, Much More

The Double Dose/Political Diagnosis catch-up edition …

Taking Medical Advice From Oprah: In a word, don’t.

Blogging the Common Ground: CNN’s “blogger bunch” discussion on abortion, following President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame, includes our fave Ann Friedman of Feministing and The American Prospect.

Supreme Court Rules 7-2 Against Women Workers: Women whose pension payments are reduced because they took pregnancy-related leave in the 1960s and 1970s, when pregnancy discrimination wasn’t illegal, aren’t entitled to full pension benefits now, the Supreme Court ruled Monday. The women lost an appeal aimed at forcing AT&T to grant compensatory service credits to boost their pensions.

Motherhood, a Discussion: A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released this month found that the percentage of children born to unmarried women rose to nearly 40 percent of births in 2007, up from 34 percent in 2002. The New York Times invited five experts to weigh in: Silvia Henriquez, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health; Stephanie Coontz, Council on Contemporary Families; Corinne Maier, author; Mark Regnerus, sociology professor; and Libertad González Luna, economics professor.

FEMA’s Healthier Housing?: From NPR: The Federal Emergency Management Agency has unveiled new models of temporary housing designed to provide shelter for people displaced by natural disasters. A serious plus: They have been built with as little formaldehyde as possible, unlike the trailers FEMA provided to Hurricane Katrina victims.

New CDC Director: President Obama on Friday appointed New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Dr. Frieden, a 48-year-old infectious disease specialist, has cut a high and sometimes contentious profile in his seven years as New York’s top health official under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg,” reports The New York Times. “He led the crusade to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, pushed to make H.I.V. testing a routine part of medical exams, and defended a program that passes out more than 35 million condoms a year.”

Medicaid as a Platform for Heath Reform: Kaiser Family Foundation released a package of research papers last week that examine opportunities for expanding Medicaid to cover more low-income and high-need people in ways that would enable the program to serve as a platform for larger national health reform efforts. The papers were released at a public briefing on Medicaid as a Platform for Broader Health Reform. A webcast of the briefing is available.

Plus: Also from Kaiser — an expert panel examined the global health aspects of Obama’sFiscal Year 2010 budget, including allocations for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). The panel, part of KFF’s new “U.S. Global Health Policy: In Focus” live webcast series, also discussed what the next steps are for the budget with Congress. The webcast and podcast is available.

Max Baucus is for Health Care Reform: But Democrats aren’t entirely sure which side the Montana senator and Finance Committee chairman is on, reports Politico. “Baucus puts a premium on bipartisanship, and if he insists on winning more than a handful of Republican votes, the final product could look vastly different than a bill passed through the Senate with only a simple majority.”

Meanwhile, centrist Democrats have raised concerns with House leaders over a health reform bill that includes a public insurance plan that competes with the private insurance market … Hospitals and insurance companies want to reduce the growth of health care spending, but not like that … James Ridgeway wrote earlier in the week at Mother Jones that “the underlying purpose of this PR stunt is to slow or block any meaningful health care reforms, which could actually improve care while reducing the price tag by a lot more than 1.5 percent.” … The Washington Post deconstructs the White House email on health care reform … And Covering Health, the blog of the Association of Healthcare Journalists, asks: Have reporters written off single-payer system?

Single Payer Would Have Been Nice, But …: If the country were building a health care system from scratch, a single-payer system would be the way to go, Obama said in response to a question about single-payer health care at a town-hall style meeting in New Mexico last week. But at this point, with a tradition of employer-based health care already in place, the goal is simply to improve the current system. Here’s the discussion:


May 4, 2009

Political Diagnosis: Confirmation, Nomination, Resignation and Party Switching

All in one week, Kathleen Sebelius was approved as HHS secretary, we learned Supreme Court Justice David Souter is retiring, Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties and President Obama hit his 100-day mark, causing some furor over his comments on the Freedom of Choice Act. Moving right along …

Who Will Fill Souter’s Chair?: The New York Times looks at the type of justice Obama might nominate. The story features photos and short bios of the people whose names we’ve been hearing mentioned a lot lately — mostly women in high-level government, academic or legal positions. The Washington Post has a list of contenders.

NPR’s Nina Totenberg said Sunday on “Weekend Edition” that some of the names “are kind of a shout-out with no real chance that they’re going to be picked.” She wasn’t pressed on which ones. She also said this is Obama’s best shot to nominate someone who is very liberal.

Obama Picks Goosby For Global AIDS Position: Obama last week announced he would nominate Dr. Eric Goosby as head of the Office of Global AIDS Coordinator and Ambassador at Large. Goosby, CEO and chief medical officer of the Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, was director of the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy in the Clinton administration. He is also a medical professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Jodi Jacobson has more.

Earlier this year, we noted the brouhaha surrounding Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to request the resignation of Mark Dybul, who held the position as Global AIDS Coordinator during the Bush administration. Goosby was first mentioned as a successor back then.

Budget Blueprint Gets Stamp of Approval: Congress on Wednesday approved a $3.4 trillion spending plan, “setting the stage for President Obama to pursue the first major overhaul of the nation’s health-care system in a generation along with other far-reaching domestic initiatives,” reports the Washington Post. Democrats also reached agreement on using budget reconciliation to advance health care reform, which ensures Republicans won’t be able to filibuster the legislation.

Tough Times Ahead: “How hard is it to remake the nation’s health care system? It’s so hard that even if policymakers do everything right, most observers still don’t give them more than a 50-50 chance of getting a bill passed,” reports NPR.

Then there’s a shortage of doctors, which only complicates matters.

Arlen Specter on Health Care: Ezra Klein on what Specter The Democrat means for health care reform.

Take Action
DFA/MoveOn: Take part in an emergency online briefing Monday, May 4 at 9 p.m. ET with Dr. Howard Dean.  Click to follow the briefing, “What We All Need to Know to Win on Health Care This Year,” Monday night.

National Women’s Law Center: One woman on the highest court in the land is not enough. Urge President Obama to nominate a woman committed to upholding and enforcing women’s legal rights and protections.