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Abortion Rights and Access are Inextricably Tied to Equality and Gender Justice

August 10, 2022

Access to abortion has been key in advancing gender equality and gender justice. Banning or severely restricting abortion takes away a person's ability to decide whether to continue a pregnancy and threatens their equality and ability to participate–and thrive–in our society.  The Supreme Court's decision allowing politicians to ban abortion will have far reaching and devastating impacts on gender equality for decades to come.

Reproductive Rights Include Bodily Autonomy for Trans and Intersex Youth

August 9, 2022

This fact sheet provides information on advocating for bodily autonomy and reproductive rights for trans and intersex youth.

The Roots of Discriminatory Housing Policy: Moving Towards Gender Justice in Our Economy

August 2, 2022

Today's housing crisis—and its disproportionate impact on women of color—are rooted in centuries of underinvestment and discriminatory government policies that helped white men build wealth while stripping wealth from women and people of color. Our housing system has turned discrimination, exclusion, and exploitation into assets for the wealthy. This paper underscores that housing justice is gender justice and outlines solutions to advance housing as a human right, not a commodity.

Increased Access to Doulas, Midwives and Birth Workers is Key to Improving Michigan’s Black and Indigenous Pregnancy-Related Health Outcomes

April 11, 2022

Michigan has one of the highest death rates among Black pregnant people in the country. Black and Indigenous Michiganders live with reduced access to health care, fewer financial resources, less access to stable housing, and more food insecurity. During pregnancy, these harms are compounded by providers and institutions that devalue their lives. This compounded harm underlies the increased risk of pregnancy-related deaths and complications in Black and Indigenous communities. Medically, pregnancy-related deaths are frequently attributed to blood loss, infection, or heart complications, and pregnancy-related complications are attributed to high blood pressure and blood loss. However, these outcomes reflect systems and institutions that fail to provide Black and Indigenous people with comprehensive, high-quality care. Increasing access to doulas, midwives and birth workers would significantly improve Michigan's Black and Indigenous pregnancy-related outcomes.

The Record of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Gender Justice

April 6, 2022

The National Women's Law Center ("the Law Center") has reviewed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's judicial and legal record throughout her career with a focus on cases addressing issues of critical importance to women and girls, such as workplace discrimination and collective bargaining, reproductive rights and health, public benefits, and disability rights. In addition, the Center has reviewed key activities, public statements, and experiences of Judge Jackson outside of her service on the federal bench and her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearings which began on March 21, 2022 and concluded on March 24, 2022. This report presents this analysis and is intended to educate the public about Judge Jackson's record on gender justice and the importance of fair and impartial courts.

Resilient But Not Recovered: After Two Years of the COVID-19 Crisis, Women Are Still Struggling

March 31, 2022

To better understand the impact of the pandemic on women and their families, NWLC collaborated with Sprout Insight to conduct in-depth interviews and focus groups with women around the country in December 2021, and with polling firm GQR to conduct a nationally representative mixed mode survey of 3,800 adults from February 7–25, 2022. At the state level, we oversampled residents of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and West Virginia.This report combines analysis of federal data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau with the findings from this qualitative and quantitative research to reveal how women are really faring at work and in their lives after two years of a punishing pandemic. And in profiles drawn from the polling data, NWLC spotlights the experiences of four groups who were especially hard-hit by the pandemic, and who were failed by U.S. policies long before the pandemic began: Black women, Latinas, mothers, and LGBTQ women and nonbinary people.

The Women’s Health Protection Act Will Help Ensure that Abortion is Available and Accessible in Our Communities

February 24, 2022

Abortion access has been decimated across the country, with the greatest impact on the most underrepresented and underserved communities. In Texas, abortion is effectively banned; in 6 states, only one clinic remains; and 29 states are now considered hostile to abortion. And the Supreme Court is poised to overturn or eviscerate the constitutional right to abortion. It is the responsibility of Congress to ensure abortion is available and affordable to all—not just the privileged few—and it can start by passing the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA, H.R. 3755/S. 1975). WHPA would establish a federal law that protects abortion access nationwide from bans and restrictions.

Roe v. Wade and the Right to Abortion

January 24, 2022

The constitutional right to abortion was first recognized nearly five decades ago, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed its central holding. Yet this fundamental constitutional right is facing a grave and imminent threat.

Forced Sterilization of Disabled People in the United States

January 24, 2022

Disabled people have fought to make their own decisions about their bodies. But many laws still take that decision away. These include laws about sterilization. Sterilization is an operation that stops someone from ever having babies. In many states, laws say that doctors can sterilize disabled people against their will. This is called forced sterilization. Most states allow forced sterilization today. Laws allowing forced sterilization exist in 31 states plus Washington, D.C. We wrote this report in Plain Language. Plain Language is a style that is more accessible to many people.

Access to Birth Control Without Out-of-Pocket Costs: Improving and Expanding the Affordable Care Act’s Contraceptive Coverage Requirement

November 16, 2021

Today more than 64 million women have insurance coverage of birth control and other critical preventive services without out-of-pocket costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA's contraceptive coverage requirement—the provision designed to guarantee no-cost coverage of the full range of birth control methods—has increased use of birth control and, as a result, expanded the reach of birth control's health and economic benefits. But the benefits are not reaching everyone. The Trump administration worked to undermine the ACA's contraceptive coverage requirement by passing sweeping exemptions and neglecting enforcement. Some insurance plans are not in compliance, leaving people unable to access the contraception they need. And there are many individuals who are in plans that are not reached by the ACA and who do not have no-cost contraceptive coverage. Federal and state policymakers and insurance companies must take action to ensure everyone has access to no-cost contraceptive coverage. This is especially important now, during an economic crisis that has taken a disproportionate toll on women, and particularly on women of color and low-income women.

A Lifetime of Damage: How Big Tobacco’s Predatory Marketing Harms the Health of Women and Girls

May 26, 2021

The tobacco industry has a long history of developing cigarette brands and marketing campaigns that target women and girls, with devastating consequences for women's health. The industry's deliberate and aggressive targeting of women and girls spans a century, utilizing themes of beauty, fashion, freedom and sophistication – and often playing into sexist tropes – while ignoring or downplaying that tobacco use causes serious health harms at all stages of a woman's life.Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and affects a person's overall health. More than 16 million women and girls in the United States currently smoke, putting them at risk for the serious and deadly diseases caused by smoking. Over 200,000 women die in the U.S. every year due to smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, youth e-cigarette use has skyrocketed to what the U.S. Surgeon General and the Food and Drug Administration have called "epidemic" levels, with nearly 1 in 5 high school girls now using e-cigarettes.This report details the tobacco industry's history of predatory marketing, which has lured and addicted millions of women and girls to tobacco products, and the resulting harmful consequences for women's health that occur over their lifespans. This report demonstrates that strong action is needed now to protect women's health and save lives, and offers proven solutions to prevent young girls from starting to smoke or vape and help all women quit.

Gender and Racial Justice in SNAP

October 1, 2020

Women, particularly women of color, women with disabilities, older women, LGBTQ individuals, and immigrant women, disproportionately face economic insecurity. In general, women of color face both gender and racial discrimination in hiring and wages. Women are overrepresented in the low-paid workforce and in sectors that are consistently devalued, such as domestic and care work. Overall, women make up 64 percent of the workforce in the 40 lowest-paying jobs. In addition to inadequate pay, these jobs often have unpredictable schedules and few worker protections, limiting access to vital benefits such as paid family and medical leave. These long-standing structural inequities inhibit economic mobility for women, making them more susceptible to food insecurity. The current COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the gender and racial inequities in economic security for women and their families, and even more for women of color. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is a critical program in providing women, children, and families with the food assistance needed to better support their wellbeing. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, SNAP served more than 35.7 million people in 17.9 million households on average each month. In May 2020, that number increased to serve 43.1 million people as SNAP expanded to meet need during the period of economic downturn. However, even with its extensive reach, critical gaps still exist in the adequacy and administration of SNAP for a multitude of women, especially women facing multiple forms of discrimination.