Report: 102 Pennsylvanians Were Killed by Domestic Violence Last Year

Illustration via PCADV’s 2016 Fatality Report.

102 people were killed by domestic violence in Pennsylvania last year, according to a new report released by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Fifty-six of the victims were female, and 46 male.

The oldest victim was 86 years old. The youngest victim was only one year old.

The 102 tally in the PCADV report is conservative, because it does not include unsolved cases or cases where no arrest was made, or child abuse cases. Pennsylvania does not have reporting requirements for domestic violence homicides. PCADV compiles its annual list based on news accounts, police reports, and information received from their 60 programs serving all 67 counties in Pennsylvania.

The count also does not include the death of 37 perpetrators, who most often died by suicide.

The 2016 fatality count includes two police officers. Domestic violence situations are often some of the most dangerous calls law enforcement officers investigate. Domestic calls were the leading circumstances of fatal shootings, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s (NLEOMF) preliminary end-of-the-year report.

The majority of domestic homicides were by gunfire.

Pennsylvania makes it too easy for domestic abusers to obtain and access firearms. Currently, Pennsylvania law allows “third-party safekeeping” as a surrender option for PFA (protection from abuse) defendants, a provision that has directly led to murders. In November, the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission formally recommended abolishing the practice of third-party safekeeping in a report commissioned to analyze blind-spots and gaps in current policy and protocol related to domestic violence and firearms.

To close this loophole, State Sen. Tom Killion (R-Delaware/Chester) recently announced his intention to introduce a bill that aims to better protect parties involved in domestic abuse cases and PFA orders.

The bill is expected to be formally introduced on Tuesday March 28.

This effort, announced on the first day of Pennsylvania’s two-year legislative session, is a rebooted version of SB1182, a bill that never made it out of Committee last session.

The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

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Urgent Action Alert: The AHCA is Catastrophic for Women’s Health #ProtectOurCare

The U.S. House will vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) this afternoon. The AHCA is the makeshift pseudo-replacement for the Affordable Care Act. In fact, it is not really a healthcare plan at all as much as it is a tax cut for the wealthy and a gift to corporations.

It’s hard to know where to begin to explain how dangerous and life-threatening this bill is to women, seniors, disabled people, and generally speaking, everyone except the very wealthy. And in the last few days, as the GOP scurries to pass this bill for a political win at the expense of working Americans, a bad bill has become even worse.

Here are a few quick facts about the AHCA and why passing it would be catastrophic for women’s health:

  • Passing the AHCA will result in 24 million Americans losing health insurance coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
  • The AHCA would “defund” Planned Parenthood. What that really means is it would refuse to reimburse Planned Parenthood for providing preventative care like family planning and STD screenings via Medicaid.
  • AHCA proponents claim women can just go somewhere else for this healthcare. The reality is that in many counties across the United States, there is no somewhere else.
  • If Planned Parenthood is defunded, many American women would lose access to contraception.
  • The AHCA may eliminate ten essential health benefits (EHBs), a set of ten benefits that insurance policies must cover under the Affordable Care Act.
  • The EHBs are: outpatient services, emergency room care, hospitalization, maternity, mental health/substance abuse services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services, lab tests, preventive care such as vaccines, and pediatric vision and dental care.
  • Repeat: Maternity care.
  • Eliminating the EHB requirement will cause premiums to skyrocket for working people, especially women. However, it will not actually save money. It will simply push the costs into public programs. “In fact, eliminating the mandates might even cost the federal government more money.”
  • If the EHB requirement is eliminated, the 24 million people projected to lose health insurance coverage will likely climb even higher, because the insurance plans available will offer such scant coverage that they will fail to provide basic financial protection against a high-cost or catastrophic medical event, a standard used to determine if an insurance plan even counts as having healthcare coverage.

WHYY Newsworks is tracking AHCA votes of representatives in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Currently, the votes of two Pennsylvania Congressmen are reportedly unknown.

TAKE ACTION

Contact Congressmen Ryan Costello and Pat Meehan and urge them to vote NO on the AHCA today.

 

Congressman Costello

Call: (202) 225-4315

Email: https://costello.house.gov/contact

Tweet: @RepRyanCostello #ProtectOurCare

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CongressmanRyanCostello

Free online fax: https://faxzero.com/fax_congress.php#Pennsylvania

 

Congressman Meehan

Call: (202) 225-2011

Email: https://meehan.house.gov/contact/email-me

Tweet: @RepMeehan #ProtectOurCare

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CongressmanPatrickMeehan/

Free online fax: https://faxzero.com/fax_congress.php#Pennsylvania

The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.

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Report: Pennsylvania Women Not On Track for Equal Pay Until 2068

 

A baby girl born today will likely never achieve equal pay in her lifetime in 13 states unless we narrow the pay gap with corrective policy, according to a new state-by-state analysis published by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

In Pennsylvania, if current trends continue, women are not projected to earn equal pay until 2068. That estimate is an average, because the wage gap is much wider for women of color than white women. White women will not see equal pay until 2056. Black women will not see pay equity until 2124, while Hispanic women must wait 231 more years until 2248.

These may be optimistic projections for Pennsylvania, where the state Legislature has so far not only failed to implement corrective policies, but are actively considering a bill that would reverse our meager equal pay protections.

Senate Bill 241, sponsored by Sen. Thomas J. McGarrigle, R-Chester, and Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, is being sold to the public as an equal pay bill when in reality, it fails to close the loopholes in our state equal pay law, and would strip Philadelphia workers of some equal pay protections already in place.

Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Act was adopted back in 1959. Less than a decade later, it was weakened so that it applied to so few people that the types of employees it protects can be listed on a half-sheet of paper—leaving a loophole so big, that frankly, the law hardly applies to anyone.

And now, Pennsylvania lawmakers are trying to pass an ALEC-authored bill to benefit corporations, while telling the public it fixes our equal pay problem.

Bottom line: SB 241 is a fake fix for a real problem.

It’s 2017.  Women do not work for pocket money, we work to support our families. Playing politics with women’s paychecks by floating a fake fix like SB 241 is taking food out of children’s mouths.

April 4 is Equal Pay Day. We invite you to join us at the Capitol in Harrisburg for Equal Pay Day, where the Pennsylvania chapters of Business and Professional Women and American Association of University Women are hosting a lobby day and rally. Details on the events are here. Please register if you plan to attend.

Confirmed speakers include Pennsylvania State Representatives Donna Bullock, Maria Donatucci and Brian Sims, who will update us on their efforts to introduce real equal pay solutions in Pennsylvania.

The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.

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WLP Files Court Brief to Protect Scientists from Anti-Abortion Harassment & Violence

Scientists and researchers that conduct fetal-tissue research are seeking to block the disclosure of identifying information in fear of anti-abortion extremism.

The Women’s Law Project just filed an amici brief on behalf of the Southern Poverty Law Center and Feminist Majority Foundation in support of plaintiff scientists and researchers in a key reproductive rights case concerning protecting targets of anti-abortion harassment from harm.

The case, Jane and John Does 1-10 v. David Daleiden, concerns the limits that the constitutional right of informational privacy relevant to disclosure of state records under the Washington Public Records Act. The plaintiffs, who remained anonymous due to fear of harassment and harm, are seeking to keep their personal information off of any records provided to defendant David Daleiden.

The defendant is an anti-choice activist best known for publishing a series of misleadingly edited and thoroughly discredited hidden-camera videos targeting Planned Parenthood, starting in summer of 2015. The video campaign’s goal was to allege that Planned Parenthood engaged in illegal activity. Investigation revealed Daleiden’s allegations to be false, but anti-choice politicians used the propaganda to justify calling to defund Planned Parenthood and spend more money on investigations, all of which turned up no evidence of wrongdoing.

The defendant is currently seeking to obtain records of correspondence from the University of Washington related to fetal tissue research. A court temporarily blocked the release of the records, and the defendant appealed that decision.

The friend-of-the-court brief filed on behalf of anonymous plaintiffs argues that the district court’s preliminary injunction is essential to protecting the safety of healthcare professionals providing lawful medical care, and provides an extensive overview of anti-abortion harassment, violence and homicides.

From the brief:

Defendant David Daleiden’s actions that form the basis of this case have already had profound and deadly consequences, and the release of the un-redacted information that is the subject of this case will certainly lead to an increased level of fear among the plaintiff abortion providers and could possibly lead to even more violence.

Read the full document here.

In November 2015, in the wake of the propaganda videos released in Daleiden, three people were murdered and nine more injured in an attack on a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. The gunman later identified himself as a “warrior for the babies.”

The videos have also created a climate of fear around scientists who conduct medical research using fetal cells, research that has benefited virtually every person in the country, and has long been settled as a matter of public interest.

Founded in 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations and is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking
justice for vulnerable members of our society. The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), which was founded in 1987, is a cutting-edge organization dedicated to promoting
women’s equality, protecting and advancing reproductive freedom, and embracing non-violence.

The brief was written by David S. Cohen, professor of law at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law, Women’s Law Project board member, and co-author of Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism; Krysten L. Connon, co-author of Living in the Crosshairs; attorney Thomas E. Zemaitis, and Women’s Law Project Senior Staff Attorney Susan J. Frietsche.

The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.

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Warning: PA SB 241 is a Fake Equal Pay Bill

We’ve gone from fake news to fake bills.

It’s important that you are aware that SB 241, legislation its supporters tout as an equal pay fix, is absolutely not what it needed. In fact, it would reverse equal pay protections in Philadelphia.

WLP Managing Attorney Terry L. Fromson, an expert on equal pay law, authored an editorial explaining why SB 241 is a fake fix.

From PennLive.com:

There is no question Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Act, adopted in 1959, needs to be updated and strengthened, or that we lag far behind the national average in achieving equal pay. Without simple corrective policies to close gaps in current equal pay law, Pennsylvania women will not earn equal pay until the year 2072, at the earliest.

Unfortunately, a bill that’s been touted by its supporters as a corrective policy, is a fake equal pay bill that not only fails to strengthen equal pay protections in Pennsylvania, but also strips away some hard-won protections already in place.

The legislation (SB241) co-sponsored by Sen. Thomas J. McGarrigle, R-Chester, and Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, fails to close several of the loopholes in current law that need to be closed.

Read the full op-ed here, and please help spread the word.

The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.

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Anti-Choice Organization Sues PA Auditor General for Auditing Them

Just in: Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene Pasquale released a statement today announcing that Real Alternatives, a Pennsylvania-based network of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” is suing him for conducting an audit of how they are spending taxpayer dollars.

From the statement:

“It is outrageous that a simple request for documents about how nearly $1 million in taxpayer funds was spent is met with a raft of legal action,” DePasquale said referring to Commonwealth Court documents (106 MD 2017) filed yesterday by a Philadelphia law firm representing the Harrisburg-based Real Alternatives.

The audit began in September, 2016. The audit was launched in part in response to a request from the Department of Human Services, because they could not determine how some of the grant money was being used.

“By its own admission in the court documents, Real Alternatives keeps 3 percent of the state grant money it is charged with doling out to a network of abortion alternative providers — that’s $906,000 of taxpayer money for which there is zero accountability,” he said.

Pennsylvania has been using state funds to finance crisis pregnancy centers for two decades. We are also one of a handful of states that divert Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds—safety-net funds for low-income families in need—to fund crisis pregnancy centers.

Currently, Real Alternatives has a five-year $30.2 million dollar grant, set to expire June 30, 2017.

“I am not alleging that the money is being used for illegal activities, but as Pennsylvania’s chief fiscal watchdog I demand to know how and where our tax money is being spent,” DePasquale said in the statement. “Thirty million is a lot of tax dollars, I want to ensure 100 percent of those funds are providing services to pregnant women and their families in Pennsylvania as the grant agreement requires.

“If this attempt to conceal information from the public persists, I will call upon the governor and the General Assembly to immediately terminate the contract with Real Alternatives. With the state facing a $3 billion deficit, any organization that refuses to be held accountable should not receive a single cent of taxpayer funding.”

DePasquale noted that this is the first time he has been sued for conducting an audit.

Stay tuned.

The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.

Posted in CPC Watch, Crisis pregnancy centers, funding, Pennsylvania | Leave a comment

Does Your Local Hospital Refuse to Provide Emergency Contraception to Rape Victims?

In Pennsylvania, hospitals that refuse to provide sexual-assault patients with emergency contraception due to stated moral or religious belief must submit that decision to the state department of health, so that Pennsylvanians have the information necessary to seek standard medical care in the wake of surviving sexual violence.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Public Health Association recommend that emergency contraception be offered to all rape patients at risk of pregnancy. Some states have laws requiring hospitals to provide it. Pennsylvania is not one of those states.

According to the Pennsylvania Bulletin, fourteen Pennsylvania-based hospitals refuse to provide emergency contraception to rape victims:

Spirit Hospital – Camp Hill, 17011

Jersey Shore Hospital – Jersey Shore, 17740

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital – Darby, 19023

Mercy Philadelphia Hospital – Philadelphia, 19143

Suburban Community Hospital – Norristown, 19401

Millcreek Community Hospital – Erie, 16509

Muncy Valley Hospital – Muncy, 17756

Nazareth Hospital – Philadelphia, 19152

Physicians Care Surgical Hospital – Royersford, 19468

Regional Hospital of Scranton – Scranton, 18501

St. Joseph Medical Center – Reading, 19603

St. Mary Medical Center – Langhorne, 19047

UPMC Mercy Hospital – Pittsburgh, 15219

Williamsport Regional Medical Center – Williamsport, 17701

 

Hospitals that refer rape victims to other facilities after providing life-saving treatment must also report this status to the department of health. Please review this list of hospitals here.

The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook

We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.

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