In Case You Missed It: October at the Women’s Law Project

We know you are busy and as you’ll read, so are we, so we’re bringing back our monthly wrap-up posts to make it easier for you to keep up with everything going on at The Women’s Law Project.

We’re leading the national effort to get politicians to exit the exam room

It sounds like a plot line from a dystopian novella, but it’s real and happening right now: your doctor may be being forced to lie to you, and you have no way of knowing if what they are telling you is based on their expertise and scientific consensus, or if they are just mouthing the words of a politician you’ve never met. At least 33 states have passed laws that interfere with private doctor-patient relationships by either forcing doctors to lie to patients, gagging them from telling patients certain information, or mandating they perform medically unnecessary procedures or arbitrarily wait to administer care.

These government intrusion laws have been getting a lot of attention, and doctors are organizing to fight back.

We’re fighting back, too. On October 1, Rep. Dan Frankel, co-chair of the Women’s Health Caucus, re-introduced the Patient Trust Act. The Patient Trust Act gives Pennsylvania the opportunity to lead the country by stating unequivocally that politicians should stay out of exam rooms.

Learn more about these laws and the Patient Trust Act by reading this fact sheet co-authored by Women’s Law Project and the National Partnership for Women and Families, this report highlighting these laws, or reading WLP Assoc. Director of Strategic Communications Tara Murtha’s column at the Ms. Magazine blog. Want a full report on the prevalence of these laws across the country? That’s here.


WLP Executive Director Carol Tracy at the Vice President’s House

WLP Executive Director Carol Tracy was invited to Vice-President Joe Biden’s residence to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.  In addition to speaking with the Vice-President about our work in Philadelphia, Carol also met Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch to discuss ways to improve institutional response to sexual and domestic violence.

Women's Law Project Executive Director Carol E. Tracy testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, DC, on "Rape in the United States: The Chronic Failure to Report and Investigate Rape Cases."..Photo © 2010 Jay Mallin. All rights reserved...For more information, 363-2756

Women’s Law Project Executive Director Carol E. Tracy testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Photo by Jay Mallin.

November marks Carol Tracy’s 25th Anniversary with the Women’s Law Project

Speaking of anniversaries, we’re preparing to celebrate Carol Tracy’s 25th anniversary leading the helm at the only public interest legal organization in Pennsylvania devoted to women’s rights. We hope you will celebrate with us in person at the fabulous party we are hosting in Philadelphia on December 4.

You can register for the party here. It will feature delicious dinner by Bistro St. Tropez and a wine and beer open bar. The party is very kid-friendly, with face painting and balloons.

We are also seeking sponsors for the party. The Women’s Law Project relies on generous donations from supporters like you to fund our work.


March to End Rape Culture in Philadelphia

Women’s Law Project was a proud co-sponsor of the March to End Rape Culture in Philadelphia, which took place in Philadelphia on October 3. WLP’s Tara Murtha spoke at the event, along with Nellie Fitzpatrick, Mayor Nutter’s liaison to the LGBTQ community, Amanda Spitfire, and a host of other experts, advocates and activists. It was a great day.

Activists gathered outside of City Hall in Philadelphia to march against rape culture.

Activists gathered outside of City Hall in Philadelphia to march against rape culture.

Paid Sick Days in Pittsburgh

Women’s Law Project has advocated alongside many passionate allies to bring paid sick days to Pittsburgh. We are pleased to share the news that the ordinance goes into effect in January.  However, a legal challenge to the ordinance recently was filed by the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association and a group of Pittsburgh-area restaurants/businesses.  Stay tuned for further updates.


Protecting Pregnant Workers

On Thursday, October 8, the PA House Labor & Industry Committee held public hearings to explore these two bills in the PA Agenda for Women’s Health:

The Pennsylvania Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (HB1176) would require covered employers to make reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions unless those accommodations would prove an undue hardship on the business.

The Sanitary Conditions for Nursing Mothers (HB1100) would help salaried women not covered by the Affordable Care Act and require their employers to provide break time and a private, sanitary space to express breast milk.


WLP attorney Amal Bass testified at the hearings, which went very well. (You can read about it here.) Along with the rest of the PA Campaign for Women’s Health, we are continuing to call for the Pennsylvania House Labor & Industry Committee to vote on and pass bills to protect pregnant and breastfeeding workers in Pennsylvania.


We released a new publication from The Alliance

There are only five state-based legal non-profits in the country that focus on advancing women’s and LGBT rights, and the Women’s Law Project is one of them. The other four organizations are Legal Voice (Washington state), Gender Justice (Upper Midwest),Southwest Women’s Law Center (New Mexico), and California Women’s Law Center.

The fight for our rights has always been on the ground and in the states, through the coordinated campaign of state-level legislative attacks on abortion access that has dominated the landscape, and headlinesin the last few years has made that reality abundantly clear. Realizing the necessity of building more power among advocates on the front lines, the Women’s Law Project met with the other four organizations to form a collaborative project we call The Alliance: State Advocates for Women’s Rights and Gender Justice.

We are proud to share the latest report from the Alliance, which was a year and a half in the making: The Road Ahead: Gender Equality After Hobby Lobby.



In Pennsylvania, a bill has been introduced to stop reimbursements on preventative healthcare and family planning services at Planned Parenthood facilities. If passed, the bill would eliminate the ability of women and men to receive subsidized family planning services at Planned Parenthood health centers.

We demand evidence-based healthcare policy and equal access to reproductive healthcare. We continue to #StandwithPP. If you do too, please make your voice heard by signing this petition.


Carol Tracy at the Pennsylvania NOW Convention

Carol Tracy, along with LaTasha Mayes from New Voices and Brenda Barron from Keystone Progress, led a workshop at the NOW Conference discussing the low status of Pennsylvania women in most national surveys on women’s health, economic status and well-being and the new Campaign for Women’s Health, which is a pro-active, pro-choice campaign with the specific purpose of improving the health and economic status of all Pennsylvania women.

Carol also addressed the AAUW conference on Gender Equality in Pennsylvania.  We are proud to say that the AAUW of Pennsylvania has joined the Campaign for Women’s Health.

If you’d like to get in touch, learn more about our work or request an interview with one of our attorneys, contact Tara Murtha at 

About womenslawproject

The Women's Law Project creates a more just and equitable society by advancing the rights and status of all women throughout their lives. To this end, we engage in high-impact litigation, advocacy, and education.
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