Contributions to Justice
Our Executive Director Carol Tracy celebrated her 25th anniversary leading the Women’s Law Project by traveling to Washington, DC to be honored with the President’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Justice from the American Society of Criminology. We celebrated with 25 reasons to give $25 to support our work.
The Campus Rape Crisis
The Hunting Ground premiered on CNN. The new film from the Oscar-nominated filmmakers behind The Invisible War explores the problem of sexual assault on college campuses, and the broad failure of university administrators to protect victims and hold assailants accountable for their actions. As much as The Hunting Ground is about failures of our society and institutions, it is also an illuminating profile of the college activists who, by working together, transformed themselves from rape survivors to advocates demanding reform.
Earlier in the month, we attended a screening at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg, followed by a panel discussion. The screening was hosted by the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, and attended by representatives of at least 33 colleges and universities.
Holding Domestic Abusers Accountable
We joined our friends at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence by advocating for a bill that would help prevent homicides by holding more domestic violence abusers accountable. The bill is still under negotiation, and has not yet passed. Stay tuned.
WLP Board Member Ellen Doyle on the so-called “Porngate” Scandal
On November 5, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette published a powerful editorial written by WLP board member and attorney Ellen Doyle, calling for the release of all the emails associated with the so-called “Porngate” scandal. “Women lawyers and their clients need to know that their claims and arguments will receive impartial consideration in the Pennsylvania courts. What confidence can we have that we will receive such consideration when we know that Justice Eakin and his close friends’ idea of humor includes circulating a photograph of a naked overweight woman on her hands and knees wearing pig ears, snout and tail with a reference to an infestation of swine flu, inferring that all women are pigs?”
Read the rest of Doyle’s piece here.
Fighting Clinic Violence & Protecting Patients
On Friday, November 6, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit heard oral arguments in Bruni v. City of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh buffer zone case. The Bruni case served as a litmus test for anti-choice activists adamant about getting as close as physically possible to patients outside of healthcare facilities, and they lost—then appealed. Women’s Law Project attorneys and Thomas E. Zemaitis, a partner at the private law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh Pro-Choice Escorts in July.
Philadelphia Empowers Workers to Fight Wage Theft
On November 11, we celebrated when Philadelphia City Council established an office to investigate wage theft, an ordinance we supported. The ordinance was proposed in the wake of a startling report that revealed that in an average work week in Philadelphia, 36,435 low-wage workers experienced a minimum wage violation. Philadelphia employers who violate the law are estimated to steal 15% or more of a low-wage employee’s paycheck in a given week. This means the worker loses about $51 – $87 per week. Now, victims of wage theft have an opportunity to rectify the situation.
Pittsburgh City Workers Fought for $15—And Won
We also celebrated when Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto signed an executive order that will mandate an eventual minimum wage of $15 for employees of the city of Pittsburgh beginning in January 2017.
New Members in the PA Campaign for Women’s Health
As founding members of the PA Campaign for Women’s Health, we welcomed the Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition and the American Association of University Women, Pennsylvania to the PA Campaign for Women’s Health, a growing collaboration of organizations calling for evidence-based policies supporting women’s health and economic justice in Pennsylvania.
U.S. Supreme Court Takes Up Texas Abortion Case; Women’s Law Project To Submit Brief
The Supreme Court has decided to hear Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, potentially the most important reproductive rights case in over 20 years—and the Women’s Law Project is preparing a brief on behalf of abortion care providers. The case concerns a Texas statute that requires abortion providers to upgrade to ambulatory surgical center standards and to acquire admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. These provisions, if upheld, would close all but a handful of abortion care facilities in the nation’s second largest state. Whole Woman’s Health could further weaken abortion rights, or it could be the case that brings clarity to the constitutional standard governing abortion care—a regulation creates an “undue burden” if it places substantial obstacles in the path of a woman seeking an abortion—which the Court adopted in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 Women’s Law Project case. Stay tuned!
On the Attack of Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs
We #StandwithPP every day, and continue to do so in the face of violence and the unconscionable response of anti-choice advocates who have publicly condoned that violence by dismissing the cold-blooded murders of 29-year-old Iraq veteran Ke’Arre Stewart, 35-year-old mother of two Jennifer Markovsky and 44-year-old campus police officer Garrett Swasey as collateral damage in the quest to stop women from accessing affordable reproductive healthcare and legal abortion.
Celebrate Carol’s 25th Anniversary with us This Friday
It is not too late for you to let us know you’ll accept our invitation to celebrate with us in person at our party this Friday evening, December 4. It’s a fabulous party every year and we’d love to see you. Food by Bistro St. Tropez, and children are welcome.
In Case You Missed It: October at the Women’s Law Project.
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