Lilly Ledbetter: The Speech You Didn’t See

Lilly Ledbetter is the Goodyear employee who sued for sex discrimination after a lifetime of pay raises that were less than those received by her male counterparts. She won her lawsuit, but the Supreme Court overturned the decision because she did not file a suit within 6 months of her first discriminatory pay raise. (She of course didn’t know about the disparity till near the end of her career.) This led to the Fair Pay Restoration Act, which John McCain opposed, saying that women just need more training not equal pay. She spoke at the Democratic Convention, but I’ve seen many people complaining that this was not carried on most TV stations. Her speech is important (and short!). See it here. Or read it here.

Fight Assault on Contraception

From the ACLU’s Blog of Rights:

Last Thursday the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released proposed regulations (PDF) that could seriously undermine women’s access to reproductive health services, including birth control and abortion. Now the public has 30 days to let the Bush administration know precisely what we think of these regulations…

What’s really new about these proposed regulations is that they appear to take patients’ health needs out of the equation. They expand the ability of health care workers to refuse to provide complete and accurate information and counseling to women who seek services. Moreover, both the regulations, and Secretary of HHS Michael Leavitt’s public comments about them, leave the door open as to whether institutions and individuals can refuse to provide contraception.

Make no mistake: that lack of clarity is intentional. As the Washington Post reports, “…when pressed about whether the regulation would protect health-care workers who consider birth control pills, Plan B and other forms of contraception to be equivalent to abortion, HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt said: ‘This regulation does not seek to resolve any ambiguity in that area.’” Indeed, the Wall Street Journal notes Leavitt’s admission that some medical providers may want to “press the definition.”

The deadline for feedback on this is 20 September, and volume of replies is very important, so please go here— it only takes a few seconds– to let them know what you think.