"Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes"
-- Maggie Kuhn
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Make NOW Stronger Than Ever
National NOW is currently seeking comments and feedback from all members on its proposals for the modernization of NOW. This is a HUGE effort and the culmination of two years of work meant to ensure that our organization remains strong and vibrant for future generations. Please make sure that your voice is heard on how best to move forward to remain powerful and advance women’s rights! It’s not too late to catch up on the webinars and participate in the discussion. Comments can be submitted until Wednesday, June 10th.
Stop the Shackling of Women During Childbirth
We Must Enforce the Law -
In 2009, New York State passed the Anti-Shackling Law, banning the shackling of pregnant women during childbirth. Despite the law, the Correctional Association of New York found in a recent survey that 23 out of 27 women they interviewed who gave birth after the law went into effect, were shackled at least once during childbirth and in violation of the law. The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has done some work in halting the use of shackles immediately before women give birth, but women are still restrained en route to the hospital, during labor and within hours after giving birth. As well, every woman surveyed reported being shackled anytime they left the prison. The women described these experiences as "horrible," "painful," and "degrading."
Reproductive Injustice - The State of Reproductive Healthcare for Women in NYS Prisons
Huffington Post - Report Finds Incarcerated Women in NY Shackled During Labor
How to Take Action
Read and share the report with your networks using these hashtags: #EndReproInjustice, #StopShackling and #EndMassIncarceration
For more information on how to get involved, check out the Women in Prison Project of the Correctional Association of New York.
Support Transparency for Birth Control Coverage!
Push for passage of A.5143-2015/S.3151-2015
Relates to employee notification of contraceptive coverage.
This legislation will ensure that women are notified of any changes to the contraceptive coverage they are provided through their employer-based health insurance plan, and women seeking employment are easily able to obtain information about any restrictions on the contraceptive coverage offered in their potential employee health insurance plan. The proposed legislation is a response to the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The legislation will require employers who intend to use the Hobby Lobby exemption to provide 90 days notice to employees before implementing any changes, restrictions, or termination of contraceptive coverage. The employer must also notify employee representatives, the Department of Labor, the Department of Financial Services, and the Attorney General. Additionally, this bill requires employers to inform job-seekers about any restrictions on contraceptive coverage.
Sponsors: Assemblywoman Rebecca A. Seawright | Senator Toby Ann Stavisky
Learn More: Bill
How to Take Action
Call Your Assembly member and Senator and ask them to support transparency on birth control coverage NOW!
Here’s what you can say: “My name is [____] and I live in [neighborhood]. I’m calling to ask you to support A.5143/S.3151, which would require employers to disclose any restrictions on the coverage of birth control in the health insurance plan they offer their employees. Contraception is an essential part of women’s healthcare, and women need to know if their current or future employer is going to cover it.”
Pass Protections for Pregnant Workers
This bill (A.4272/S.8) will ensure that women who are pregnant are able to receive “reasonable accommodations” on the job, in order to continue working throughout their pregnancies. Employers are protected from providing any accommodations that would cause a severe hardship on the employer. The accommodations are generally simple, such as more frequent bathroom breaks, less heavy lifting, or providing a stool for sitting. New York City has already passed and implemented these protections.
Sponsors: Assemblywoman Gunther | State Senator Hannon
Learn More: Bill | Happening in NY
How to Take Action
Call Your Assembly member and Senator and ask them to protect pregnant workers from discrimination now!
Here’s what you can say: “My name is [____] and I live in [neighborhood]. I’m calling to ask you to support the Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Women (A.4272/S.8). No pregnant woman should have to choose between her job and a healthy pregnancy. Seventy-five percent of women in the workforce will become pregnant while working, yet too many women are forced to take unpaid leave or are even fired after requesting a modest change like a chair or extra bathroom break. This has to stop.”
Stop Sexual Harassment in All Workplaces
This legislation (A.5360/S.2) will extend protections from sexual harassment to all private workplaces in our state. Currently, employers with fewer than four employees are exempt from New York State’s sexual harassment laws. This means that employees at more than 60% of private employers in New York State are not protected from sexual harassment under state law. If we take sexual harassment seriously, then we need to ensure that all workers are protected.
Sponsor: Assemblywoman Galef | State Senator Valesky
Learn more: Bill | NOW-NYC on Sexual Harassment
How to Take Action
Call Your Assembly member and Senator and ask them to support the expansion of sexual harassment protections in our law for employees statewide, regardless of the size of the workplace.
Here’s what you can say: “My name is [____] and I live in [neighborhood]. I’m calling to ask you to support the expansion of our sexual harassment laws to include all employers, no matter how large or small. Especially in small workplaces with no human resources department, women need to know that our laws protect them from sexual harassment on the job.”