Feb 3 • 7M

Is the ERA the Law of the Land or Not?

The amendment process is a clusterf*%$

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Welcome back Chaise Lounge readers and an especially warm welcome to our newest subscribers! This week we will take a look at some especially big topics for women. The ERA should have been written into the Constitution last week, but of course, it would be too much for this country to actually give women equality under the law without a fight. We will also take a look at some innovative ideas that the Biden administration could implement to support abortion rights at the federal level. So let’s get to it!


In Economics

Forty-six percent of women training as truck drivers face sexual advances

If you are training to become a truck driver, part of the training includes riding with an experienced truck driver on long-haul trips. This means that trainees must sleep in the same cab as the experienced driver who is usually male. For women who are coming into the field, this can be problematic. In a recent survey of women drivers, 46% reported that they had an unwanted sexual advance made at them while training. Given the supply chain issues that the trucking industry is facing, it is time for them to make women more comfortable entering the field. The white paper published by the Women in Trucking Association recommends: using same-gender training partners when possible, if not possible then providing funding for one person to stay in a motel room, utilizing day cabs and local routes for training, and installing cameras and sound equipment along with panic buttons in the cabs and sleeping areas. While the number of women drivers has increased by 88%, they still only comprise 8% of drivers. Perhaps if some of these recommendations are implemented, more women would be interested.

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In Politics

Is the ERA the law of the land or not?

On Wednesday, the Equal Rights Amendment hit the mark for becoming the 28th amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Having been ratified by 38 states on January 27, 2020, the required two-year waiting period was completed and the amendment should be added to the Constitution. But the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) ruled in 2020 that the amendment was not valid because it had not been ratified within the time window that Congress established. However, the Constitution does not say anything about time limits, Congress just made them up. On Wednesday, the OLC produced a new memo stating that “whether the E.R.A. is part of the Constitution will be resolved not by an O.L.C. opinion but by the courts and Congress.” This is a frustrating situation because while the language in Article V is clear, the process that many amendments have followed has been cloudy. I invite you to read more about this important topic in the linked article.

As Kati Hornung, who runs Vote Equality, a group focused on getting ERA to become a Constitutional amendment, says, “Until the world is clamoring for this, the world will do nothing.” Vote Equality provides toolkits for those who want to push their local governments to support the ERA. If you are ready to demand the ERA become the 28th amendment, I recommend you take a look at their website and get going!

In Healthcare

It is hard to believe that in this day and age, a would-be politician could not only privately believe rape is God’s will, but would not understand the hurt that comes from his comments. Let’s hope the people of Michigan agree that rape is never God’s will.

What can the Biden administration do to support abortion on the federal level?

A recent opinion piece in the New York Times outlined several steps that the Biden administration could take to protect access to abortion. The suggestions require out-of-the-box thinking and challenge the administration to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Because federal laws supersede state laws, the administration should use its power where it can. Here are three suggestions from the piece that could make a big difference in abortion access:

  1. Because the FDA recently changed its guidance on mifepristone, the abortion pill, allowing it to be prescribed via telemedicine and picked up at a pharmacy, any state laws that force patients to go to a clinic and take the pills in front of a doctor could be challenged.

  2. The administration could allow abortion providers to lease federal property in which to operate.

  3. The administration could expand access to telemedicine for abortion. Part of the infrastructure bill includes expanding broadband, and this could help patients access abortion. They also call for adopting interstate licensure compacts that would allow doctors in one state to prescribe abortion medication across state lines.

Of course, there will be court challenges to any of these suggestions, but it is time for pro-choice supporters to be innovative in their thinking and trying out ideas to see where they land. The anti-choice side has been doing this with great success for decades. It is time to go on the offensive with new ideas.

North Carolina passes law allowing birth control pills and patches to be distributed by pharmacists

In a surprise to many North Carolinians, the overwhelmingly conservative legislature passed a bill allowing pharmacists to distribute birth control pills and patches to patients after they complete a survey. The law went into effect on February 1. Thanks to Representative Julie Von Haefen for supporting this bill and another one to eliminate copays for birth control that did not pass (yet!). Keep up the pressure!


Recommended reading

This very long article from last week’s New York Times is a deep dive into the history of women in the field of coding. It discusses how early coders were primarily women, but as their worth and salaries became evident, women were forced out of the field. A fascinating and frustrating read for sure, but well worth the time.

I recommend Dr. Nicole Bedera’s recently published dissertation, Settling for Less: How Organizations Shape Survivors’ Legal Ideologies Around College Sexual Assault, is an exploration of the ways that college administrations distort the Title IX process of investigating sexual assaults to disadvantage survivors leading to feelings of mistrust in institutions and retraumatization. She plans a book on the topic as well.


Just for Fun

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