Womens Rights Tag - ACLU of North Carolina http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/Latest.html Mon, 22 May 2017 13:17:56 -0400 en-gb Groups Ask Court to Strike Down Unconstitutional N.C. Abortion Ban http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/groups-ask-court-to-strike-down-unconstitutional-n-c-abortion-ban.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/groups-ask-court-to-strike-down-unconstitutional-n-c-abortion-ban.html

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Abortion providers who are challenging North Carolina’s unconstitutional law that prevents doctors from providing abortion care to a woman after the twentieth week of pregnancy yesterday asked a federal court for summary judgement in their case.

In their motion, the groups representing the doctors – which include the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood – argue that North Carolina’s law clearly violates a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and must be struck down.

“As a physician, not being able to provide a woman the care she needs because of an arbitrary deadline based on politics, not medicine, is devastating,” said Dr. Elizabeth Deans, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “A woman and her doctor should be the ones making medical decisions throughout her pregnancy. But this law enables politicians to intrude into the patient-physician relationship and prevents doctors from providing our patients with high-quality care when they need it.”

The lawsuit was filed on November 30 on behalf of a group of North Carolina physicians who provide abortion and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. The plaintiffs say that North Carolina’s law unnecessarily and unconstitutionally prevents them from providing needed care to patients, denies women the ability to make decisions about their own bodies, threatens the health and wellbeing of women, prevents some women with fewer resources from accessing treatment at all, and prevents doctors from fulfilling their professional responsibilities and obligations as physicians.

A woman may seek an abortion after the twentieth week of pregnancy for a number of reasons, from delays in finding out she is pregnant, to not being able to afford the procedure, to a lack of doctors who provide abortion care near her, or barriers put in place by politicians, such as bans on abortion coverage.

North Carolina’s law contains only an extremely narrow exception for immediate medical emergencies that puts women’s health at risk. The ban forces physicians caring for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to delay necessary care until her condition imposes an immediate threat of death or major medical damage. The ban also contains no exceptions for a woman who receives a diagnosis that the fetus will not survive after birth.

The case, Bryant et al. v. Woodall et al., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

This filing and supporting documents can be found below:

Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment

Memorandum of Law In Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment

Bryant Declaration

Black Declaration

Gray Declaration

Background:

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is unconstitutional to ban abortion before viability. In 2016, North Carolina amended its law to further narrow health exceptions to the 20-week ban — following a five year period when the state enacted thirteen abortion restrictions. Legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. One out of three U.S. women who has reached the age of 45 has had at least one abortion and approximately 61% of women obtaining abortions already have one child or more. These laws — and the extreme agenda they are part of — are deeply unpopular with the public. When Americans understand the real-world impact of 20-week bans, a strong majority of voters oppose them.

 

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mrivera [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Molly Rivera) Reproductive Rights Thu, 15 Dec 2016 08:57:25 -0500
Women’s Health Groups File Legal Challenge to North Carolina Abortion Ban http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/women-s-health-groups-file-legal-challenge-to-north-carolina-abortion-ban.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/women-s-health-groups-file-legal-challenge-to-north-carolina-abortion-ban.html

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Women’s health groups today filed a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn North Carolina’s unconstitutional law that prevents doctors from providing abortion care to a woman after the twentieth week of pregnancy.

The law criminalizes abortions after the twentieth week of pregnancy and contains only the narrowest possible exception for immediate medical emergencies. The ban forces physicians caring for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to delay necessary care until her condition imposes an immediate threat of death or major medical damage. The ban also contains no exceptions for a woman who receives the devastating diagnosis that the fetus will not survive after birth. In other cases, financial hurdles, barriers put in place by politicians, lack of a nearby provider, or clinic closures can make it impossible for a woman to get an abortion as soon as she would like.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of North Carolina abortion providers who say that North Carolina’s law unnecessarily and unconstitutionally prevents them from providing needed care to patients, denies women the ability to make decisions about their own bodies, threatens the health and wellbeing of women, prevents some women with less resources from accessing treatment at all, and prevents doctors from fulfilling their professional responsibilities and obligations as physicians.

The case, Bryant et al. v. Woodall et al., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“A woman must be able to make health decisions at different points in her pregnancy that are best for her circumstances, including whether to end a pregnancy, without interference from politicians,” said Irena Como, Staff Attorney for the ACLU of North Carolina. “It is just plain wrong to force a woman in need of medical care to travel long distances out of her home state, or to prevent her from receiving that care altogether.”

“At Planned Parenthood, our top priority is ensuring that women have access to the health care they need, including safe, legal abortion.” Jenny Black, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said. “We are fighting for the patients who rely on us for high quality care and will continue to do so until each North Carolinian has the ability to make health care decisions based on the best advice of their expert medical provider.”

“Health care should be based on a woman’s individual circumstances, not dictated by politicians fixated on interfering in her personal, private decisions,” said Genevieve Scott, Staff Attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We vow to fight this unconstitutional ban so North Carolina women can get safe, legal, compassionate abortion services.”

Background:

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is unconstitutional to ban abortion before viability. In 2016, North Carolina amended its law to further narrow health exceptions to the 20-week ban — following a five year period when the state enacted thirteen abortion restrictions.

Legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. One out of three U.S. women who has reached the age of 45 has had at least one abortion and approximately 61% of women obtaining abortions already have one child or more.

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mrivera [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Molly Rivera) Reproductive Rights Wed, 30 Nov 2016 09:33:17 -0500
My School Requires all Girls to Wear Skirts. I’m Fighting for My Right to Wear Pants. http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/my-school-requires-all-girls-to-wear-skirts-i-m-fighting-for-my-right-to-wear-pants.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/my-school-requires-all-girls-to-wear-skirts-i-m-fighting-for-my-right-to-wear-pants.html

By Keely Burks

I am like a lot of eighth grade students. I try to do my best in class, I like sports and playing outside, and I regularly go to Bible classes. I also believe in standing up for myself and others. So last year, along with some friends, I created a petition to ask my school to change its policy that says girls have to wear skirts to school or risk being punished.

I go to Charter Day School, a K-8 public charter school in Leland, North Carolina. Like a lot of schools, Charter Day has a uniform policy. That policy says that all female students have to wear skirts that are “knee-length or longer” and that we can’t wear pants or shorts, except on gym days. Boys are able to wear pants and shorts every day. My friends and I got more than 100 signatures on our petition, but it was taken from us by a teacher and we never got it back. Some parents asked about changing the policy, but the school said that making girls wear skirts is supposed to promote “chivalry” and “traditional values.”   

Now we are turning to the ACLU for help. This week the ACLU of North Carolina and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project filed a lawsuit on behalf of me and two other students that says Charter Day’s uniform policy violates the law and discriminates against girls.   

Personally, I hate wearing skirts. Even with tights and leggings, skirts are cold to wear in the winter, and they’re not as comfortable as shorts in the summer. I love playing outside, especially soccer and gymnastics. When we go outside for recess, the boys in my class will sometimes play soccer or do flips and cartwheels. But I feel like I can’t because I’m wearing a skirt.

And it’s not just when I go outside. When I’m sitting in class, I have to pay attention to the position of my legs when I’m in a skirt, and it can be very distracting and uncomfortable. When I was in first grade and we sat on the floor, my teacher told all the girls that we couldn’t sit “criss-cross applesauce” like the boys in class. Instead, the teacher said we had to sit on the floor with our legs curled to the side because we were in skirts. When I said I didn’t want to sit that way, my teacher took me aside and put me in time out.

And I’ve was even punished on the last day of school one year for wearing shorts when I mistakenly thought it was permitted. I had to sit in the office all day  and wasn’t allowed to go back to class until my mom could come pick me up—all because I wasn’t wearing a skirt. 

In the year 2016, I don’t think anyone should have a problem with young women wearing pants. There are so many professional women – businesswomen, doctors, and world leaders – who wear pants every day.  If I had the choice, I would wear pants or shorts to school every day. Some of my classmates would probably still want to wear skirts—but that should be their decision, not the school’s. Either way, we should have a choice.

I hope that by challenging my school’s policy, I can help other girls who want to go to school without being stereotyped, or who just want to play outside or sit in class without feeling uncomfortable.

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Student and Youth Rights Tue, 01 Mar 2016 11:11:26 -0500
Brunswick Co. Students Challenge Public Charter School’s Policy Requiring Girls to Wear Skirts http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/brunswick-co-students-challenge-public-charter-school-s-policy-requiring-girls-to-wear-skirts.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/brunswick-co-students-challenge-public-charter-school-s-policy-requiring-girls-to-wear-skirts.html

LELAND, N.C. – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the law firm of Ellis and Winters LLP filed a federal court challenge yesterday on behalf of three Brunswick County students against a section of a K-8 public charter school’s dress code that requires female students to wear skirts to school and prohibits them from wearing pants or shorts.

In the lawsuit against Charter Day School in Leland, North Carolina, three students – ages 5, 10, and 14 – say that wearing skirts restricts their movement, inhibits them in school situations such as playing at recess or sitting on the floor, and causes them to feel uncomfortably cold in the winter.

“There are a lot of situations – whether it’s playing outside, sitting on the floor, or trying to stay warm in the cold – where wearing a skirt makes my daughter uncomfortable and distracts her from learning,” said Bonnie Peltier, the mother of a 5-year-old Charter Day School student who is a client in the case. “I’m not against a dress code, but it’s 2016. Girls should be allowed to wear pants as part of the dress code. As a parent, nothing is more important to me than my children, and I don’t want an outdated policy to get in the way of their education.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina on behalf of Peltier’s daughter and two other female students, argues that the requirement for girls to wear skirts is based on stereotypes that constitute unlawful sex discrimination. It names Charter Day School, Inc., members of the school’s board of trustees, and the Roger Bacon Academy, Inc., as defendants. The case is being brought under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in schools that accept federal funds, and the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, as well as a similar provision in the North Carolina Constitution. It asks the court to block Charter Day School from enforcing its ban on girls wearing pants or shorts.

“Although many girls may not mind wearing skirts, no one should be forced to do so based on outdated sex stereotypes,” said Galen Sherwin, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.  “Requiring all girls to wear skirts reinforces the false notion that girls are less physically active, and should behave in a more typically feminine manner, than boys. Our clients correctly believe that they are equal to boys and should be treated equally by their school—and luckily, the law backs them up.”

Charter Day School’s uniform policy requires girls to wear skirts, skorts, or jumpers that must be “knee-length or longer.” Violating the uniform policy can result in discipline or even expulsion, according to the school’s handbook.

In an email cited in the lawsuit, Baker A. Mitchell, Jr., the school’s founder and primary author of the uniform policy, says that the requirement that girls wear skirts was based, among other things, on “chivalry” and “traditional values.” Mitchell’s email cites the 1999 Columbine school shootings as motivating the school “to preserve chivalry and respect among young women and men.”

Charter Day School is a public school according to state law and the North Carolina Board of Education. It is prohibited from discriminating against students on the basis of gender, and, because it also receives federal financial assistance, is subject to Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination.

More information:

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Student and Youth Rights Tue, 01 Mar 2016 08:14:27 -0500