The lawsuit alleges that the VA makes military sexual trauma survivors who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) go through more procedural hurdles than other veterans to receive disability benefits. For example, a veteran suffering from PTSD from combat must submit only a statement to receive benefits, while veterans who are MST survivors must submit additional evidence like court documents and prove that their PTSD was caused by their military service. Further, disability claims for MST survivors are approved at a 16 to 30 percent lower rate than other veterans. The lawsuit specifically alleges gender discrimination, against both male and female MST survivors, especially noting that only 37 percent of the disability claims of male MST survivors are granted.
"The VA knows the current process makes veterans who've been harmed by military sexual harassment and assault jump through more hoops than other PTSD claimants to apply for and receive PTSD disability benefits," said Anu Bhagwati, Executive Director of SWAN and former Marine Corps captain. "But they refuse to change their regulations. The result of this discrimination is that survivors of military sexual harassment and assault are denied life-saving benefits and critical income to support themselves and their families."
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .