The Nuns Are Back on the Bus

“Do you know how to floss?” Sister Mary Ellen asks me, deadpan. “Because we do.” The “we” she’s referring to is a group of 10 Catholic nuns traveling the country by bus to spread the gospel of tax reform. And the flossing she’s talking about isn’t dental hygiene; it’s a deceptively difficult dance move. “We just read a tutorial last night and practiced in our chairs, but if you know how to do it for real, we’re looking for some teachers,” Sister Mary Ellen notes. Sister Susan, I’m told, has perfected the dance, and she’s hoping to show me. But we’re in a moving bus. The other sisters warn her, laughing. “Don’t break a hip!” “Don’t fall down!” Susan McCarthy, a steadfast Sister of the Divine Compassion, is undeterred. The 73-year-old stands up in front of me to demonstrate, shaking her hips from side to side while her arms wave in an opposite motion. “Something like that?” she grins at me.

Wanna Save Roe v. Wade? Don't Look To The Courts

With the political balance of the Supreme Court now in the hands of anti-choice conservatives, reproductive rights advocates across the United States are bracing for a future without Roe v. Wade. But what if there were another way to protect abortion rights, this time in the Constitution? The Equal Rights Amendment, which would prohibit sex discrimination the way the Constitution currently prohibits discrimination based on race, religion and national origin, could do just that. The ERA would provide the framework for an equality argument: Women’s equality necessarily requires reproductive and bodily autonomy, and without control over our bodies, women cannot participate as full and equal citizens in this country. But ERA advocates are torn between conflicting strategies when it comes to linking the amendment to abortion rights.

Crisis pregnancy centers aren’t the only ones putting limitations on women’s reproductive care

All over the country, crisis pregnancy centers openly lie to patients about what services they offer, often preventing women from making fully informed decisions about their reproductive health. But they’re not the only health-care providers withholding information in this way. Catholic hospitals and affiliated doctors’ offices have long had religious limitations on the reproductive health care they offer — and their patients may have no idea.

Christian Ethicist Says to Trust Women on Abortion

According to Christian ethicist Rebecca Todd Peters, women are continually asked to justify their abortions in response to a default assumption that abortion is morally wrong. This assumption is incorrect, she argues in her new book Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice, and it stems from a particular theological framework that values motherhood over the needs, decisions, and desires of individual women. For Peters, the moral status of a fetus is an ethical and theological question that should be asked and answered by women themselves, not by legislators or judges. Her Christian ethic for abortion is not built on Scripture, but rather “a feminist theological perspective that affirms both the goodness and justice of God.” In other words, she’s not interested in telling us what God wants, other than to say that God wants justice, which means moral agency for women.

When Women Veterans Become the Unseen Victims of PTSD

In 2005, Elana Duffy was an Army interrogator deployed to Iraq when her vehicle was hit by an IED. Duffy was knocked out and bled briefly from her ears. She didn’t feel she was badly injured though, and continued on with her mission. “I didn’t want to get pulled off the road,” she tells Playboy. “My job was my job, I wanted to keep on doing it.” When she started experiencing symptoms like bad headaches, Duffy hid them: “I covered up for as long as I possibly could.” Part of the reason she kept quiet, she said, was the fact that she is a woman. Standing at 5’4” and weighing just over 100 pounds, Duffy had worked hard to gain the respect of the infantrymen she served with. “It took initial weeks or months to prove myself to every platoon out there,” she says. Duffy may be part of a small group of women who have received a Purple Heart, but her experience as a female military service member is quite common. The Service Women's Action Network recently convened a set of focus groups to ask women veterans and service members about their mental health experiences. Nearly all of the groups said they had developed resilience while in the military. But when they dug deeper, the women came to agree it was “fake resilience” that didn’t contribute to their mental well-being.

A Christian Argument for Abortion: A Q&A With Rebecca Todd Peters

Abortion is a moral issue, just not in the way we’ve been taught, argues Rebecca Todd Peters, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church and professor of religious studies at Elon University. She is also the author of the new book Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice. Rather than an abstract moral question, she argues, abortion is a morally valid option to a concrete question women face on a regular basis: “What should I do when faced with an unplanned, unwanted, or medically compromised pregnancy?” I recently spoke with Peters about the book and her vision for the role of progressive, feminist Christian theology in contemporary abortion debates.

The Rise of Male Supremacist Groups

Male supremacy is also too often chalked up to the acts of individuals, when these dangerous ideologies, which have not only tolerated but encouraged violence, stem from gender and culture norms that affect everyone. “One of the things that happens when we focus on extreme examples of hate groups online is that we forget the hate groups are just examples of hate that exists broadly,” said Adrienne Shaw, an assistant professor in Temple University whose research focuses on gender and online culture. “When we just point at them and say those groups are bad, we forget that those groups came out of the same society we’re critiquing them from.”

‘Continuum Of Harm’: The Military Has Been Fighting Sexual Assault In Its Ranks For Decades, But Women Say It’s Still Happening

As the military faces scrutiny over sexual assault in its ranks, less attention has been focused on the wide array of behaviors that reinforce a culture in which assault is allowed to occur. The Department of Defense has identified a number of factors that contribute to a “continuum of harm” in which a profusion of seemingly lesser offenses such as sexist jokes and bullying create an environment in which assault not only takes place but is tolerated. These include high levels of workplace hostility, the underrepresentation of females in the workplace, and “an unhealthy enlisted and officer climate with respect to sexual assault.”

How Religious Health Care Hurts Women of Color

According to new research by the Columbia Law School Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, women of color are even more likely to be treated at Catholic hospitals where religious doctrines dictate medical practices. It’s not news that women of color—and black women in particular—face greater barriers to health care across a wide range of services. This so-called health care gap stems from a number of factors, including economic inequality and structural discrimination, which often work in tandem. The impact of Catholic ethics restrictions on women of color should be examined alongside these trends.

How to End the Silence Around Sexual-Harassment Settlements

When the news of Harvey Weinstein’s serial sexual predation broke in early October, part of what was so shocking was that many of the women harassed by Weinstein had privately come forward with their claims, only to be paid off by his company in exchange for their silence. To address the harms that confidentiality requirements impose, lawmakers in a handful of states have floated bills to bar nondisclosure provisions in employment contracts and in settlements relating to claims of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment. But some advocates warn that barring confidentiality provisions may hurt victims in the process.

#MeToo Movement Brings Busy Times for Labor Lawyers

What began in October with reports about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged serial sexual predation has sparked a viral engagement with the #metoo social media movement, a national conversation about sexual misconduct, and a wave of high-profile workplace sexual harassment allegations in entertainment, media and politics that shows no sign of letting up. On Monday, Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski announced via his lawyers at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart that he will retire immediately following allegations of sexual misconduct from more than a dozen women. The cultural phenomenon has created work for lawyers, from creating new internal policies at corporations, to advising them on upcoming legislation that could fundamentally change how sexual harassment allegations are settled.

The Career Coaches Helping Women Leave Big Law

Elena Deutsch spent seven years as a career coach and leadership consultant hired by law firms to advise rising associates. During that time, most of the associates she coached one-on-one were women.“When I would ask them about their partnership goals, whether they wanted to make partner, many would look over their shoulders, and kind of lean in and ask if they could really talk to me about this,” Deutsch said. “And when I assured them of confidentiality, they would share that they weren’t sure.”

Why Women Leave Big Law To Start Their Own Firms

Peggy McCausland was tired of her firm’s networking events.The potential clientele she wanted to woo — business women — weren’t showing up, she said. So McCausland conceived her own networking event that would draw them — golf lessons, catered meals and shop talk — and asked for the necessary marketing funds. She was a partner at the firm, Blank Rome, after all. “The response I got from [a senior partner] was, ‘Where are you going to find a golf course that’s gonna let a bunch of amateur women come hack it to bits?’” McCausland recalled ten years later.

Mistaken For The Court Reporter: Litigating As A Woman

Ask a woman in litigation if she’s ever been mistaken for a court reporter, and there’s a good chance she’ll say yes. Teri Drew, who specializes in the defense of commercial liability claims, said it happened to her just a few months ago. “I went to a plaintiffs’ firm for a deposition, and the receptionist said, ‘OK you’re going to be in the conference room. You can go in because I know you need to set up.’” Drew recounted to Big Law Business.
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