Health Care

The Labor Prospect: Getting Sick of No Paid Sick Leave

The case for paid leave, domestic workers win minimum wage protecton, and the fight to grow union membership at McDonald's. 

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File In this Friday, Jan. 18 2013 file photo, activists hold signs during a rally at New York's City Hall to call for immediate action on paid sick days legislation in light of the continued spread of the flu. Welcome to The Labor Prospect, our weekly round-up highlighting the best reporting and latest developments in the labor movement. D espite an expanding patchwork of paid sick leave policies cropping up around the U.S., an In These Times investigation reminds us that this country is woefully behind the rest of the world in terms of such worker rights. Lacking any sort of basic safety net, nearly one-quarter of working mothers are back on the grind within just two weeks of giving birth, the report finds . As Sharon Lerner writes, “most Americans don’t realize quite how out of step we are. It’s not just wealthy, social democratic Nordic countries that make us look bad. With the exception of a few small countries like Papua New Guinea and Suriname, every...

Republicans Find Their Next Anti-Choice Innovation

(Photo: AP/Tony Dejak)
(Photo: AP/Tony Dejak) A woman walks past an abortion clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican Governor John Kasich has overseen some of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the U.S. I f you're looking for true Republican policy innovations, don't bother with tax policy or national security; the place where the GOP is really exercising its creativity is in coming up with new ways to restrict abortion rights. In the latest inspired move, Republican state legislators in Ohio have introduced a bill to make it illegal for a woman to terminate her pregnancy because she has discovered that the baby would have Down syndrome. The bill is expected to pass, and though he hasn't yet taken a position on it, it would be a shock if Governor John Kasich—who is both an opponent of abortion rights and currently in search of votes in the Republican presidential primary—didn't sign it. After it passes in Ohio (and even if by some strange turn of events it doesn't), look for identical bills to come up in...

Valuing Medicaid

Why we need it, how we should improve it.

AP Photo/Christian K. Lee
AP Photo/Christian K. Lee In this Monday, July 13, 2015 photo Earl Charles Williams Sr., 59, sits next to some of the medication he must take for his diabetes in his Chicago home. Williams was uninsured for about a year before a county-run clinic helped him sign up for care under the Affordable Care Act. J uly 30 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, the two essential pillars of public health insurance in America. Medicare, for all of its shortcomings and enormous costs, has become politically unassailable—as dear to Tea Party Republicans as it is to single-payer Democrats. Medicaid has also steadily grown. Including the closely related Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid now covers more than 70 million people. Yet it has never attained the same popularity or political security as Medicare or shed the stigma of “welfare medicine” that it acquired at its founding. Whatever happens in next year’s presidential election, Medicaid will be the center of a great...

We Don't Need 'Modern Asylums'

We need to make deinstitutionalization work for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

AP Photo/Jaime Henry-White
AP Photo/Jaime Henry-White Patient units remain unused in the Powell Building at the Central State Mental Hospital campus, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in Milledgeville, Georgia. This article appears in the Summer 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . A move is afoot to undo one of the great social policy successes of the past half-century—the commitment to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their homes and communities, rather than in institutions. Although those who propose to “bring back the asylum” point to real gaps in our current community services, their proposed solutions are misdirected. Instead of returning to the flawed models of the past, we need to strengthen community-based services that promote independence and integration, even for those with very significant disabilities. Fifty years ago, parents of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities were often advised to institutionalize those children for life...

This is What Happens When Abortion is Outlawed

Restrictive anti-abortion laws in states like Texas are forcing women into dangerous situations. 

AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca
AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca A man walks past the former site of a clinic that offered abortions in El Paso, Texas, Friday, October 3, 2014. Abortion services for many Texas women require a round trip of more than 200 miles, or a border-crossing into Mexico or New Mexico after federal appellate judges allowed full implementation of a law that has closed more than 80 percent of Texas' abortion clinics. I n Paraguay, a 10-year-old rape victim is denied an abortion —even though her stepfather is her attacker. In El Salvador, suicide is the cause of death for 57 percent of pregnant females between ages 10 and 19. In Nicaragua, doctors are anxious about even treating a miscarriage. All of these instances are the result of draconian abortion laws that have outlawed critical reproductive care in nations throughout Latin America. If stories like these seem remote to American readers, it’s because they’ve been largely eliminated through widespread access to basic abortion services beginning in...

The Trans Struggle for Justice Behind Bars is Just Beginning

Trans people nationwide have struggled successfully for basic rights in prison, but much more remains to be done. 

Project Q
Project Q Ashley Diamond at the Dragonique competition in Atlanta in 2011. This article originally appeared at Waging Nonviolence . F or the past three years, Ashley Diamond has been denied health care as well as protection from recurring violence from the men around her. But she has been fighting back—and her fight has been making headlines and wresting small changes from the Georgia Department of Corrections. Her story starkly illustrates the challenges facing trans women behind bars—from frequent violence and sexual assaults to the denial of hormones and other medical neglect. But Diamond’s experiences are far from unique, or even unusual. Nor is her decision to challenge prison policies around trans health care and safety an exception. Across the country, trans people have individually challenged and collectively organized to be free from physical, sexual and medical violence. In 2012, Ashley Diamond, a black trans woman, was sentenced and sent to a men’s prison. There, she was...

Has Child Care Policy Finally Come of Age?

The Democrats may now be turning to a long-stalled agenda for working parents. 

AP Photo/Brett Flashnick
AP Photo/Brett Flashnick A soldier visits her son at a day-care facility at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The 1989 Military Child Care Act created a system of child-care centers with features civilian parents can only dream of. In Our Hands: The Struggle for U.S. Child Care Policy By Elizabeth Palley and Corey S. Shdaimah 288 pp. New York University Press $30 T he Democratic Party is now turning to a new agenda for parents: not just an expanded earned income tax credit and child tax credit, but also paid family leave, universal preschool, and free community college. President Barack Obama encapsulated the message in his 2015 State of the Union address when he asserted that “affordable, high-quality child care … [is] not a nice-to-have—it’s a must-have.” He even made the children-as-social-good argument that’s been missing from the American discussion of family policy: “It’s time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic...

Little Magazine, Big Ideas: The American Prospect at 25

Reflecting on a quarter century of politics and change.

T he American Prospect began 25 years ago with a small circulation, a limited budget, and great ambitions. Our aim was to rethink ideas about public policy and politics and thereby to restore plausibility and persuasiveness to American liberalism. The first issue appeared in spring 1990, a moment when Democrats had lost three successive presidential elections, conservatives were pushing schemes for privatization, and liberals were in disarray. But in 1990, Congress was still in Democratic hands, the Cold War was coming to an end with the Soviet collapse, and the focus of politics was turning from foreign to domestic policy. Rising economic anxieties, it seemed, might spur political change just as a “peace dividend” could finance new initiatives. By historic good fortune, the Prospect had arrived at a time not only of global change but also of “liberal opportunity,” as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., called it in the first issue, which carried a cover image of an old world cracking open to...

Mother's Day, For Real

In the real America, the lives of women—especially black and brown women—are no bed of roses.

In partnership with The OpEd Project, The American Prospect presents this series, curated by Deborah Douglas, examining aspects of life unique to women, on one of greeting card industry's biggest days. (Photo © Christopher Futcher: iStock) Why There Are No Children Here: A Mother's Day Lament DEBORAH DOUGLAS “What have you ever done right?” That was the question that dominated my mind one night two years ago as I lay in my bed, surrounded by fluffy pillows and a sleepy Yorkie at the foot. This wasn’t one of those self-denigrating moments I engage in when I internally chastise myself for not writing enough that day or holding my temper tighter, or not giving one of my journalism students much-needed grace under the pressure they face to prepare for an industry that asks them to do everything at once masterfully. No, this was a true thought experiment to force myself to fully identify the things I’ve gotten right in my life as a way of charting a course to build on something righteous...

If America Really Cared About Mothers, Reproductive Health Care Would Be Available to All

Rates of maternal death are greater in the U.S. than in 40 other countries. Yet we pin the perceived moral failings of Asian nations on pregnant immigrant women from India and China.

(AP Photo/South Bend Tribune, Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/South Bend Tribune, Robert Franklin) Purvi Patel is taken into custody after being sentenced to 20 years in prison for feticide and neglect of a dependent on Monday, March 30, 2015, at the St. Joseph County Courthouse in South Bend, Indiana. Yet she may simply have had a miscarriage. This essay is published by The American Prospect i n partnership with The OpEd Project's Public Voices Fellowship. It is part of a package of commentary pieces centered on Mother's Day 2015. O n March 30 Purvi Patel, a 33-year old Indian immigrant from South Bend, Indiana, was charged with feticide and child neglect. While many of us wonder how she can be charged with feticide, which requires a dead fetus and the simultaneous neglect of a dependent child, which requires a live birth, state prosecutor Ken Cotter said Patel deliberately attempted to terminate her second-trimester pregnancy with illegal pharmaceutical abortifacients procured online. Instead, she delivered a living fetus, which was...

Ever the Protectors, Moms Seeking Asylum Need Protection, Too

Obama failed to specify that his enthusiasm for mothers is strictly limited to American moms.

(AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)
(AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca) In this September 10, 2014, file photo, an unidentified immigrant from Guatemala who declined to give her name, is interviewed, while her son paints on a whiteboard at the Artesia Family Residential Center, a federal detention facility for undocumented immigrant mothers and children in Artesia, New Mexico. This essay is published by The American Prospect in partnership with The OpEd Project's Public Voices Fellowship. It is part of a package of commentary pieces centered on Mother's Day 2015. I n last year’s Mother’s Day Proclamation, President Obama recommended we put our moms first “because they so often put everything above themselves.” He said we should “extend our gratitude for our mothers' unconditional love and support” because “when women succeed, America succeeds.” Obama should have specified that his enthusiasm for moms is strictly limited to American moms. Last summer, his administration systematically locked up over a thousand mothers and...

Why There Are No Children Here: A Mother's Day Lament

I let my well-founded fears of medical abandonment and loss of free agency keep me from being a mother. After all, I'm a black woman. That's too often how it goes for us.

(Photo © Christopher Futcher: iStock)
This essay is published by The American Prospect in partnership with The OpEd Project's Public Voices Fellowship. It is part of a package of commentary pieces centered on Mother's Day 2015. “ What have you ever done right?” That was the question that dominated my mind one night two years ago as I lay in my bed, surrounded by fluffy pillows and a sleepy Yorkie at the foot. This wasn’t one of those self-denigrating moments I engage in when I internally chastise myself for not writing enough that day or holding my temper tighter, or not giving one of my journalism students much-needed grace under the pressure they face to prepare for an industry that asks them to do everything at once masterfully. No, this was a true thought experiment to force myself to fully identify the things I’ve gotten right in my life as a way of charting a course to build on something righteous and real, instead of wallowing in the wreckage of failed relationships, bridges burnt, tasks incomplete, dreams left to...

First in the Nation: New Abortion Restrictions in Kansas

The ban of a common medical procedure is giving the state a dubious distinction.

(Photo: AP/John Hanna)
Protesters rally against abortion at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka in January. Kansas and Oklahoma both recently banned a medically safe and common abortion procedure, called dilation and evacuation but referred to by opponents as "dismemberment abortions." T ypically, “first in the nation” is a title that a state would feel proud to receive. However, in the case of Kansas’s first-in-the-nation law that criminalizes doctors who perform a certain type of abortion procedure, our policymakers should be ashamed. In a state that is already hostile toward women, this new law prevents doctors from providing the best care to their patients and limits women’s ability to decide what is best for themselves and their families. Even worse, Kansas has already been joined by Oklahoma, with Governor Mary Fallin’s signature on nearly identical legislation. These bills are sprouting up throughout the country as part of an extreme, anti-women agenda that intends to ban abortion care across the U.S...

The Latest Target of 'Religious Freedom' Advocates: Reproductive Rights in the Nation's Capital

A House committee has voted to overturn a local D.C. law that prevents discrimination based on employees' reproductive choices.

(Photo from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah is the chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which voted late Tuesday night to disapprove the District's Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. H ere’s a riddle for all you students of the American political system: You are an elected representative, and you would like to curry favor in your home district among right-wing conservatives. One way to do this is to pass a local law sanctioning discrimination against LGBT citizens and women who choose to use birth control, under the guise of “religious freedom.” But you’ve recently discovered that such a law can backfire pretty spectacularly. Just look at poor Mike Pence, Republican governor of Indiana, regarded as presidential material not long ago. What other tactic, besides sanctioning religion-based discrimination, could you use? Well, if you’re a member of Congress, you’ve got the people of the District of Columbia to whom you can teach a thing or two; they’re not...

Playing Offense on Reproductive Rights

With a resurgent right threatening reproductive rights nationwide, abortion activists are getting pro-active.

(AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)
(AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman) Women with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health demonstrate outside of 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, in New Orleans. E ver since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, abortion foes and anti-choice activists have been working to roll back progress made in the fight for reproductive justice. Both the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections were decidedly Republican victories, and with those electoral wins came an onslaught of legislation designed to strip women of their constitutionally protected right to an abortion. Missouri , Kansas and Texas , among others, have passed laws that curtail abortion access. But, while it may seem as if pro-choice activists must constantly play defense, several cities and states, including Washington and Oregon , as Nina-Liss Schultz details at RH Reality Check , have begun playing offense on reproductive rights . The National Institute for Reproductive Health works in partnership with...

Pages