Pema Levy

Pema Levy is an assistant editor at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Under Health-Care Reform, Contraception Is Free

Today, the Department of Health and Human services announced that contraception will be included in a list of preventative services that women's insurance plans will provide free of charge. That means they'll be provided without co-insurance charges or co-pays. The services include: well-woman visits screening for gestational diabetes human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 years and older sexually-transmitted infection counseling human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling domestic violence screening and counseling As for the types of contraception, that they recommend all "FDA-approved contraception methods" leads me to believe they will provide everything from condoms to IUDs to sterilization procedures, as well as emergency contraception pills. The guidelines do include a provisionary measure still under review that allows religious...

Whose (De)Fault Is This?

If there's a default, there will be a lot of finger-pointing, but most of the blame should fall on Republican leadership in the House. TPM 's Josh Marshall equated the negotiations between the House, Senate, and administration to a game of chicken, except one of the cars has no driver. No one knows if Republicans have the votes to pass Boehner's, Reid's, or anyone's plan. Everyone assumes that this is because a large number of congressional Republicans cannot be trusted to raise the debt ceiling. They're even on the record saying things to that effect. But Boehner's inability to control his caucus is his fault. Here's the thing: If you know that your caucus doesn't want to raise the debt ceiling, or doesn't even really understand what default means, then start whipping early. Make it clear from day one that party members will eventually have to vote to raise it. You can do this in private, make a lot of phone calls, but make it clear that default is not an option. And you do this...

Another Big Deal

The administration is poised to adopt guidelines requiring health insurers to cover the full cost of contraceptives.

(Flickr/Nate Grigg)
Today, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued its recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on which preventative-care services for women should be free under any health-insurance plan. Given that the Stupak-Pitts Amendment took abortion coverage out of the health-care equation, one would have thought that the guidelines would be uncontroversial. But the increasingly radical anti-abortion movement fought hard against the inclusion of contraception. Today's IOM report basically repudiates their view: Women with unintended pregnancies are more likely to receive delayed or no prenatal care and to smoke, consume alcohol, be depressed, and experience domestic violence during pregnancy. Unintended pregnancy also increases the risk of babies being born preterm or at a low birth weight, both of which raise their chances of health and developmental problems. Now that IOM has weighed in, it's up to the administration to make a final decision. It may seem strange that...

Out-Hawking the Deficit Hawks

There are two ways for Democrats to assess which of the deals coming out of the debt-ceiling negotiations is best. There are a few deals out there that, according to the polls, will be most popular -- ones that would reduce the deficit by up to $4 trillion with a mix spending cuts and revenue increases. And then there's the deal that will have the lowest cost in human suffering -- a clean vote to raise the debt ceiling without a deficit-reduction package. Those are not, sadly, the same deal. But they also aren't that far off. When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell essentially folded on Tuesday by offering a way to raise the debt-ceiling without any spending cuts or revenue increases attached to it, Democrats missed an opportunity. Remember, this is what happened every time we raise the debt ceiling until now. But McConnell's plan is politically worse for Democrats because it doesn't include deficit-reduction measures that all the polls show people want. McConnell's plan wouldn't...

How Women Won the KBR Rape Case

Whatever the outcome of the Jamie Leigh Jones trial, victims of sexual assault may now get their days in court.

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)Jamie Leigh Jones
In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones went to work in Baghdad's Green Zone for KBR, then an engineering and construction subsidiary of the defense contractor Halliburton. Upon arrival, she was placed in co-ed barracks where the ratio of men to women was 20 to 1. Four days later, Jones said that she was slipped the date-rape drug Rohypnol and gang raped by fellow KBR employees. When she reported the crime, Halliburton locked her in a shipping container for 24 hours without food or water, and barred her from contacting anyone outside. Last month, Jones' case against KBR employee Charles Boartz for rape and against KBR for knowingly sending her into a hostile work environment finally went to trial. On Friday, a jury found Boartz and KBR not guilty. Jones's story won the sympathies of millions; she now has a contract for both a book and movie, and was prominently featured last month in HBO's Hot Coffee , a documentary about the corporate campaign to restrict access to the justice system. But at...