Pema Levy

Pema Levy is an assistant editor at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

You Can't Take the Baby Out of This Bathwater

In Texas, one state senator's crusade shows how entwined women's health and abortion services really are.

Texas State Senator Bob Deuell (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)
Last week, Republicans and Democrats in the Texas Legislature reached an impasse on a five-year-old women's health-care program set to expire in December. Though none of the money went to abortions or abortion referrals, Republicans will not renew the program without an amendment that would prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving any of the funding. Democrats, though, won't vote for the measure. That means 120,000 uninsured women are likely to lose their health care. Planned Parenthood serves about 40 percent of the women treated in the Medicaid Women's Health Program (WHP), which has provided more than 235,000 women with birth control and cancer screenings since 2007 and saved the state millions in Medicaid costs by preventing thousands of unwanted births. But Planned Parenthood has become a target (again) in the renewed anti-abortion fight, despite being one of the largest nationwide women's care networks. The Republican state senator who proposed the amendment, Robert Deuell,...

Law Schools' Women Problem

A new study shows the number of women enrolled in law school has been declining steadily since 2002, a disparity that shows particularly at the top 10 law schools. At The Volokh Conspiracy , Kenneth Anderson rightly, I think, brings up the possibility that the increasing cost of law school might be at play here. From there Anderson wonders if women are choosing not to go to law schools because they know that being a mother and having children will cut into the rewards that make attending a top law school worth the cost: If it is the case that many young women looking at the law school decision are also thinking about marriage, family, and children, if law school tuition and attached debts rise high enough, they might conclude that despite the professional opportunities (which have shrunk considerably since 2002), the debt is not worth it in terms of family cost. Rising tuition costs and the breakdown of family responsibility are important, but this hypothesis mistakes cause and effect...

Real Americans Hate the Debt Ceiling

The Constitution prohibits fetters on the government's ability to make payments.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (AP Photo/ABC, Fred Watkins)
Yesterday, the United States reached its official debt limit, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner resorted to what he calls extraordinary measures to keep the government functioning financially. Republicans demand spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, but if the fight drags out the federal government could run out of money as soon as August. The government could default. With the full faith and credit of the United States on the line, more than brinkmanship-style politics may be at play. If the government fails to raise the debt ceiling it would likely be unable to pay its obligations, both to its citizens -- who are owed through programs like Social Security -- and to its debtors -- who hold government bonds. The current economic climate exacerbates the problem, because with the ailing economy, issuing new debt is the government's safest tool for raising new revenues. Since the federal government is constitutionally required to pay what it owes, many in the...

The Breitbart Defense

In February, Shirley Sherrod filed a complaint against Andrew Breitbart , initiating a defamation lawsuit over the release of an edited video that portrayed her as racist and caused her to lose her job. When the full video was released, it became apparent that her speech was actually about racial tolerance, and the administration apologized to her for the error. In April, Breitbart officially responded, predictably, with a motion to dismiss the case. What's surprising is one of the arguments Breitbart used to get the case thrown out. In the suit, Sherrod must prove that Breitbart released an edited video of her with "actual malice," legalese for knowingly promoting false information or recklessly disregarding whether something was true. One line of defense for Breitbart could be, for example, to claim ignorance that the video had been edited. Instead, Breitbart and his lawyer Larry O'Connor filed a complaint using a surprising strategy: They argue that their video was wholly...

Q&A: China Will Not Demand Its Money Back

Why the doomsday predictions on the debt ceiling are wrong.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A deal is taking shape between Congress and the administration on the debt-ceiling vote, and it will likely include some spending cuts in exchange for increasing the amount the government can borrow. As these negotiations play out, we're constantly warned that the debt-ceiling fight has high stakes. Refusing to raise the ceiling will prevent us from paying debts and will destroy the faith our bondholders -- that is, China -- have in us. Or will it? The Prospect talked with James K. Galbraith, the Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. chair in government/business relations at the University of Texas at Austin, about just how accurate the doomsday predictions really are. Everyone says that if we don't raise the debt ceiling soon, we'll have a financial disaster on our hands. How accurate are these catastrophic predictions? Failure to raise the debt limit would be, for sure, a bad idea. Whether it would produce a fiscal and bond market Armageddon, I think, is really doubtful. This is a group of...