Military contraceptive access, accountability for the firearm industry, and equal pay: Your civic action to-do list for 6-17-19

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3. The Department of Defense provides health care to over 1.5 million women of reproductive age. Studies have shown that women in the military have a 50% higher rate of unplanned pregnancy than the general population. Currently, military health insurance (TRICARE) does not guarantee coverage of all methods of contraception without cost-sharing, unlike the Affordable Care Act’s civilian coverage guarantee.

In a nutshell: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Access to Contraception for Servicemembers and Dependents Act of 2019 to address insufficient access to contraceptive services in the military. The bill ensures that non-active duty servicewomen and military dependents have access to copay-free birth control, including counseling, insertion, and removal; guarantees access to emergency contraception for survivors of sexual assault; and enhances family planning education for servicemembers.

Take Action: Tell your Members of Congress to support the Access to Contraception for Servicemembers and Dependents Act of 2019 (S.1049/H.R. 2091) – women in the military deserve the same comprehensive contraceptive coverage as their civilian counterparts. 

2. It is unconscionable that gun manufacturers, distributors, and dealers are immune from civil liability given the extent to which their dangerous business practices contribute to the gun violence epidemic. We cannot allow the firearm industry to continue to prioritize profitability over public safety and go scot-free.

In a nutshell: The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act will repeal federal protections shielding manufacturers, sellers, and interest groups from civil liability when a firearm is used unlawfully. Senators Blumenthal (D-CT) and Murphy (D-CT) introduced this measure in the Senate and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) in the House, aiming to give victims of gun violence their day in court and compel the gun industry to put the public interest above their own.

Take Action: Urge your elected officials to support the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act (S. 1779/H.R. 3214) to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

1. Last week was Moms Equal Pay Day – marking how far into the year the average working mother has to work to earn what fathers earn. Working mothers are paid just 69 cents for every dollar paid to working fathers, which translates to an $18,000 average annual income differential. This Father’s Day, we hope you honored the loving, supportive men in your life. Next step: stand up for pay equity for all working parents.

In a nutshell: The Paycheck Fairness Act eliminates loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, helping to break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and strengthen workplace protections for women and mothers. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced this significant legislation in January with all 45 Democratic senators as original cosponsors. It already passed the House (H.R. 7) and it’s time for the Senate to move forward on it.

Take Action: Americans deserve equal pay for equal work – encourage your Senators to support the Paycheck Fairness Act (S.270).