Our new bill to fight Hobby Lobby

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I was stunned by last week's Hobby Lobby ruling.

Stunned that we live in a world where the Supreme Court of the United States of America would even consider putting the interests of big corporations before the fundamental rights of American women.

Stunned that the Court would establish precedent for one enormous slippery slope on letting employers deny individuals health coverage for any medical treatment.

Today, my Democratic colleagues and I are fighting to do what the Supreme Court failed to do: to protect the basic rights of American women and families.

Led by Senators Patty Murray and Mark Udall, we've just introduced a new bill – the Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act. The bill reverses the Supreme Court's decision by making it clear that employers cannot deny access to any of the health benefits required by the ACA – not immunizations, not blood transfusions, not HIV treatments, and not birth control – while preserving reasonable accommodations for religiously exempt employers.

If we're going to respond to Hobby Lobby, it's got to be through a legislative fix. And if the Republicans won't fight for the women they represent, then we're going to take that fight to them. Let them explain why they think employers should decide what health care a woman can get covered by her insurance .

Sign up now to show your support for the Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act.

I cannot believe that in 2014 I have to send you an email about protecting access to birth control. We've got a lot of other big problems in our country to tackle right now.  

Millions of people still haven't recovered from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. More and more young people are drowning in student debt. Too many workers are struggling to stay out of poverty on a minimum wage, and millions of others are struggling to save for retirement. Seniors keep getting told they're going to have to get by on less.

But the Republican Party has made it clear: They want to spend their time working to deny women access to birth control and punch as many holes in the Affordable Care Act as they can.

Just look at the facts:

  • In 2012, Republicans tried to pass the Blunt Amendment – legislation that would allow employers and insurance companies to deny women's health care services – even birth control – based on any vague moral objection.
  • When the Blunt Amendment failed, the Republicans resorted to hostage-taking. Remember last year's government shutdown that nearly tanked our economy? That all started with a GOP threat to get Democrats to change the law so employers could deny coverage for birth control.

When Democrats wouldn't cave and the government shutdown backfired, the Republicans turned to their conservative friends on the United States Supreme Court – five justices who are among the top ten most pro-corporate justices to serve in the last half-century – to do what Congress and the American people would not: give corporations rights to determine women's access to health care coverage.

We cannot stand by while the radical right of our country conducts a full-scale assault on women's rights and basic health care.

Help us fight back against the Hobby Lobby ruling. Sign up now to show your support for the Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act.

This is 2014, not 1914 – and we've had enough.

We don't run this country for corporations

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Hobby Lobby doesn't want to cover its employees' birth control on company insurance plans. In fact, they're so outraged about women having access to birth control that they've taken the issue all the way to the Supreme Court.

I cannot believe that we live in a world where we would even consider letting some big corporation deny the women who work for it access to the basic medical tests, treatments or prescriptions that they need based on vague moral objections.

But here's the scary thing: With the judges we've got on the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby might actually win.

The current Supreme Court has headed in a very scary direction.

Recently, three well-respected legal scholars examined almost 2,000 Supreme Court cases from the last 65 years. They found that the five conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court are in the top 10 most pro-corporate justices in more than half a century.

And Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts? They were number one and number two.

Take a look at the win rate of the national Chamber of Commerce cases before the Supreme Court. According to the Constitutional Accountability Center, the Chamber was winning 43% of the cases in participated in during the later years of the Burger Court, but that shifted to a 56% win-rate under the Rehnquist Court, and then a 70% win-rate with the Roberts Court.

Follow these pro-corporate trends to their logical conclusion, and pretty soon you'll have a Supreme Court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business.

Birth control is at risk in today's case, but we also need to worry about a lot more.

In Citizens United, the Supreme Court unleashed a wave of corporate spending to game the political system and drown the voices of middle class families.

And right now, the Supreme Court is considering McCutcheon v. FEC, a case that could mean the end of campaign contribution limits – allowing the big guys to buy even more influence in Washington.

Republicans may prefer a rigged court that gives their corporate friends and their armies of lawyers and lobbyists every advantage. But that's not the job of judges. Judges don't sit on the bench to hand out favors to their political friends.

On days like today, it matters who is sitting on the Supreme Court. It matters that we have a President who appoints fair and impartial judges to our courts, and it matters that we have a Senate who approves them.

We're in this fight because we believe that we don't run this country for corporations – we run it for people.

Tomorrow I'll bake a cake

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I'm going to have to put off baking my Valentine's Day cake until I can get back home on Friday. I have my heart-shaped pans, but the oven is broken in my new Washington apartment. Even so, I'm not letting the day pass without asking everyone for a favor.

My mother was born on Valentine's Day. From the time she turned fifteen, my father gave her a heart-shaped box of chocolates, and from the time I was nine and bought some heart-shaped pans at the dime store, I baked her a cake. Mother loved the heart connection to her birthday.

Several years ago, the heart connection took on a new meaning. My mother was in good health. She went to the doctor regularly, and, except for some concern about high cholesterol and a few complaints about gas pains and arthritis, she always got a good report. When she had some minor surgery, all the kids and grandkids came to visit. She was doing great, ready to check out of the hospital the next morning. So after a few more turns racing her up and down the hallway in wheelchairs, we all headed home.

In the middle of the night, one of my brothers called. He said Mama was dead. I couldn't believe it. I thought he had made some kind of terrible mistake. He said Daddy had been sitting with her when she leaned forward and said, "Don, there's that gas pain again." Then she died.

The autopsy showed that she had advanced heart disease. No one had any inkling.

This year more women than men will die from heart disease. In fact, every minute, a woman dies from heart disease. And the symptoms for women aren't always the same as for men. As I learned when the doctor called to explain how she died, heart disease can easily be overlooked for women.

So enjoy Valentine's Day and all the hearts, but here's my ask: Today please ask a woman you love to learn more about heart disease. Learn the symptoms. Learn the risks. Learn prevention. Please don't wait.

Tomorrow I'll bake a cake. I'll open up the box that has some of the old valentines my daddy gave to my mother. And I'll ask the women I love to take better care of themselves.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sandra Fluke

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More than one hundred and twenty people packed into the Warren headquarters this morning for coffee and donuts with Elizabeth Warren and women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke.

Fluke came to national attention in February 2012 when Congressional Republicans prohibited her from testifying, instead hearing from a panel of men on a question of women’s health. Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives then launched personal attacks on Sandra's integrity.

She took on Scott Brown in her remarks. “He did not stand up for the women of Massachusetts when he voted against equal pay for equal work. He took his one opportunity to vote for a woman for the Supreme Court and he voted against her."

She stressed that the Blunt Amendment, which Brown co-sponsored, was a sweeping attack on men and women’s health care, and was quite unpopular because it was so extreme.

She endorsed Elizabeth Warren as “one of the women on the public stage that I look to. I have so much respect for her diligence and integrity.“

All of our daughters

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I have no doubt that Senator Brown is a good husband and a good father to his daughters. But this is an issue that affects all of our daughters and our granddaughters and what matters here is how Senator Brown votes.

He has gone to Washington and he has had some good votes, but he has had exactly one chance to vote for equal pay for equal work, and he voted no.

He had exactly one chance to vote for insurance coverage for birth control and other preventive services for women, he voted no.

And he had exactly one chance to vote for a pro-choice woman from Massachusetts to the United States Supreme Court, and he voted no.

Those are bad votes for women. The women of Massachusetts need a senator they can count on, not some of the time but all of the time.  

I want to go to Washington to be there for all of our daughters and all of our granddaughters. 

The Republican Agenda Against Women

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This week, the Republicans will present their vision for the future at their convention -- and on national television for millions of people to see.

They will make a lot of promises, but one thing they probably won't talk much about is their platform to strip away a woman's right to choose, even in cases of rape or incest.

We need everyone to know just how out-of-touch the Republican platform is for women and families across Massachusetts and around the country. Share our brand-new TV ad with your family and friends:

Earlier this year, Scott Brown voted with his Republican Party against equal pay for women. He cosponsored the Blunt amendment, a Republican bill that could allow employers and insurance companies to deny women insurance coverage for basic health care services -- even contraception -- by citing vague moral objections.

And Scott Brown supports Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan -- a presidential candidate who says he wants to end Planned Parenthood and a vice presidential candidate who cosponsored legislation that could outlaw some birth control pills.

Last week, Scott Brown received the endorsement of Massachusetts Citizens for Life -- the Commonwealth's leading anti-choice organization. They said:

"We consider [Scott Brown] a senator who votes prolife. We have to take his word for it when he says he is prochoice. But what we're looking for is someone who votes prolife, and he does."

Women and families across the country need to know what the Republican agenda means for them. And people in Massachusetts need to know that they can't count on Republican Scott Brown.

Get started now. Spread the word with our new TV ad before the Republican National Convention starts on Tuesday.

For women, there’s a real choice in this election

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Have you heard Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican running for U.S. Senate in Missouri, saying a woman who was raped won't get pregnant? His comments are just the latest reminder of what's at stake for women if the Republicans win the White House or gain control of the U.S. Senate.  

Elizabeth has a new radio ad out today to make sure that everyone knows that the national Republican agenda will hurt women and their families.

Already this year, Scott Brown and the Republicans in Congress blocked legislation to ensure women get equal pay for equal work. And Scott Brown and the Republicans pushed for a law that could allow employers to deny women access to health care services, including birth control, for any vague moral objection.

For women, there's a real choice in this election. Learn more at http://elizabethwarren.com/issues/women

Women for Warren

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When Elizabeth meets little girls on the campaign trail, she often says:

"My name is Elizabeth, and I'm running for the Senate -- because that's what girls do."

That message is particularly important in this campaign because there's so much at stake for women in 2012.

Scott Brown has voted against equal pay for women and women's access to birth control. And his choice for Vice President, Paul Ryan, sponsored legislation that could eliminate a woman's right to choose, even in cases of rape or incest -- and could even ban in vitro fertilization and birth control pills.

The Romney-Ryan-Brown agenda for women looks like it comes from 1952, not 2012. And we need to fight back.

We're proud to officially launch our online Women for Warren program -- and I hope you'll be a part of it.

Women for Warren

  • Sign up to join our team. To win in November, we need to have as many one-on-one conversations with women as possible about what's at stake in this election. That's why we're hosting Women for Warren Wednesday phone banks and canvassing events all across MA. Be a part of our team and help tell the truth about the Romney-Ryan-Brown agenda.
  • Like Women for Warren on Facebook. We've started a new Facebook page with news and updates on our Women for Warren program. Like our page and show your friends that you're a Woman for Warren.

Elizabeth is going to stand up for the women of Massachusetts and our country to protect their right to health care, fair pay, and access to birth control.

And she's going to fight to level the playing field for women and families, so everyone has a chance to succeed.

I hope you'll be a part of our team.

Meet our volunteer: DB Reiff

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Elizabeth Warren - DB ReiffDB Reiff of Brighton understands first hand how important the issues in this year's election are. As a child of immigrants, her earliest memories are of going to vote with her parents - small business owners who worked seven days a week keeping their candy store running. "I was taught even then that if the Democrat won, our lives would be better."

DB likes to say that she was for Elizabeth before there was even a campaign. "When she testified before Congress and stood up to the Congressmen, I thought, 'Wow.' I have never seen anyone stand up like that in Congress. I couldn't wait for her to get into the race."

So when DB was asked to be the team leader for Allston Brighton, she stepped up. "I would do anything the campaign asked of me."

DB says that, after organizing for several months, "I was lucky I got invited to ride on the train to the convention with Elizabeth out to Springfield. I asked to take a photo with her and she said sure, and she put her arm around me and pulled me closer. Then she told the photographer to take two shots, 'Women always want two pictures,' Elizabeth said."

"Right now, in Allston and Brighton we are reaching out to people and asking them to talk to people they know about Elizabeth. Brighton has a very active elderly community and they need to know and understand how important the Affordable Care Act is for them. Closing that donut hole specifically affects them. I make sure when we are talking to people that we lead with what is good about Elizabeth. They need to appreciate that Elizabeth has been and always will be for the common people. The thing about Elizabeth is not only does she have a heart, she has guts and the brains to be kind of Senator we all want and deserve."