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Laura Bassett
Laura Bassett is a political reporter at The Huffington Post focusing on women's issues. She has a Master's degree in English Literature and gender studies from Georgetown University and has previously worked for U.S. Congress, Island Press and the Washington Post. She can be reached at or on Twitter @lebassett.

Entries by Laura Bassett

Texas Abortion Rate Drops Dramatically As New Restrictions Take Effect

(1006) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 12:00 PM

Since Texas' sweeping new anti-abortion law went into effect last November, the number of legal abortions performed in the state has dropped 13 percent, according to a new study released Wednesday by the The Texas Policy Evaluation Project.

The report finds that the number of reproductive-age women...

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White House To Tweak Birth Control Coverage Rule For Nonprofits

(56) Comments | Posted July 22, 2014 | 8:13 PM

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is developing a new accommodation for religious nonprofit organizations that want to opt out of covering contraception in their health plans without having to fill out a form, according to a brief the Department of Justice filed on Tuesday in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court...

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Anti-Contraception Nurse Sues Family Planning Center For Not Hiring Her

(227) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 3:04 PM

A Florida nurse who says her religion prevents her from prescribing birth control has filed suit against a family planning center that would not hire her.

Sara Hellwege, a nurse in Tampa, Fla., applied for a job at Tampa Family Health Centers in May 2014. The organization...

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Aftermath Of Birth Control Vote Turns Awkward

(599) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 1:54 PM

WASHINGTON -- A vote on a birth control coverage bill has caused a bit of awkwardness between Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Mark Begich (D).

Murkowski was one of three Republicans who voted with Senate Democrats on Wednesday to advance a bill that would have required all for-profit...

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White House: Employers Must Disclose Objections To Covering Birth Control

(1588) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 12:08 PM

The White House on Thursday sent a message to companies that want to opt out of covering birth control, saying those employers are required to be transparent about their objections.

The Department of Labor updated its website to indicate that closely held for-profit corporations must include in their...

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Gabby Giffords Touts First-Ever Senate Hearing On Guns And Domestic Violence

(15) Comments | Posted July 16, 2014 | 4:06 PM

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has scheduled the first-ever Senate hearing on how to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), a survivor of gun violence, had petitioned Leahy earlier this year to hold the hearing.

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Senate Republicans Block Bill To Reverse Hobby Lobby Decision

(1126) Comments | Posted July 16, 2014 | 2:42 PM

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a bill that would have required all for-profit employers to include the full range of contraceptives in their health insurance plans, in effect overriding the Supreme Court's recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

The Senate voted 56 to 43 to proceed to...

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GOP Offers Birth Control Bill That Literally Does Nothing

(231) Comments | Posted July 15, 2014 | 4:23 PM

In response to a proposal by Senate Democrats to require for-profit employers to cover birth control in their health plans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that Senate Republicans plan to offer their own bill requiring employers to allow women to buy their own birth control....

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Senate Considers Rare Bill Supporting Abortion Rights

(272) Comments | Posted July 15, 2014 | 12:26 PM

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Tuesday on a rare bill in support of abortion rights that would block states from passing laws that chip away at women's access to abortion services.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal's (D-Conn.) bill, the Women's Health Protection Act, prohibits restrictions on abortion...

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Major Doctors' Group Endorses Hobby Lobby Override Bill

(397) Comments | Posted July 14, 2014 | 1:34 PM

A doctors' association representing 90 percent of board-certified U.S. gynecologists has endorsed Democrat-sponsored legislation to override the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby birth control decision.

The Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act, introduced last week in the House and Senate, would prevent for-profit companies...

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ACLU Seeks To Challenge Law Targeting Pregnant Drug Addicts

(1) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 5:11 PM

Mallory Loyola, 26, is sitting in a Tennessee jail on charges of assault because her newborn daughter tested positive for methamphetamine.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is offering to help with Loyola's criminal defense. But the group is also seeking the right plaintiff -- a drug-addicted pregnant...

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Houston Shooting May Reveal Loopholes In Domestic Violence Gun Laws

(129) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 4:30 PM

The man who fatally shot four children and two adult relatives of his ex-wife near Houston this week had a history of domestic violence, according to a divorce decree, and was legally prohibited from purchasing or possessing a gun.

Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, was charged with "simple assault and...

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Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones Crumble Around The Country

(935) Comments | Posted July 9, 2014 | 3:09 PM

Two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that Massachusetts' protective buffer zone around abortion clinics violates the free speech rights of protesters, four other buffer zones around the country have already disappeared or been challenged in court.

The City Council of Portland, Maine, repealed its...

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Dems: Supreme Court Turned Religious Freedom Law 'On Its Head'

(28) Comments | Posted July 9, 2014 | 12:32 PM

The Supreme Court ruled last week that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law passed nearly unanimously by Congress in 1993, protects for-profit corporations from having to cover contraception in their health plans if they morally object to it. But the Democratic members of Congress who helped pass RFRA nearly...

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Democrats Fast-Track Bill To Override Hobby Lobby Decision

(3042) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 4:15 PM

Senate Democrats are expediting legislation that would override the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case and compel for-profit employers to cover the full range of contraception for their employees, as required by the Affordable Care Act.

The bill, which is co-authored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)...

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Women Senators Propose Bill To Boost Child Care Tax Credits

(21) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 9:09 AM

Democratic women senators introduced a bill on Tuesday that aims to make child care less expensive for working parents by expanding the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC).

The Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act, introduced by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.),...

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Missouri Governor Vetoes 'Extreme And Disrespectful' Anti-Abortion Bill

(817) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 2:31 PM

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) vetoed a bill on Wednesday that would have tripled the state's mandatory waiting period before an abortion to 72 hours, even in cases of rape and incest.

House Bill 1307 would have required women to wait three days after an initial consultation...

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Hobby Lobby Win Could Spell Trouble For Religious Nonprofits

(1079) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 3:59 PM

WASHINGTON -- In his opinion concurring with the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby birth control case Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy may have tipped his hand on a related group of lawsuits brought by nuns and religious nonprofits against the contraception mandate.

The Supreme Court decided...

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Writes Scathing 35-Page Dissent In Birth Control Case

(4053) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 12:31 PM

The Supreme Court delivered a blow to universal birth control coverage on Monday, ruling that closely-held corporations can refuse to cover contraception in their health plans for religious reasons. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sharply disagreed with the five conservatives on the court, delivering a scathing, 35-page dissent...

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5 Political Operatives Just Hammered Women And Workers

(3231) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 12:11 PM

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, the Supreme Court dealt a significant blow to the progressive movement, handing down decisions in two high-profile cases regarding birth control and labor unions.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the court ruled 5-4 that closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraception coverage...

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