Blog of Rights

Brigitte
Amiri

Brigitte Amiri is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, where she has worked since 2005. She is currently leading the project’s efforts to combat abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Amiri also led the project’s challenge to a ban on abortions in Michigan, and she successfully fought prohibitions on access to abortions in a Arizona county jail. Amiri was previously an attorney at South Brooklyn Legal Services in the Foreclosure Prevention Project and at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Let's Do Some Math, Sheriff Joe

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 12:26pm
(Also posted on Daily Kos.)

Mississippi Officials Need a Civics Lesson on Constitution Day

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 4:15pm

In my recent blog post about the ACLU’s lawsuit against the State of Mississippi for promoting religion in a state-sponsored and state-funded event, I pondered whether Mississippi thinks the Constitution doesn’t apply to them. Apparently,…

Mississippi's "No-No Square" Around the First Amendment

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 5:07pm

Though you wouldn’t know it from the state's recent activities, the Constitution does apply to Mississippi.

This week, we filed a lawsuit against Mississippi for promoting religious messages in a state-sponsored and state-funded abstinence-only-until-marriage…

The Games Sheriff Arpaio Continues to Play With Women's Health

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 10:39am

It was a classic bait and switch: agree to abide by the Constitution in one respect and then create a new constitutional violation. That is what recently happened in our case involving inmates' access to abortion care in Maricopa County, home of…

Oversight: Really?!? Seriously?!?

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 5:26pm

Recently I had a "Really?!?" moment, just like Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers from Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) — the nonpartisan investigative wing of Congress — issued a report (PDF) uncovering Health and Human Services' (HHS's) mismanagement of a $150 million-a-year grant program called Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Initiative. This program was created by Congress in 2005 as part of the Deficit Reduction Act to support marriage and fatherhood promotion programs. The goal of this program is to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies and encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent households.

In administering the grant, HHS determined that these funds could not be used to fund abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which are already funded at more than $170 million each year through other funding streams. Why, then, did HHS award or renew grants under the Healthy Marriage Program to organizations that explicitly asked for funds to provide abstinence-only programming?

Before the release of the GAO report, the ACLU had sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to HHS to learn the details of the Healthy Marriage Grant awards because we were concerned about whether the money was being used for proper purposes. But we didn't know that HHS deemed abstinence-only programming an impermissible activity with these funds.

Show Some Compassion

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 11:36am

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Every year, more than 14,000 individuals, predominantly women, are brought into the United States annually and exploited for their labor, including in the…

A New Year's Resolution for a New Sex Ed Policy

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 3:04pm

A new year is exciting because it provides an opportunity for reflection and holds the possibility of change and a fresh start for the coming year. We are at this exciting crossroads with many important civil liberties issues, and sexuality education…

We Sure Could Use that $1.5 Billon...

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 3:34pm

Our federal government recently announced that it would review abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that receive federal funds under the Community-Based Abstinence Education (“CBAE”) program. CBAE is one of three dedicated federal…

Alone, Vulnerable, and Without Access to Vital Reproductive Health Care

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 11:42am

Each year, thousands of young people come to the United States without their families; they are fleeing war, violence, and abuse, including sexual abuse. Some have been trafficked for labor or prostitution, and some have been sexually assaulted…

When Will We Learn? The Many Failings of Abstinence-Only Programming

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 1:58pm

(Originally posted at ACSBlog.)

In Lesson One: Your Gender is Your Destiny, Bonnie Scott Jones and Michelle Movahed offer creative and insightful analysis on the constitutionality of teaching gender stereotypes in federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage…

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