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.

A Victorious Step Toward Ensuring Reproductive Health Care for Trafficking Victims

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 11:27am
On Monday, a federal district court in Massachusetts ruled that an ACLU challenge to the government's use of taxpayer dollars to impose religious doctrine on victims of human trafficking may go forward. The decision is a victory for women's health and for the basic constitutional principle that federal dollars cannot be used to favor one religious perspective over all others.

Every Day Should Be National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 11:54am

In the days following the senseless murder of Dr. Tiller, we were all stunned, heartbroken, and angry. In speaking with providers in the days and weeks following, we expressed our gratitude for their work, especially for persevering during such a difficult…

If "God Has a Plan For Sex," Does Obama Have a Plan for Monitoring Programs Overseas?

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 3:55pm

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

On Saturday, the White House faith advisory council task force released recommendations for government agencies that do business with faith-based social service groups. These recommendations touch on several…

A Presidential Proclamation Is Not Enough

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 10:29am

Today is National Freedom Day, the culmination of a month-long campaign to increase awareness about present-day slavery and human trafficking. In January, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation declaring January 2010 as National Slavery and…

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…

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…

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