Blog of Rights

My University Has Failed Me

My University Has Failed Me

By "Gabrielle" at 11:01am
I entered my first relationship during the beginning of my freshman year of college at Carnegie Mellon University. Everything was going just as I had hoped. I loved my classes and my new friends and I was dating another woman in my program. However, my relationship quickly became violent. My girlfriend became verbally and sexually abusive. During the six months that we dated, I was raped repeatedly and I began to live in fear.
Religion Isn’t a Free Pass to Discriminate Against Employees

Religion Isn’t a Free Pass to Discriminate Against Employees

By Christina Brandt-Young, Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project & Jenny Lee, Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union at 5:49pm

Across the country teachers at religiously affiliated schools are being fired for their reproductive choices.  What’s worse, the schools are unapologetic, claiming they have the right to discriminate because of their religious beliefs.

Emily…

Why Gene Patents Are Unlawful

By Selene Kaye, ACLU at 11:46am

(Originally posted on ACSBlog.)

Last week the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government's practice of granting patents on human genes - specifically, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are associated with breast and ovarian cancer. In the last 20 or so years the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has issued patents on thousands of human genes — the segments of DNA that we all have in our cells — giving private corporations, individuals, and universities the exclusive rights to those genetic sequences and their usage.

The patents on the BRCA genes are particularly broad and offensive. The PTO has granted Myriad Genetics, a private biotechnology company based in Utah, patents on both the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic sequences, on any mutations along those genes, on any methods for locating mutations on the genes, without further specification on the type of methods, and on correlations between genetic mutations and susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer.

The lawsuit charges, as critics of gene patents have argued for years, that gene patents stifle biomedical research and interfere with patients' access to genetic testing. The lawsuit argues that the patents on the BRCA genes are unconstitutional and invalid given the long-standing legal precedent that "products of nature" and "laws of nature" are not patentable. The suit also makes the novel argument that the practice of patenting genes, their correlations with disease, and the thought of comparing two genes violates the First Amendment and interferes with scientific freedom.

Stopping Pregnancy Discrimination Once and For All: New York Leads the Way

Stopping Pregnancy Discrimination Once and For All: New York Leads the Way

By Ariela Migdal, ACLU Women's Rights Project & Katharine Bodde, New York Civil Liberties Union at 12:32pm

Julie Desantis-Mayer had worked as a package driver at UPS for nearly ten years before she and her husband made the decision...

Take Back Our Genes – Join the Fight Against Gene Patenting

Take Back Our Genes – Join the Fight Against Gene Patenting

We can bring an end to gene patenting to ensure the human genome, and all DNA found in nature, is open to everyone for the benefit of everyone – not just corporate profits.

Aerial view of the U.S. Patent Office building; Image source: Cliff/Flickr

Is the "Patent Happy" Patent Office Violating the First Amendment?

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 2:43pm

Last April, during the Supreme Court oral arguments in our case challenging patents on human genes, Justice Kagan remarked, "The PTO seems very patent happy." Her comment, and the unanimous decision invalidating gene patents, clearly expressed the…

An Unthinkable Choice

An Unthinkable Choice

By Alicia Gay, ACLU at 10:41am

Asia Myers, a pregnant woman expecting a baby girl in less than a month, works for an employer that forced her to make an unthinkable choice between a healthy pregnancy and her paycheck.

Early in her pregnancy, Asia suffered from complications…

Back to School Minus the Sex Stereotypes

Back to School Minus the Sex Stereotypes

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 1:33pm

Labor Day has come and gone, and the kids have gone back to school. And, fortunately, thanks, in part, to the Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes campaign, more students will be in classrooms where their teachers will get to know their individual learning…

Use Birth Control? You're Fired!

Use Birth Control? You're Fired!

By Jennifer Dalven, Reproductive Freedom Project at 6:36pm

No joke: A bill pending in Arizona would give your boss the green light to fire you for using birth control.

A Vote For Women, A Vote For CEDAW

By Aliya Hussain, Women's Rights Project at 11:08am
In January 1917, Alison Turnbull Hopkins pickets for suffrage outside the White House gate.

During the winter of 1916–1917, suffragists…