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This Week in Civil Liberties (3/9/2012)

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March 9, 2012

What company thinks it’s ok to discriminate against its pregnant employees?

What can you do to stop for-profit prison companies from taking over the prisons in your state?

What did one New Mexico school administrator do when she found out of her middle school students is pregnant?

What effect will H.R. 347 have on free speech and protest rights?

What right is being taken away from this country’s veterans?

UPS Hearts Logistics. Pregnant Employees, Not So Much.
Peggy Young delivered letters and packages sent by air for UPS. When she got pregnant after struggling with infertility and IVF, her doctor recommended that she not lift more than 20 pounds. She asked UPS, where she had worked since 1999, for a “light duty” assignment, so that she could continue working through her pregnancy.

UPS said no. Which is illegal under the Pregnancy Discrimiation Act of 1978.

Stop Incarceration for Profit in Your State
If you live in one of 48 states, right now there’s a proposal sitting on your governor’s desk from a company called Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). That for-profit corporation is offering to buy and run prisons across the nation. In exchange, states must agree to keep the prisons at least 90 percent full. A broad coalition including the ACLU, the Teamsters, the NAACP and several faith groups have already urged governors to reject the offer.

Humiliated, But Not Beaten. Fighting Back on Behalf of Pregnant and Parenting Teens
“When I walked into the school gymnasium, every kid in my entire middle school was staring right at me — all 400 of them. It was like a bad dream. I was confused why the middle school department head had called me into the junior high assembly in the first place… But I soon found out why.”

How Big a Deal is H.R. 347, That “Criminalizing Protest” Bill?
Recent days have seen significant concern about an unassuming bill with an unassuming name: the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011.” The bill, H.R. 347, has been variously described as making the First Amendment illegal or criminalizing the Occupy protests. The truth is more mundane.

Willing to Die for Their Country, But Unable to Vote in It
In Wisconsin, a veteran with only his or her Veterans Affairs (VA) ID card will be turned away from the polls. “Unjust” and “unconscionable” don’t cover this — we need uglier words to describe the disfranchisement of citizens who’ve served. Men and women who have answered their country’s call, risked their lives … and can’t get a state ID card for free?

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