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Gender equality: Women and the law

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  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding the evolution of revolution
  3. The fight to legalize abortion
  4. Case of Griswold vs Connecticut
  5. Planned Parenthood of Southeasten Pennsylvania vs Casey
  6. Issues with decisions
  7. Times of the legalization of abortion
  8. Sexual harassment rights movement
  9. Conclusion

The United States, among many other Western countries, has been a beacon for women's rights. Many women in the world cannot teach, work, show their ankles, vote, hold public office and sometimes are not allowed to think much less. Here in the United States, women have the opportunity to do all of those things and more. Major court decisions and changes in the laws have been responsible for the great advancement in two of the gender equality rights arenas: abortion and sexual discrimination in the workplace. Litigation and changes in legislation have made possible the recognition of women's reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination while at work. However, despite the improvements, women are still not free from obstacles posed by the law.

In order to understand how these revolutions came about, it is important to know about the second wave of feminism. The first wave of feminism began with the Seneca Falls Convention and ended when movement accomplished its goal to gain women's suffrage in 1920.

[...] Feminists began to realize the deplorable situation women in the workplace placed and began to work towards protection and gender equality. A woman has every right to be as successful at a job as a man, but also to be as safe and secure in their persons as men while employed. Catharine McKinnon was a second wave feminist who coined and defined the term sexual harassment as legally wrong and an action prosecutable in court. Augustus B. Cochran III, Sexual Harassment and the Law 49. [...]

[...] By allowing the decision of using birth control to remain between a husband and wife (and not up to the courts), Griswold opened the door for women to reclaim a portion of their reproductive rights. Roe v. Wade U.S (1973), was the landmark case decision that established the right to reproductive privacy as outlined in Griswold and in essence, legalized abortion. Feminist lawyers had taken the approach that the vagueness in the law make it harder for doctors to know whether they were violating the law. [...]

[...] Regrettably, as of late, there are many groups moving to reverse the decisions of the courts granting women reproductive rights and some have succeeded in restricting the right. In Gonzales v. Carhart F. 3d 1163 (2007), Supreme Court outlawed a third trimester abortion procedure called dilate and extract where a baby is removed from the body whole and then the skull perforated and evacuated. The alternative procedure to this is a D&E procedure is where the fetus is pulled out in parts, a much more dangerous abortion procedure. [...]

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