There is a hidden cycle of abuse. It plays out in courtrooms across Washington State and, like many forms of abuse, is incredibly detrimental to survivors' emotional and economic health. Yet it remains largely unrecognized by the court. We're talking about abusive litigation. Abusive litigation is a pattern in which an abuser uses the legal system to continue exerting control over a survivor. Common tactics include repeatedly forcing the survivor into court for child custody
Great news! This afternoon, the King County Board of Health passed an ordinance requiring certain crisis pregnancy centers to indicate to the public that they are not health care facilities. Despite what crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) want you to believe, most, if not all, are not actually medical clinics. They are nonprofit organizations, usually religiously affiliated, that are dedicated to opposing abortion and birth control. They use strategic advertising to target peopl
This is huge! Late last night, the Washington State Legislature passed a comprehensive paid family and medical leave law! Starting in 2020, Washington workers will be able to take paid leave for the birth or placement of a new child, to take care of an ill family member, or for their own serious health conditions. Washington is only the 5th state in the nation, plus DC, to pass such a law - and ours is the strongest of its kind! While this law will benefit all workers and the
You've seen the slogan: Immigrant rights are human rights. It's concise. It's catchy. It affirms what we believe. But when we talk about human rights—and more specifically, access to health care—what does equity actually look like for immigrants and their families? Access to health care is not just a matter of having a clinic nearby. It's about having the opportunity to seek culturally competent medical care. It's about having the ability to receive that care without fear of
No one should be punished for a pregnancy outcome. Yet, all around the nation, women have been arrested, jailed, and prosecuted - including Melissa McMillen, a Washington State woman who gave birth at home alone in her bathroom and was convicted of murder when the baby did not survive. Melissa was made out to be a murderer for suffering a pregnancy loss. She is currently serving a prison sentence of more than 10 years for not seeking medical attention for a baby that she beli
Our friends at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project were told they have to stop helping some immigrants – we won’t stand for that. Today Legal Voice and 15 other organizations that advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking filed an amicus brief in federal court here in Washington State, supporting our friends at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP). The brief, co-authored by Laura Clinton and friends at Baker McKenzie, was file
As transgender people's dignity and safety continue to be threatened across the country—including in Washington State—we must be vigilant to uphold the legal protections we have fought so hard to win. That's why I'm thrilled to give you a final update about our advocacy for Jasmine.
You may recall Jasmine, who alleged that she was turned away from donating at CSL Plasma in Kent, Washington, in 2014 because she is transgender. Jasmine also alleged that she was told the comp
At Legal Voice we believe that a choice isn't a choice if you cannot act upon it or if your decision is coerced. That's why in the 1990s, Legal Voice led the fight to pass the Reproductive Privacy Act (RPA) by a direct vote of the people. The RPA not only guarantees a pregnant person's fundamental right to abortion, but also helps ensure access to that right by requiring state health centers that offer maternity care services to provide "substantially equivalent" abortion car
We just won justice for our client Rachelle Black! This morning, the Washington Supreme Court unanimously stood with Rachelle and affirmed what we believed all along: that the trial court disfavored Rachelle because of her sexual orientation. You may remember Rachelle's story: she filed for divorce from her husband after coming out as a lesbian. When creating a parenting plan for the couple's three children, the trial court gave primary custody of the kids to their father, de
Legal Voice is headed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in our ongoing fight to protect the privacy and safety of our clients – a group of health care providers, clinic and hospital staff, researchers, and other people whose work involves fetal tissue. Last year, we went up against David Daleiden, the man responsible for the 2015 smear campaign against Planned Parenthood. He and Zachary Freeman of the conservative Family Policy Institute of Washington both requested publi
Megan is a university student who was wrongfully denied the protection she sought - the protection she needed - from a Washington court. When she asked the court for a sexual assault protection order (SAPO), Megan provided uncontested evidence of the campus assault. She also explained that she was afraid of the man, since her only interaction with him was a sexual encounter to which she said she did not consent. But the court denied her petition for lack of proof that she had
When a parent asks the court for a protection order to keep their children safe, the court might refuse to include all of the children. Can you believe that?? This is exactly what happened to Jose, who asked the court for a protection order to limit his ex-wife's contact with their three children. She had assaulted their nine-year-old daughter in the presence of the other siblings, leaving all three children in fear of their mother. Instead of granting a one-year protection o
You know that Legal Voice works in Olympia to pass strong laws to help protect domestic violence survivors. But creating those laws is only the first step. We also monitor Washington courts to ensure those laws are actually being followed. In Maresa's case, the court didn't follow the law. So we did something about it...and won! After splitting with her abusive partner, Maresa - who could not afford a lawyer - asked a Pierce County court for a parenting plan for their two chi
Did you know that a person with a felony is prevented from obtaining a number occupational licenses, no matter how much they have changed their lives? All across the nation, state and local lawmakers are fighting to make reentry possible for people with criminal records. Legal Voice is proud to join that fight! Last month, we filed an amicus brief on behalf of Christal Fields, a childcare worker and mother. Christal is fighting an uphill battle as a 30-year-old conviction for
What better way to start 2017 than with a win for sexual assault survivors? Rebecca is a university student who, as students often do, spent an evening at parties with friends before returning to her dorm room. That's where, later that night, a classmate had sex with her – according to her, without her consent. Shaken and afraid after the incident, she reported it to the police and went to the hospital for a sexual assault exam. But later, when she asked the King County Super
It should go without saying that sexual harassment is a form of discrimination. Yet Christopher, who had to receive health care services on a near-weekly basis from Group Health, was subjected to sexually explicit comments, sexual advances, and unwanted touching from a patient access representative, T.T., every time he visited the clinic. T.T. made comments such as “You have a nice ass, and I want to squeeze it”; told him how “hot” he made her; invited him to lunch so she cou
Today, Legal Voice stood with Cynthia Aiken and her daughters in a case that raises critical issues about protections for domestic violence survivors throughout Washington. In this case, Cynthia's 14-year-old daughter had reported abuse by her father and attempted to harm herself. Cynthia sought a domestic violence protection order to temporarily restrict the father's contact with the daughter and, in response, the father demanded that the daughter be forced to appear in cour
Noah is a young transgender man living in Seattle. He has long known that he is male, even though he was assigned a different sex at birth. At the recommendation of his health care providers, Noah had chest reconstruction surgery to affirm his gender at age 17. Noah's mother, Maggie, has health insurance for their family from Group Health. She sought authorization for insurance coverage of the surgery, but her request was denied on the grounds that Noah had not yet turned 18.
When Anna Juarez filed for a domestic violence protection order (DVPO) against her abusive husband, she specifically requested that the order be permanent. She believed that her husband would resume abusing her and her children after the order expired. Yet the court granted an order protecting her for only 65 days, substantially shorter than the standard minimum term of one year.
Why? The court said that Anna and her husband could "start a divorce" and that the family cour