Twenty-five key publications of the Department of Labor are no longer available on the
Women's Bureau website. Prior to the current Administration, women could find a wide
array of information about their rights in the workplace by logging onto the DOL website.
With no explanation, the Administration removed 25 fact sheets, denying women and
researchers critical information on everything from staffing to pay equity to child care to
issues of specific importance to black and Latina women and women business owners.
Disbanding and underfunding of key Government offices dedicated to addressing the
needs and status of women: The Office of Women's Initiatives and Outreach in the White
House and the President's Interagency Council on Women are disbanded; Women
Implementing New Goals Successfully (WINGS), the Department of the Interior's
National Park Service (designed to enhance the employment opportunities for women
and ensure fair treatment within the department) is disbanded; the Defense Advisory
Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) was slated to be dismantled; has
been resuscitated after an outcry, but with a new mission - to focus on issues such as
health care for service women and the effects of deployment on family life, but not
issues of equity and access.
Denying the value of critical disaggregated data: The executive summary of the National
Healthcare Disparities Report, a Congressionally mandated report card on racial, ethnic,
and socioeconomic disparities in healthcare, was watered down and its conclusions
underplayed. And on February 21, 2004, the government confessed that it improperly
altered a report documenting large racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. According
to Health and Human Services Secretary Thompson, "some individuals took it upon
themselves" to make the report sound more positive than was justified by the data.
Failing to submit congressionally mandated reports on women. Under the 2000
Violence Against Women Act, the Attorney General is required to conduct a national
study of discrimination against domestic violence victims in the issuing or administration
of insurance policies. The report to Congress was due in October 2001 and to date has
not been submitted. This delay is affecting the case for important federal legislation on
domestic violence and workers' rights in both the House and Senate.
Ignoring medical advisory committees. After two medical advisory committees
recommended the emergency contraceptive known as Plan B be made available over
the counter, the Administration caved to lobbying by conservative groups. Ignoring the
recommendation that making this available to women was a "public health imperative"
the Administration delayed making a decision. Plan B is still not available over the
Providing misleading information about women's health. After numerous studies
established no link between breast cancer and abortion, the Administration posted
information saying studies were "inconsistent," intentionally misleading women in an
effort to scare them from getting an abortion. In fact, they removed earlier versions of
the fact sheets that stated clearly that there was no connection. And information on a
Health and Human Services (HHS) website has been distorted, and performance
measures to test the effectiveness of abstinence programs have been altered, in order to
make abstinence-only approaches to pregnancy prevention appear more successful
than they have been otherwise proven to be.