Articles by Joanne Butler
Supreme Court DOMA activists 27March2013

DOMA Decision: Equal Protection For All In Social Security

A recent Wall Street Journal article noted the Social Security Administration’s struggle to cope with last week’s Supreme Court ruling regarding gay marriage. In its ruling, the Court said federal agencies managing federal benefits programs -- e.g., social security widow/widower’s benefits -- need to look at the marriage laws of the claimant’s state of residence, not where the person was married. Some have noted that this situation presents an issue of equal protection. That may be true, but the truth is that “equal protection” is currently a very flexible notion at the SSA. ...
Farm Bill Amendment

Farm Bill's Defeat Gives Breathing Space For Reform

Last Thursday’s surprise defeat of the House farm bill resulted in a litany of finger-pointing from the lobbyists on K Street to the House Ag staffers in the Longworth Building. But they’re looking for blame in all the wrong places. It really belongs to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan -- and many other Republicans and conservatives -- who said so many times last year that America was going broke. If we are really going broke, then why did the bill maintain generous subsidies for agriculture? The Republican House members, including Ryan, who voted against the bill, took last year’s “broke” message to heart and should be congratulated for their fortitude.
Angelina Jolie

Thanks to Human Gene Ruling, Women Will Have More Knowledge

Last Thursday’s Supreme Court decision about the limits of obtaining patents on human genes was somewhat personal for me. Like Angelina Jolie, I, too, had that BRCA gene test. Unlike Jolie, my test results were good. I feel very fortunate to have been able to afford the test. If it’s made widely available, it would be beneficial for thousands, if not millions of women. To use a poker analogy, with the BRCA information, women will have more knowledge of how their cancer deck is stacked. For me, it started with a genetic counselor giving me a questionnaire during my annual breast exam: Did my mother have breast cancer? Answer, yes. My maternal grandmother? Yes, again. Did I ever have cancer? Yes, colon. It was decision time: Did I want to know if I had the BRCA gene or not?

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