Legal Voice has played a key role in virtually all the advances to the rights of women, families and sexual minorities for over 30 years in our region.
Legal Voice has succeeded in advancing the legal rights of women and sexual minorities throughout the Northwest. Their philosophy recognizes that law is one of the most powerful tools in a democratic society, which is why they strive to educate the public about the law, advocate for fair interpretation and enforcement, and pursue changes that further the rights of women and sexual minorities.
As healthcare industry mergers and alliances proliferate, access to healthcare for women, LGBTQ persons, and those facing end-of-life decisions is ever more restrictive. In response to the alliance between Seattle’s Swedish Hospital and the Providence healthcare system, Legal Voice is co-leading a community coalition concerned about possible erosion of access to services such as sterilization, abortion, and end-of-life care. They are also leading an effort to develop policy initiatives to strengthen patient rights to be informed of their healthcare options in WA.
Partnering with Economic Opportunity Institute and other allies, they passed a Paid Sick and Safe Days policy in Seattle in 2011, only the 4th in the country, requiring that employees in Seattle can take paid time off when they or family members are ill, or to take steps to become safe, such as going to a domestic violence shelter and seeking court protection. We are now working to enforce the new Seattle policy, plan advocacy for a statewide Paid Sick and Safe Days law, and to ensure WA’s Family Leave Insurance program remains on the books until the economy recovers and a funding source is established.
Accessibility and Cultural Competency
Legal Voice provides legal information and referrals on patient rights and healthcare access. In 2012 they will disseminate “Know Your Reproductive Rights” materials in WA, and a Senior Legal Wellness Handbook addressing healthcare access issues confronting WA seniors. We are also seeking funding to provide Seattle community workshops on these critical issues for seniors and their caregivers in 2013.
The trial in their lawsuit defending the patient-centered Board of Pharmacy rule requiring all pharmacies to dispense all lawful medications occurred in November and December 2011. The judge ruled in February 2012 that the regulations are unconstitutional. Legal Voice (and the State, which is also defending the regulations strongly disagree), have appealed the decision. That court previously overturned the judge in this case, and they believe they will prevail on appeal. They know from polling that 65% of Washingtonians believe patients’ needs should trump health care providers’ personal beliefs. They believe this case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, so are devoting resources to ensure that patients’ rights are protected.
Structurally, their programs have continued in their previous form; they are simply doing less of the same type of work. They trimmed expenses, renegotiated their rent, technology and changed health care plans. Legal Voice slightly exceeded their fundraising targets in 2011. Their foundation support, which has traditionally constituted approximately one-third of their revenue is lower. They have intensified their foundation outreach, and refocused on individual donors.
Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:
Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:
$10,000.00||provide general operating support.|
$10,000.00||support general operating expenses.|
$20,000.00||support general operating expenses.|
$50,000.00||support the technology upgrade.|