Keeping Score: Georgia Resists Trump, Argentina Legalizes Abortion

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

Lest We Forget

+ “As former secretaries of defense, we hold a common view of the solemn obligations of the U.S. armed forces and the Defense Department. Each of us swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We did not swear it to an individual or a party. … Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory.”

—all 10 living former secretaries of defense in a New York Times op-ed.

+ “It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote. … If Republican leaders collectively sit back and tolerate unfounded conspiracy theories and ‘stop the steal’ rallies without speaking out for our electoral process, which the Department of Homeland Security said was ‘the most secure in American history,’ our nation will be damaged.”

—Rep. Paul Mitchell (Mich.) in a public announcement that he is disaffiliating from the Republican Party, despite having voted for President Donald Trump.

+ “[These reporters] wrote this article in an attempt to shame me. But instead, they shed light on the fact that New York City EMS workers don’t get paid enough and that a lot of us have two or three jobs or side gigs just to keep afloat in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I don’t think they knew going into it that I was willing to put up a fight. I don’t think they knew that I had a lot to say. I don’t think they knew who they were dealing with.”

—Lauren Kwei, the New York City paramedic targeted by the New York Post for supplementing her primary income with sex work, in an interview with Rolling Stone.

+ “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state. ... Because of what you’ve done to the president, a lot of people aren’t going out to vote, and a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative because they hate what you did to the president. Okay? They hate it. And they’re going to vote. And you would be respected, really respected, if this can be straightened out before the election.”

—President Donald Trump in a recording released by The Washington Post, pressuring Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger (R) to overturn election results in his favor.

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+ Tuesday marks the last day Georgia residents can cast their ballots in a runoff election to decide the balance of the U.S. Senate. Jon Ossoff (D) and Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) face off against incumbent Republicans, hoping to channel the same energy that turned Georgia blue in November.

+ Bianca Smith is the first Black woman to coach in professional baseball history: The Boston Red Sox announced Monday they hired her as a Minor League coach.

+ Women officially have a seat at the table on every S&P 500 company board. But they still make up just over a quarter (28 percent) of directors, since the average board has 11 members but only two to four women.

+ President-Elect Joe Biden nominated former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (D) for the position of transportation secretary in his administration. If confirmed, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.

Biden also nominated a champion of renewable energy, former Michigan governor Jennifer M. Granholm, to lead the Energy Department, and Gina McCarthy to advise on climate change. If all of Biden’s nominees are confirmed, there would be more women in the Cabinet than ever before. (Allow Ms. to introduce you to all the women appointed to join this historic administration.)

+ Former Pinterest COO Françoise Brougher discovered that before she was fired in April, she was making less than 40 percent of what her male counterparts earned. She recently launched a gender discrimination lawsuit for $22.5 million.

+ The Trump administration is withholding $200 million worth of Medicaid funding from California after the state passed legislation which requires insurers to cover abortion procedures and care.

+ In Ohio, on the other hand, women will be forced to decide between burying and cremating tissue after an abortion, according to a bill signed by governor Mike DeWine (R).

+ Meanwhile in Argentina, the nation’s Senate voted to legalize abortion up to 14 weeks and in instances of rape or danger to the mother. The bill, passed on Wednesday, Dec. 30, marks a huge milestone for Latin America, where Argentina will be the largest country to allow abortion procedures. 

Keeping Score: Georgia Resists Trump, Argentina Legalizes Abortion
A pro-abortion demonstration in Santa Fe, Argentina, on July 20, 2018. (Wikimedia Commons)

+ More than 300 Nigerian boys, all students at a boarding school in Katsina, were kidnapped by the jihadist Boko Haram group. The tragedy is reminiscent of the kidnapping of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls in 2014, which prompted the #BringBackOurGirls social media movement.

+ Sportscaster Jeannie Morris died at age 85 on Monday, Dec. 14, after an extensive career spent breaking glass ceilings in sports reporting.

+ Dr. Susan Moore died at age 52 after being disregarded by her doctor and sent home, despite severe illness due to COVID-19. “I put forth and I maintain: If I was White, I wouldn’t have to go through that… This is how Black people get killed, when you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves,” Moore said in a Facebook post during her treatment.

+ A French law penalized Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo for appointing too many female senior officials in 2018, stating that they must pay a fine of 90,000 euros if either gender does not comprise 40 percent of new hires. Eleven of the appointees were women and five were men, but men still hold more than half of executive positions overall. Mayor Hidalgo has stated she is not only happy to pay the fine; she will deliver the check personally, along with women in her administration, to the Ministry of Public Service. 

+ Canadian fashion executive Peter Nygard was found to have victimized girls and women in a self-serving, 25-year sex trafficking plot. According to The New York Times, Nygard’s indictment also describes instances of assault and drugging.

+ Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul was sentenced to nearly six years in prison after advocating for women’s rights and working with journalists and human rights groups.

+ The National Conference on Citizenship honored first-time poll workers by naming them Citizen of the Year.

+ New Hungarian legislation would thwart opposition to Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his party, eliminate some restrictions on his power, and prevent gay couples and single parents from adopting children. 

+ Becky Hammon made history as the first woman to direct an NBA team on Wednesday, Dec. 30, when she led the San Antonio Spurs in the second half of their game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

How We’re Doing

+ A poll by Quinnipiac University revealed that about one month after the Nov. 3 election, three-in-five voters had confidence in the legitimacy of President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory.

+ The Death Penalty Information Center reported that the federal government has executed more people in 2020 than all the states combined. President Donald Trump’s is the first administration to meet this milestone in U.S. history.

+ As of Dec. 18, almost 10 months after the pandemic reached the U.S., one in five American prisoners had tested positive for COVID-19.

+ At least 30 journalists lost their lives this year, with 21 of those deaths being directly attributed to their reporting—more double the 10 deaths recorded in 2019. 

+ Despite warnings from public health officials, only 57 percent of Americans changed their Thanksgiving plans to accommodate pandemic safety measures, and 38 percent of U.S. adults changed their plans “not too much” or “not at all.”

+ Women filmmakers saw higher levels of representation than in previous years, with female directors working on 16 percent of 2020’s 100 most profitable movies. This is up from four percent just two years ago, and 12 percent in 2019.

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Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a junior at Tufts University studying sociology and community health. She is a Ms. contributing writer, and was formerly an editorial fellow, research fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.