Keeping Score: Leaders Stand Up for Trans Rights; California’s First Latina Supreme Court Justice; Oklahoma Moves to Ban All Abortions

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 in this biweekly round-up.


Lest We Forget

“To everyone celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility, I want you to know that your President sees you. … Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know, and our Nation and the world are stronger, more vibrant, and more prosperous because of them. To transgender Americans of all ages, I want you to know that you are so brave. You belong. I have your back.”

—A proclamation by President Joe Biden issued for Transgender Day of Visibility on Wednesday, March 30.

“These updates to passports and TSA policy will make it safer for transgender, nonbinary and intersex members of our community to travel and to walk through everyday life. Everyone deserves the right to have identity documents that reflect who they are, and to go through airport security without facing harassment and public humiliation. At a time when so many state legislatures are attacking our community, it’s heartening to have federal leadership take so much action to support LGBTQ Americans, especially trans youth.”

—GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in response to the availability of gender-neutral American passports in mid-April.

“I’m trans. Or to be more accurate, I want to be. I’ve been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and I’ve felt this way since I was a very young child. I had no intention of ever sharing this with you. I always imagined I would leave politics well before I said this out loud. …

Tonight, I was reminded of the incredible support those you work with can provide. Also, I was reminded how important it is to be yourself. I have never lived my truth and I’m not sure how. Perhaps it starts with telling everyone.”

—British MP Jamie Wallis coming out as transgender in a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday, March 29.

“We knew that when Texas passed S.B. 8, its extreme law that blatantly violates the constitutional right reaffirmed by Roe v. Wade, it would invite other states to follow. Today, Idaho became the first state to adopt a similar law—a six-week restriction relying on private citizens to enforce the law. This development is devastating for women in Idaho, as it will further impede women’s access to health care, especially those on low incomes and living in rural communities.”

—Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a statement on a version of Texas’s S.B. 8 passed in Idaho, banning abortion after six weeks and allowing enforcement by private citizens.

“It comes down to prestige doesn’t pay the bills. We love working here, and we want to keep working here. … If Condé wants to attract the best talent in the business, they have to stop relying on prestige and provide equitable pay and benefits.”

—Vanity Fair Web producer Jaime Archer referencing a letter sent by Condé Nast employees to the company’s management, in which 350 employees request that Condé recognize their union in pursuit of fair salaries and manageable workloads.

Milestones

Patricia Guerrero.

+ On Tuesday, March 22, Justice Patricia Guerrero became the first Latina confirmed to serve on the California Supreme Court. A former San Diego appeals court judge, she was raised by Mexican immigrants in Imperial Valley.

“As I’ve tried to express, this is not just about me, or really even just about my parents, but it’s about so many others just like us,” Guerrero said. “This is a story of the American dream, the belief that with hard work, perseverance and opportunities, anything is possible. And for that I am thankful.”

+ At the historic confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, photographer Sarahbeth Maney captured the judge’s daughter, Leila Jackson, in a moment of intense pride. The image later went viral on social media.

“I just remember seeing Judge Jackson smiling a lot, and I think she was receiving compliments and praise,” Maney said. “And then I noticed how proud her daughter was of her, and it gave me chills when I saw this look that her daughter gave her. It was just this look of such pride and admiration.”

+ The Oklahoma state legislature has voted to ban all abortions. The bill now heads to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk, who has previously vowed to sign all anti-abortion bills.

+ Shortly after the institution of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits K-3 teachers from discussing sexuality in the classroom, the Walt Disney Company released a statement opposing the law.

“We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country,” Disney said. The company pledged to support organizations aiming to have the law repealed.

+ Following the passage of a strict anti-abortion law in Poland, pro-choice activist Justyna Wydrzyńska was charged for providing medication to a pregnant woman who wanted to induce a miscarriage.

+ A bill passed by a Missouri House committee would ban the sale of medications or devices used for abortion procedures.

“The use of these medications help make certain procedures safer and more comfortable for patients. This bill could make it impossible for Missourians to access these medications for any reason,” Planned Parenthood said in its testimony.

Medication abortion uses two types of pills: mifepristone, which interrupts the flow of the hormone progesterone that sustains the pregnancy; and misoprostol, which causes contractions to expel the contents of the uterus. (VAlaSiurua / Wikimedia Commons)

+ A law signed by California governor Gavin Newsom (D) on Tuesday, March 22 will reduce the cost of abortions for patients with private insurance. Meanwhile, Washington governor Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill to block lawsuits against those who receive or facilitate abortions.

+ Biden’s 2023 budget proposal for NASA includes increased funding for space flight that could put the first woman and person of color on a mission to the moon.

+ New Arizona legislation will block transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming care or competing on some schools’ girls’ sports team.

How We’re Doing

+ “The LGBTQ+ population is overrepresented at every stage of the criminal legal system,” according to a survey of prison inmates by the Prison Policy Initiative. The 29 transgender respondents reported decreased opportunities before entering prison. Twenty-four out of 29 are people of color, and only five identified as straight.

+ As of March 24, U.S. police had killed 249 people in 2022, averaging out to three deaths a day. The haunting statistic demonstrates a lack of progress since the murder of George Floyd in 2020, despite promises from U.S. law enforcement officials.

+ Research by the Guttmacher Institute and other health organizations revealed international disparities in unintended pregnancy and abortion access.

“To build sexual and reproductive health policies that are truly inclusive and equitable, we need to understand what is happening at a country level,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio. “Having current and reliable data at hand will not only help identify and find solutions to disparities, but also make a case for smarter investments that deliver impact.” 

Researcher Jonathan Bearak agreed that “These variations speak to the need for investment, even in regions with low unintended pregnancy rates, that empowers women and girls across countries to choose under what circumstances they want to have children.”

Sign and share Ms.’s relaunched “We Have Had Abortions” petition—whether you yourself have had an abortion, or simply stand in solidarity with those who have—to let the Supreme Court, Congress and the White House know: We will not give up the right to safe, legal, accessible abortion.

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About

Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a sophomore 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_.