Keeping Score: U.S. Gymnasts Sue FBI for Failure to Investigate Nassar; SCOTUS Expands Religious Liberty Rights; Physicians Fear Post-Roe World

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 physicians and medical professionals, we see the real-life consequences when an individual does not get the care that they know they need, including abortions. The woman who has suffered the violation and trauma of rape would be forced to carry a pregnancy.

Denying access to abortion from people who want one can adversely affect their health, safety and economic well-being, including delayed separation from a violent partner and increased likelihood of falling into poverty by four times. These outcomes can also have drastic impacts on their health.

“Beyond safety and medical necessity, many people simply don’t want to be pregnant, and should have the power to control their own bodies. Period.”

—Over 2,600 medical professionals in a public letter condemning the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court

“New York must stand together with those who come here from states that are hostile to basic health care rights and protect them from those attempting to intimidate and harass them with litigation in their home states. Plain and simple, it is an infringement on the rights established in New York law to interfere with anyone attempting to exercise those rights. This legislation, which establishes a cause of action for interfering with these protected rights, is critical to people who simply want control over their own bodies.”

—New York state Assemblymember Chris Burdick (D) on the passage of legislation that would protect New York abortion providers from prosecution for serving patients in states where abortion care is criminalized.

“A restless and newly constituted court sees fit to refashion the standard anew to foreclose remedies in yet more cases. The measures the Court takes to ensure Boule’s claim is dismissed are inconsistent with governing precedent. …

This Court’s precedents recognize that suits for damages play a critical role in deterring unconstitutional conduct by federal law enforcement officers and in ensuring that those whose constitutional rights have been violated receive meaningful redress. The Court’s decision today … closes the door to Bivens suits by many who will suffer serious constitutional violations at the hands of federal agents.”

—Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissenting in Egbert v. Boule, a case in which three Trump appointees—joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and John Roberts—upheld legal immunity for federal officers who violate Fourth Amendment rights when searching for undocumented immigrants.


+ Nearly a hundred U.S. women gymnasts—including Olympic medalists Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman—are suing the FBI for failing to investigate former USA Gymnastics doctor Lawrence Nassar.

“My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by every institution that was supposed to protect us—the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, the FBI and now the Department of Justice. … It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process,” Maroney said in a statement.

+ The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, June 21, that Maine may not exclude religious schools from a state tuition program, further blurring the line between church and state. The vote was 6-3, with the liberal justices in dissent.

“Although framed as a school-choice ruling, it’s hard to see how this won’t have implications for a far wider range of state benefit programs—putting government in the awkward position of having to choose between directly funding religious activity or not providing funding at all,” said Steve Vladeck, professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

Pro-abortion protesters in Orlando, Fla., in May. (Maureen Johanson / Twitter)

+ On Wednesday, June 8, the House voted along party lines to ban individuals under 21 years old from purchasing semiautomatic rifles. Though the legislation is unlikely to pass in the Senate, it secured 10 Republican votes in the House after representatives heard from mass shooting survivors, including an 11-year-old girl who attends Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

+ A spending bill submitted to the Department of Defense by House Democrats would secure time off for military members and employees seeking an abortion for themselves or their partner. The draft bill prohibits military commanders from using funds to deny such requests.

A rally in defense of abortion rights in Philadelphia in May 2019. (Joe Piette / Flickr)

+ Ginni Thomas—wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas—pressured 29 Arizona legislators to cast Electoral College votes for former President Donald Trump rather than President Joe Biden, who won the popular vote in the state, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

This year, at least 108 Republican primary winners for statewide office or congressional seats have backed Trump’s claims that he won the 2020 presidential election.

+ At the Tony Awards on Sunday, June 12, A Strange Loop actor L Morgan Lee secured a nomination in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role category, becoming the first openly transgender performer nominated.

Six: The Musical co-creator Toby Marlow also became the first non-binary composer to win a Tony for best original score.

“It just feels really amazing to be part of a season where there’s so much queerness on stage explicitly,” Marlow said. “Representation is pretty fab.”

+ On Saturday, June 11, 31 people affiliated with a white supremacist group, Patriot Front, were arrested by Idaho police on charges of criminal conspiracy. Authorities suspect they intended to riot during a Pride in the Park event held by the North Idaho Pride Alliance.

+ The Student Loan Deferment for Sexual Violence Survivors Act, introduced by Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Penn.), would provide loan deferment options for students who “temporarily withdraw from college to seek treatment and focus on mental and physical health rehabilitation” following a sexual assault.

“As a former professor, I care deeply for the well-being of undergraduate and graduate students. This legislation will help students who have experienced horrific trauma by offering them the opportunity to defer these payments so that they can focus on healing,” Dean said.

How We’re Doing

+ In covering the leaked Supreme Court draft decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade, Fox News featured guests that were 87 percent white and 64 percent male. Left-leaning outlets like CNN and MSNBS included majority women guests to comment on the Court’s decision.

With federal abortion protections in danger of reversal, this map by the Guttmacher Institute outlines abortion restrictions currently in effect in each state:

+ Women hold over a quarter—27.3 percent—of seats on Russell 3000 corporate boards as of March 31. The finding marks a 2.9 percent increase from 2021, but confirms that gender parity is substantially lacking in corporate environments.

+ A new study revealed that Black women employees disproportionately receive “non-actionable feedback,” garnering 8.8 times as much low-quality feedback as their white male colleagues under 40 years old. A study by the American Association of University Women verified that these discrepancies correlated with lower earnings and fewer leadership opportunities.

+ A national survey of U.S. adults revealed that 5 percent of respondents under 30 years old identify as transgender or non-binary, more than any other adult age group.

“Advocates have known for some time that statisticians have been undercounting the number of trans people in the U.S.,” National Center for Transgender Equality policy director Olivia Hunt said. “[As a result,] we’ve had a lot of lawmakers and policymakers dismiss the needs of trans and nonbinary people.”

+ Almost 20 percent of trans-identifying individuals in 2022 are teenagers ages 13–17, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute. The same report found 1.6 million Americans over age 13 are transgender, and the number of transgender youth in the U.S. doubled since the institute’s last estimate in 2016–17.

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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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_.