Keeping Score: ‘Justice Has Been a Long Time Coming’

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

“Compliance with one set of obligations necessitates the violation of another. Placing physicians in the ethical impasse of choosing between providing the best available medical care and risking substantial penalties under state law, or protecting themselves and their medical practice, challenges the very core of the Hippocratic Oath: ‘Do no harm.’ … [It is] especially devastating for underserved populations, including patients living in rural areas, minoritized populations, and pregnant patients with low incomes.”

—A brief submitted by 10 health-focused organizations condemning Texas’ disregard of federal guidance on abortion as emergency medical care.

An abortion rights activist holds up signs during a rally on June 25, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (Sergio Flores / Getty Images)

“Justice has been a long time coming. For two months in 2020, I sat in custody thinking and believing I might die in prison — and for what? … For me, Goodlett’s guilty plea is bittersweet. This case will follow me the rest of my life. I have to live as a witness to Bre’s horrific and tragic death.”

—Kenneth Walker on the death of his girlfriend Breonna Taylor in 2020, two years after which former detective Kelly Goodlett pleaded guilty to involvement in Taylor’s murder by police.

“We are seeing increasingly people in public life and people in positions of responsibility, particularly women, racialized Canadians, people of minority or different community groups, being targeted almost because of the increasing strength of your voices. … We are seeing a backlash. … We have to ask ourselves what kind of country we are, what kind of country we want to be.”

—Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing the harassment of deputy PM Chrystia Freeland, who was verbally attacked and called a “traitor” and “fucking bitch.”

“Many people are shocked at the outcome in Kansas, but we at the Black Women’s Health Imperative are not surprised. As reproductive justice organizers, we know that smart, consistent and insistent organizing means we can and will win. This win simply affirms what we’ve known for a long time: people support a woman’s right to make the most important decisions for her body. … Black women, girls, and gender non-conforming people in conservative states like Kansas deserved this win. We celebrate the tremendous organizing that went into this moment. This win should inspire us all — especially those of us in red and purple states — to keep pushing to protect abortion access.”

—Breya Johnson of Black Women’s Health Imperative on Kansas voters’ decision to maintain reproductive freedom in the Kansas Constitution despite a proposed amendment seeking to remove abortion rights.

For the first time ever, the Veterans Health Administration will finally be able to provide abortion care to ensure none of our veterans or their eligible dependents will have to face medical emergencies—or stay pregnant after a rape or incest—simply because Republican politicians think they know what’s best for them. … This action by the Biden Administration will make a real difference to veterans and their families—it’s a common-sense policy that will quite literally save lives.”

—Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) praising the Biden administration’s support of abortion as emergency medical care, including within the Veteran Health Administration (VHA).

Milestones

+ Legislation passed by 205 members of Spain’s Congress defines consent as an affirmative “yes,” and says it cannot be assumed by silence. The decision came following a 2016 case in which a woman was gang raped, but the perpetrators were only convicted of sexual abuse.

+ Republican ad campaigns are alleging support for early-term abortions, despite previously documented anti-choice stances. Reproductive rights organizations claim the shift came in an attempt to avoid facing backlash following the Dobbs Supreme Court decision.

+ New California legislation allocates millions of dollars to fund travel for pregnant people in states where abortion is restricted or criminalized. The Abortion Practical Support Fund will include $20 million of taxpayer money in addition to private donations.

+ Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccines targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants are now approved and available to the public, with a recommendation from the CDC. The Biden administration’s fall booster campaign hopes to curb COVID-19 spread, especially as flu season approaches.

+ Partners in Abortion Care, an all-trimester abortion clinic opening in College Park, Md., will offer pregnancy termination up to 34 weeks, and is one of only a few to accept patients in their third trimester. A close neighbor of many southern states where abortion is severely restricted or banned, the clinic is bound to draw travelers from across the region.

+ Following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, medical school students fear their education and training will be compromised in states where they are banned from performing abortion procedures.

“Do I pursue my education in a state where I want to be ideally, but it’s going to potentially undercut me and not make me as prepared as a physician for my patients? Or do I leave?” Texas second-year medical student Jessica Flores said.

+ The Federal Trade Commission is suing data broker Kochava for selling precise data that could reveal smartphone users’ visits to sensitive locations—such as abortion clinics, religious sites or shelters. Even healthcare providers who visit such clinics could be exposed by such tracking practices, and consumers aren’t made aware of the risks.

+ The U.K.’s third female prime minister was announced on Monday, Sept. 5, when foreign minister Liz Truss was named the new leader of the Conservative Party. She will replace Boris Johnson, who was forced to resign.

How We’re Doing

+ Politicians are contributing greatly to misinformation campaigns in 2022, with over 100 Republican midterm candidates perpetuating claims of fraud in the 2020 election. There are even more Facebook posts from politicians sharing misinformation this year than in 2020, especially amongst non-incumbent Republicans.

+ After years of counting prisoners as residents of the regions where prisons are located, California redistricting reforms revealed where most prisoners in the state come from. Knowing which cities and counties have high imprisonment rates can help supply resources to impacted communities.

“The whole purpose of the women’s movement is to maximize choices for women so that every choice is a viable one. Income should not be a thing that dictates that, which it totally is right now,” said Century Foundation director Julie Kashen.

+ New research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that single, women without have significantly higher wealth ($65,000) than single men without children ($57,000). Single mothers had an average wealth of just $7,000.

+ Self-employment amongst American women has skyrocketed since the pandemic, with 600,000 more people working for themselves in the first six months of 2022, including 0.7 percent more women and 1.1 percent more Black woman.

“The child care industry was sick before the pandemic, now it’s dying. It’s a failed market, it’s in a death spiral,” author Elliot Haspel said.

+ A survey of 16- to 40-year-old Millennials and Gen Zers found high levels of daily news consumption, but only a third pay to consume news through subscriptions. Many do not view news outlets as portraying diverse or trustworthy perspectives, and suffer from digital fatigue, according to the American Press Institute.

U.S. democracy is at a dangerous inflection point—from the demise of abortion rights, to a lack of pay equity and parental leave, to skyrocketing maternal mortality, and attacks on trans health. Left unchecked, these crises will lead to wider gaps in political participation and representation. For 50 years, Ms. has been forging feminist journalism—reporting, rebelling and truth-telling from the front-lines, championing the Equal Rights Amendment, and centering the stories of those most impacted. With all that’s at stake for equality, we are redoubling our commitment for the next 50 years. In turn, we need your help, Support Ms. today with a donation—any amount that is meaningful to you. For as little as $5 each month, you’ll receive the print magazine along with our e-newsletters, action alerts, and invitations to Ms. Studios events and podcasts. We are grateful for your loyalty and ferocity.

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About

Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a rising 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_.