Keeping Score: 78% of Americans Say Abortion Is a Decision for a Woman and Her Doctor; Trans Kids Are Under Attack in at Least 17 States; FDA Allows Queer Men to Donate Blood

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

“I knew the significance of these magazines was important. … [My mom] had a subscription. And having these pages in our home, it signaled to me that there was just so much more than the dolled up covers and this images that you would see on the grocery store covers. It signaled to me that substance mattered. The presence of Ms. magazine was more than a tool that I inherently learned from. It was an invitation to pay very close attention to the fact that change is just one action away.”

—Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex

“I have fielded calls from families in Montana, including one family whose trans teenager attempted to take her life while watching a hearing on one of the anti-trans bills. … So, when I rose up and said, ‘There is blood on your hands,’ I was not being hyperbolic. … If you use decorum to silence people who hold you accountable, all you are doing is using decorum as a tool of oppression.”

—Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D) in a speech that preceded her being banned from the House floor by Republican legislators.

“Hospitals are required under federal law to provide stabilizing treatment to patients experiencing medical emergencies—this isn’t optional. … Women across America are suffering the consequences of extreme Republican abortion bans, with life-and-death consequences—and we have to do everything we can to protect women from the health care crisis Republicans have created.

I am glad to see HHS open this investigation and remind providers of their obligation to provide emergency medical care to patients in a medical emergency, and I hope the Department’s actions today help provide clarity to providers trying to do the right thing under difficult circumstances created by cruel Republican legislation.”

— Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in a statement on hospitals withholding abortion care as emergency treatment, which are currently under investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services.

“The district court’s order would thwart FDA’s scientific judgment and profoundly harm women who rely on mifepristone as an alternative to more burdensome and invasive surgical abortions. Those harms would be felt throughout the Nation because mifepristone has lawful uses in every State—even those with restrictive abortion laws. And the district court’s order is damaging to healthcare providers and drug sponsors, who also rely on FDA’s scientific judgment and orderly administration of the Nation’s complex system of drug regulation.

In contrast, plaintiffs have not shown that they will be injured at all, much less irreparably, by maintaining the status quo that they left unchallenged for years and that the Supreme Court has now preserved during these proceedings.”

—A filing from Biden’s Justice Department, requesting that the U.S. appeals court reverse a Texas judge’s order to overturn FDA approval of abortion drug mifepristone.

“North Carolina’s Republican supermajority-controlled legislature passed an extreme abortion ban that would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and make it even harder for women—especially those in the South—to access care. The details of this ban have been obscured to make it seem less dangerous, but this bill would make it harder for many women to get the care they need.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, women have been denied medical care they desperately need in order to preserve their health and even save their lives. They’ve been turned away from emergency rooms, made to travel hundreds of miles for care, and left with complications that threaten their ability to bear children in the future. These impacts are the direct result of extreme state-level abortion bans.”

—White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the passage of a 12-week abortion ban in North Carolina. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) vetoed the bill, which he called “an egregious, unacceptable attack on the women of our state,” though Republican legislators may have the numbers to override his veto.

“This bill is reckless. It will not help fix our debt ceiling crisis, but it will kick one million people off SNAP and exacerbate America’s hunger crisis. I am outraged that Speaker McCarthy and his cronies cynically used vulnerable Americans—the very people they are meant to represent in Congress — as political pawns by expanding cumbersome and arbitrary work requirements for safety net programs like SNAP. Rather than leading, the speaker is perpetuating tired stereotypes by blaming and shaming poor people for debt created by providing wealthy businesses and individuals with unprecedented tax breaks.”

—Abby J. Leibman, president & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill to temporarily raise the debt ceiling, which included drastic provisions to increase time limits and exclusions for SNAP (formerly food stamps), the country’s most important and effective anti-hunger program that serves nearly 40 million Americans each year.

How We’re Doing

+ Over a dozen states have passed bans on gender-affirming medical treatments for minors, such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and certain surgical procedures: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia. (And dozens of bills are being considered by lawmakers in other states.)

The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal have already raised legal challenges against several of them.

Attacks on gender-affirming care by state. (Courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign and HRC Foundation)

Texas—home to one of the largest trans communities in the country—is likely to join the list of states attacking trans kids. Proposed legislation Senate Bill 14 and its House companion bill, HB 1686, would ban gender-affirming care practices for Texans under 18. They would also revoke the medical licenses of anyone providing this care—such as surgeries, hormone therapy and puberty blockers, but also non-medical interventions, including affirming someone’s name and pronouns. In total, Texas state lawmakers are considering about 140 anti-LGBTQ+ bills this session.

+ Over half of Americans—51 percent—think that Supreme Court justices are more swayed by politics than by the law, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll of 1,006 U.S. adults. Two-in-three respondents opposed the Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

+ Twice as many respondents think the overturning of Roe was bad for the country than those who thought it was good for the country, according to a poll of Americans post-Dobbs. While 75 percent of Republicans think their party wants abortion to be illegal in all or most cases, only 57 percent of Republicans actually subscribe to that belief, and only 28 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Roe.

+ Out of 541 Congress members, just 37 are mothers of children under 18. Congress would need a total 96 mothers of minor children in order to proportionally represent the general population. Far more men in Congress—nearly a quarter of all federal legislators—are fathers, demonstrating disproportionate barriers to elected office for women with children.

“Congress was designed for wealthy, old white men to run for office. … It wasn’t designed for working parents to step up and run, and yet, that’s the voice that we need. Those are the voices we need at the table,” Vote Mama founder and CEO Liuba Grechen Shirley said.

+ Sixty-three percent of surveyed voters report “warm, favorable feelings” towards governors who have women serving as active lieutenant governors. However, far fewer voters are knowledgable about lieutenant governor positions.

“With a historic number of women serving as lieutenant governor, we expect that many of them will run for governor and win. From there, the sky’s the limit—or, maybe, the Oval Office’s the limit. After all, 17 of our 45 presidents were once governors,” President and Founder Barbara Lee of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation said.

+ Two-thirds of adults in the U.S. believe the abortion drug mifepristone should remain on the market and are opposed to a lower court’s reversal its of FDA approval, according to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll. Less than a quarter of Americans want mifepristone taken off the market. Seventy-eight percent of Americans think the decision to have an abortion should be “left to the woman and her doctor.”

+ State-level abortion legislation is affecting college decisions among current high school seniors in the Northeast. A recent IWPR poll found that more than 76 percent of seniors “do not want to go to states that restrict their reproductive health choices,” according to president and CEO Daisy Chin-Lor. Three-quarters of parents also want their children to remain in non-restrictive states.

“This dynamic has serious implications for colleges and universities, particularly those in abortion ban states that traditionally have a lot of out-of-state students,” Chin-Lor said.

+ A rising number of states, including Arkansas and Iowa, have passed legislation loosening child labor restrictions over the past two years. In 2023 alone, eight states have passed or proposed such bills. This push comes at the same time as a federal bill that would expand 16- and 17-year-old’s use of heavy machinery in the logging industry.


+ The Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday, May 11, that it will no longer prohibit all queer men from donating blood. However, the agency will turn away those who report having recent sex with new or more than one partner on their questionnaire, and those taking PrEP for HIV prevention.

“This shift toward individual donor assessments prioritizes the safety of America’s blood supply while treating all donors with the fairness and respect they deserve,” the chief executive of America’s Blood Centers, Kate Fry, said in regards to the change.

+ A Colorado bill signed on Friday, April 14 prohibits “abortion pill reversal” using progesterone, an intervention promoted by anti-abortion groups like Abortion Pill Rescue Network. Colorado is the first state to ban the practice, which has little medical basis.

“The push to promote so-called medication abortion reversal is part of a larger strategy that aims to misinform the public about abortion safety, about the effectiveness of abortion methods, about people who are seeking abortion care and how sure they are of their decision. … All of that misinformation has played an important role in eroding people’s rights to this essential component of health care,” Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) director Daniel Grossman said.

+ Hey Jane will now be the first telemedicine abortion provider to accept health insurance. Their contract with Empire BlueCross BlueShield in New York, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield in Connecticut, Aetna in eight states and Sana Benefits in nine states will mitigate the cost of abortion medication for its customers.

Another reproductive rights organization, Jane’s Due Process, will fund abortion support for teens in Texas who need to travel in order to obtain an abortion.

+ Wellspring Health Access, Wyoming’s second abortion provider and first surgical abortion provider, opened on Thursday, April 20, after launching a successful lawsuit to block the state ban triggered by Dobbs. The clinic was meant to open about 10 months prior, but was delayed due to an anti-abortion arson attack.

“It’s been a long journey, filled with obstacles and challenges, but we at Wellspring Health Access refused to give up because we believe that Wyomingites deserve access to abortion care. After nearly a year of renovations and legal challenges to keep abortion legal in Wyoming, we are overjoyed to be able to see patients and provide this much-needed care,” the clinic’s president, Julie Burkhart, said.

+ New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law two bills this month:

  • The first requires the state’s two public university systems—the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY)—to help students access abortion pills. Student activists have been pushing for the bill for years.
  • The second allows pharmacies to sell birth control over the counter.

The New York legislators followed by passing a bill on Tuesday, April 18, that will guarantee access to on-campus medication abortion for college students at SUNYs and CUNYs.

“In New York we’re fighting back to guarantee not only the right to abortion but access to it for a population that has limited time, resources and transportation options. Importantly, the college age population are more likely to seek abortion care but have less resources to access it. We can change that. This legislation will ensure that the institutions where students live, work and spend their free time are making these services accessible,” Assemblymember Harvey Epstein (D) said in a statement.

+ A federal jury in Manhattan concluded that former President Donald Trump sexually abused E. Jean Carroll in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in 1996. The jury did not find him guilt of rape, as Carroll alleged, but the court ruled that she receive $5 million for battery and defamation.

+ New York launched a gun buyback program at nine locations across the state, which collected more than 3,000 firearms, including “ghost guns” build from unassembled parts. The program offered gift cards of up to $500 to participants.

Up next:

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.


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_.