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
“Standing alongside the brave mothers of Iran. I will continue to fight against the relentless discrimination, tyranny and gender-based oppression by the oppressive religious government until the liberation of women. … I also hope this recognition makes Iranians protesting for change stronger and more organized. Victory is near.”
—Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi upon being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for leading protests and uprisings against Iran’s oppressive policies. She is currently serving a 10-year-sentence in Evin Prison, and released the above statements through her family and the New York Times.
“The challenges that we see today under the Biden administration is that the cost for daycare has gone over $15,000 per child, and the Build Back Broker Plan—he called it a Build Back Better Plan—it was going up to $29,000. The way we fix that problem is to make sure that we actually cut taxes and give more Americans their money back. … By doing that, more parents had more resources to make the decisions, how to take care of their family. The one thing we should do is let the American people keep their money. When that happens, the greatest opportunities rise from the ashes.”
—Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in the GOP presidential debate on Sept. 27, just days before $24 billion in federal funding for childcare expired. As Abby Vesoulis writes for Mother Jones, lowering taxes won’t stop tens of thousands of childcare centers from closing their doors due to a lack of funds, leaving families stranded.
+ On Thursday, Oct. 5, two rounds were fired into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Helena, Montana. No injuries were reported, nor have local police identified a suspect. The clinic’s communications coordinator released a statement assuring the public that they will continue providing care.
+ Congress members Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) introduced a bill on Wednesday, Oct. 4 that would repeal the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in Congress. The FACE Act protects abortion clinic entrances from intimidation or obstruction by protestors, and has resulted in several arrests since its passage.
+ Eighteen brick-and-mortar pharmacies are now dispensing the abortion pill mifepristone, the pharmaceutical company GenBioPro announced. There are no chain pharmacies on the list, although CVS and Walgreens say they plan to dispense the medication soon.
+ California’s S.B. 345, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday, Sept. 27, will legally shield healthcare providers who offer abortion services to to out-of-state patients, specifically via telehealth.
“With SB 345, California doctors, midwives, pharmacists and others can continue to provide the essential reproductive and gender-affirming care their patients need, regardless of where their patient is located, confident that California is protecting our medical professionals from malicious prosecution,” said Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who introduced the bill.
+ Harvard professor Claudia Goldin was honored with a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences on Monday, Oct. 2, becoming the third woman to win the economics prize, and the first to achieve it solo. She is recognized for her trailblazing research on women’s inclusion in the labor force.
BREAKING NEWS— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 9, 2023
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 2023 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel to Claudia Goldin “for having advanced our understanding of women’s labour market outcomes.”#NobelPrize pic.twitter.com/FRAayC3Jwb
+ The U.S. earned a score of C on its protection of LGBTQ+ human rights, ranking 31st out of 136 countries. The index scores the U.S. as a 0 on any measure that is violated by at least one state, which decreased the country’s collective score.
“We in the United States hold ourselves up as the paragons of democracy, but clearly we are not,” Ipas president and CEO Anu Kumar said. “I think the point of those reports is not to compare Country A to Country B. The real lesson is to think about how we could all do better.”
+ A new law in North Carolina, which would require that all surgical abortions be performed in hospitals rather than clinics, was blocked by U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles on Saturday, Sept. 30. She also extended a previous order blocking enforcement of a rule that physicians must prove their patient is pregnant before prescribing abortion medications.
Though neither law can be enforced until relevant lawsuits are resolved, the state maintains its near-total ban on abortions after 12 weeks.
How We’re Doing
+ The annual cost of having a child in the U.S. increased nearly 20 percent since 2016—to $21,681. Raising a child from birth to age 18 now totals an average of $237,482, excluding the cost of college or extracurricular activities.
“It’s completely understandable that people are scared to death of how they are going to pay to raise that kid,” LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz said.
+ More than two-in-five Latinas of reproductive age—6.7 million women—live in one of 26 states that severely restrict abortion rights or likely will in the future. Of all the Latina women in these states, nearly half already have children, and more than 3 million face insecure financial situations.
+ Latina women also made the largest workforce recovery following the pandemic. The had the highest unemployment rate amongst women during the beginning of COVID-19-related lockdowns, which has now decreased to 4.4 percent, lower than it was in 2020.
“Their recovery seems to have skyrocketed. Their labor force participation rates are currently at probably the highest levels they’ve ever been,” economics professor Maria Mora said.
+ Firearm-related injuries are the leading cause of fatalities among children in the U.S., an analysis released on Thursday, Oct 5, identified. Gun deaths among children increased 87 percent between 2011 and 2021, while nonfatal firearm injuries also increased.
“That’s exceptionally high, considering this age group is not allowed to possess firearms,” Everytown for Gun Safety senior vice president of law and policy Nick Suplina said regarding the use of guns in youth suicides. “We have a real opportunity to keep guns away from this age group by securely storing firearms.”
+ Censorship of books in U.S. schools increased by 33 percent during the 2022-23 school year, according to a PEN America report published during Banned Books Week—fueling the “Ed Scare.”
“More kids are losing access to books, more libraries are taking authors off the shelves and opponents of free expression are pushing harder than ever to exert their power over students as a whole,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement. “Those who are bent on the suppression of stories and ideas are turning our schools into battlegrounds, compounding post-pandemic learning loss, driving teachers out of the classroom and denying the joy of reading to our kids.”
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.