Keeping Score: Arizona Supreme Court Weighs 1864-Era Abortion Ban; Kate Cox Is Denied an Abortion; Women Call Out Toxic Workplaces

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

Texas political thugs have no business forcing a woman to beg for vital medical treatment in court or intimidating doctors who may help her with potential lifetime imprisonment.

—Rachel O’Leary Carmona, Women’s March executive director, after the Texas Supreme Court overturned a district court ruling allowing Kate Cox to abort her nonviable pregnancy.

“It does represent, in my view, one of the most shameful chapters in the history of our country.” 

U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw, referring to the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the border. Sabraw approved a settlement prohibiting the practice for at least the next eight years and offering aid and clear immigration records to the impacted families. 

“The civil rights of children is at stake, because it’s more likely it’s going to be Black kids and kids with disabilities who are subjected to all kinds of biases that deny them an educational opportunity.”

Daniel Losen, senior director for the education team at the National Center for Youth Law, on the disturbing trend of schools sending students to the emergency room for behavioral issues.


+ Sandra Elkin, creator of the groundbreaking feminist public television series Woman (1972–1977) died on Nov. 8. The digitized collection of nearly 200 episodes of Woman is now available to stream for free in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB). Explore the Woman collection.

Sandra Elkin in 1977. (Denver Post via Getty Images)

+ After voters chose to enshrine reproductive rights in the Ohio state constitution, state legislators quickly proposed a bill to prevent courts from enforcing the new amendment—a dangerous attempt to deny the will of the voters. 

+ Democrats in New Hampshire have started the process to put a ballot measure in front of voters in 2024 that would enshrine abortion into the state constitution. The proposed constitutional amendment would protect the right to an abortion before 24 weeks gestation, in line with current state law. At the ballot box, at least 66 percent of voters would need to vote yes on the proposed amendment for it to take effect.

+ Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) finally dropped his blockade of military promotions, after delaying them for almost a year as a protest against a Pentagon policy allowing travel and expenses for employees seeking abortion care. He continues to hold up the promotions of senior generals.

+ The first Colorado guaranteed income program for new moms will provide $750 per month for 15 months to 20 new moms. The Healthy Beginnings Project will include quarterly surveys, journal entries and roundtable discussions throughout the program to show how guaranteed income can affect maternal health and address health inequities.  

“The maternal health crisis is sadly nothing new, but meaningful solutions to it are,” said Katherine Gold, CEO of Goldbug, the company leading the project. “My hope is that this program can help us build toward a future in which new moms and their babies have the peace of mind and proven benefits of financial stability—not just in Colorado, but across the country.”

+ In Idaho, a law banning trans students from using the bathroom of their gender identity was temporarily blocked after 21 state attorneys filed an amicus brief in support of trans people.

The brief outlines the “emotional, psychological, educational, and constitutional harm” that bathroom bans cause, and highlights that there have been no reported instances of transgender students harassing others in states that allow trans students to use their bathroom of choice. 

+ A top banking regulator, Federal Deposit Corp. (FDIC) has come under fire for a hostile work environment for women, with supervisors across the country reportedly inviting employees to a strip club, sending unsolicited dick pics and pressuring employees to drink alcohol. In response, five Republican senators have called for Chair Martin Gruenberg to resign.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) building on March 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Nathan Posner / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

+ A lawsuit from former and current New Jersey state troopers accuses the department of creating a hostile environment for women, echoing similar claims of discrimination from gay, Black and Latino officers. The Justice Department is now investigating after claims of policies that withheld promotions from women and retaliated against moms pumping breastmilk. 

“We’re never going to stop the cycle if we don’t speak up,” said one of the plaintiffs, Wanda Stojanov.

+ Six governors sent a letter to the Biden administration, urging them to ensure that the first ever over-the-counter birth control pill is covered by insurance.

+ Representative Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) introduced the bipartisan Minority Entrepreneurship Grant Program Act, which would support entrepreneurs at institutions like historically Black colleges and universities, decreasing barriers for the next generation of small business owners. 

+ Chris Christie criticized his fellow Republican presidential candidates, arguing that voters deserve to hear a straight answer on their abortion policies. 

+ A Wisconsin judge ruled that their 1849 law does not ban abortions. Now state law will revert to a pre-Dobbs 20-week limit on abortion. 

“Freedom wins. Equality wins. Women’s health wins,” Attorney General Josh Kaul said. “This ruling is a momentous victory, and we are prepared to defend it—and reproductive freedom in Wisconsin.”

+ Anti-abortion states are once again working to undercut reproductive rights via the Supreme Court. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), requires hospitals that accept Medicare funds to provide an abortion to emergency patients when it is necessary to stabilize their condition, even if it would normally be banned in the state. 

But two new Supreme Court cases put this interpretation of the law at risk. In Idaho v. United States and Moyle v. United States, anti-abortion state officials are asking the Court to overturn the right to medically necessary abortions. Pro-abortion legal experts say the EMTALA statute is clear and the cases should be easily dismissed. But the conservative majority on the Supreme Court may be tempted to keep chipping away at abortion rights.  

+ Anti-abortion pregnancy centers in West Virginia will receive $1 million in taxpayer money from the state. 

+ Twenty-three independently owned abortion clinics closed in 2023, leaving many states in the South and Midwest without any independent clinics. 

How We’re Doing

+ The Arizona State Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Dec. 12 over whether a centuries-old near-total abortion ban will be reinstated.

“A near-total ban on abortion in our state would be catastrophic to the well-being of our communities and deeply out of touch with the will of the majority of Arizonans,” said Dr. Jill Gibson, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Arizona. “Arizonans deserve the freedom to make their own decisions about their reproductive health.”

A pro-abortion rights rally in Dayton, Ohio, on May 14, 2023—two weeks after the Dobbs v. Jackson decision overturning Roe v. Wade leaked from the Supreme Court. (Whitney Saleski / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

+ President Biden has appointed 95 women and 96 people of color as federal judges so far, becoming the first president to make them a majority of appointees. With 145 total judges appointed so far, both women and people of color make up 66 percent of the list, and women of color make up 42 percent. In comparison, at the same point in their presidencies, Trump’s appointees were 24 percent women and 14 percent people of color, and Obama’s were 47 percent women and 37 percent people of color.

+ West Virginia, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada and Alabama have the highest rates of workplace sexual harassment, despite overall decreases in charges filed from 2018 to 2021.

With 367 charges filed for workplace sexual harassment between 2018 and 2021, West Virginia has the highest rate at 5.12 per 100,000. But while the 82 percent decrease in charges over those years may be a sign of progress, it could also show that victims are just not filing charges.

+ Only 0.2 percent of global development funding was spent on preventing gender-based violence in 2022. Countries spent $204 billion in global aid, but gender-based violence is often overlooked, despite 245 million women and girls facing violence from their partners every year.

Eighty-six percent of women and  girls live in countries without strong legal protections against violence, and 89,000 were killed intentionally in 2022, the highest number in the past 20 years. On average, more than 133 women or girls were killed every day by someone in their own family.

+ A new poll shows that young Americans are ready to vote in record numbers in 2024. Fifty-seven percent of those aged 18-34 are “extremely likely” to vote, with 51 percent leaning towards a Democratic candidate, 30 percent towards Republican, and 16 percent undecided. They are most motivated to vote by inflation, climate change and gun violence. However, less than 20 percent of young people have heard from community organizations, candidates or political parties.

+ Voters in swing states show strong support for expanding work permits for undocumented immigrants. Only one quarter of those surveyed were opposed. The strong support is consistent among Mexican American voters, white voters, Democrats and Independents.

This could be an issue that drives turnout, with voters signaling they would be much more excited to vote in the presidential election if a candidate for president supported expanding work permits. Messaging research shows that voters respond to both emotional and practical appeals—highlighting the challenges mixed-status families and undocumented immigrants face, and also the benefits to the economy.

+ Ninety guaranteed income programs in 30 states and D.C. have been created since 2017, becoming the most widely implemented type of cash transfer program in the U.S. 

Many of the programs target women, especially women in marginalized communities, but more research is needed to quantify how the programs have affected gender equity, especially since women were heavily impacted by the “gendered expectations of care work” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

+ Hate crimes are on the rise, but distrust of police, confusing legal definitions and inadequate police training means that many hate crimes go unreported or unprosecuted. 

Despite 47 states having hate crime laws, 86.1 percent of law enforcement agencies reported to the FBI that not a single hate crime had occurred in 2019. And while FBI data shows incidents rising from 10,840 in 2021 to 11,634 in 2022, self-reported surveys include many more incidents that went unreported. 

+ A Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans think the criminal justice system is “not tough enough”—but it failed to highlight the voices of BIPOC and women voters, who are especially concerned about crime and gun violence. Black women are the group most concerned about gun violence, and women voters prefer a comprehensive approach to crime that includes preventative measure like addressing illegal guns. 

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.


Katie Fleischer (she/they) is a Ms. editorial assistant working on the Front and Center series and Keeping Score.