Keeping Score: Right-Wing Activists Spread Disinformation on Birth Control; Larry Nassar’s Survivors Reach $138.7 Million Settlement; Breast Cancer Screenings Should Start at Age 40

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

“If a stargazer wants to take a blanket or a sleeping bag out at night to watch the stars and falls asleep, you don’t arrest them. You don’t arrest babies who have blankets over them. You don’t arrest people who are sleeping on the beach, as I tend to do if I’ve been there a while. … What’s so complicated about letting someone somewhere sleep with a blanket outside if they have nowhere to sleep?” 

—Justice Sonia Sotomayor, during oral arguments of City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson. The Court will rule on if states can criminalize homelessness by punishing people for sleeping outside when there is no shelter available. 

“You’d never say that to a man, my friend.”

—Actor and singer Hannah Waddingham, calling out a photographer who demanded she show her leg for a picture.

“You have to get the job done. It’s a horrible job to do, but they have to respond. … You have to clean out the cancer.”

Trump on the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. 

“The protections afforded by EMTALA have long ensured that anyone facing an emergency medical condition could receive necessary care. It’s a promise of safety, of compassion, of dignity, of doing the right thing in times of crisis. Today, that promise is at risk and it is only at risk for people seeking emergency abortion care. We are sick and tired of abortion, a common and essential procedure that is often life-saving, being siloed when it comes to equitable healthcare access.”

—Chicago Abortion Fund executive director, Megan Jeyifo, on the importance of the Emergency Medicine Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) as the Supreme Court considers gutting it.
Abortion rights supporters rally outside the Supreme Court on April 24, 2024. (Andrew Harnik / Getty Images)

“I have treated these cases, and that moment hangs on a knife’s edge. Women can go from stable and bleeding to unstable or dead within minutes. Uninformed anti-choice lawmakers with no medical knowledge are creating these laws. They have not seen what I have seen.”

Dr. Nadija Rieser, an emergency medicine physician.

“Birth control really screws up female brains, by the way. … It creates very angry and bitter young ladies.”

—Right-wing activist and Turning Point USA founder and executive director Charlie Kirk.


+ In Arizona, an 1864 abortion ban was repealed after their Supreme Court ruled it was enforceable last month. Now, the state will revert to a 15-week limit, but the total ban will remain on the books for several months until the repeal goes into effect. This fall, a constitutional amendment will be on the ballot, allowing voters to create a fundamental right to abortion until viability (around 24 weeks).

Individuals seeking abortions later in pregnancy often have medical concerns such as fetal anomalies, maternal health or life endangerment. A person may need an abortion after the first trimester for reasons including delays in knowing they are pregnant, needing time to decide what to do about the pregnancy, difficulties in accessing care due to travel or needing the time to raise funds to pay for an abortion or travel.

+ College students across America are continuing pro-Palestine protests and solidarity actions, as over 34,000 people in Gaza have been killed and over a million more face famine. At Columbia University alone, nearly 100 students were arrested after they occupied a campus building. Many other colleges have canceled classes or graduation.

+ The Department of Justice has reached a settlement agreement with the victims of Larry Nassar. The DOJ will pay over $138 million for the FBI failing to investigate repeated warnings about the sexual abuse Nassar inflicted on his patients.

U.S. gymnasts (L-R) Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols testify during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the FBI’a handling of the Larry Nassar investigation of sexual abuse of Olympic gymnasts, on Capitol Hill, on Sept. 15, 2021. (Saul Loeb / Getty Images)

+ The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Moyle v. U.S. and Idaho v. U.S., which threaten the future of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). EMTALA requires hospitals to provide stabilizing care in emergencies, but Idaho’s laws only allow abortions when a patient’s life is at risk. Now, the Court could rule that doctors are not required to provide needed abortion care until women are on the brink of death

Alliance for Justice president Rakim H.D. Brooks called the oral arguments “a disturbing reminder that our Supreme Court is packed with conservative activists with a determined agenda. We should not be living in a world where pregnant patients may have to suffer permanent damage, potentially lose organs and future reproductive function, or possibly even die because of criminal abortion bans.” 

+ Golfer Nelly Korda won her fifth straight LPGA event and second major, tying a record. Her undefeated run has attracted new viewers—a much welcome boost for a sport facing fewer resources and inconsistent publicity compared to men’s golf.

+ The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has finalized its regulations to enforce the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The law requires accommodations for pregnant workers like bathroom breaks and stools to sit on.

Some Republican lawmakers attempted to prevent abortion from being included as a pregnancy-related medical condition that could require time off to recover. But the EEOC chose to uphold precedent and include the protections for abortion care. In response, 17 conservative attorney generals have sued.

+ The new EEOC guidance also helps protect trans and nonbinary workers by stating that consistently using the wrong name or pronouns or denying access to bathrooms can create a hostile work environment. 

EEOC Commissioner Kalpana Kotagal said, “The guidance reflects important developments affirming that individuals are protected against harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

+ Florida’s six-week abortion ban is now in effect, impacting millions of women in the South who previously relied on the state for abortion care. 

In addition, new rules require Florida doctors to send the state detailed abortion reports, and could even force patients to receive c-sections instead of abortions. The language requires doctors to “induce the lived birth of an unborn baby,” potentially forcing doctors to torture women with unnecessary major abdominal surgeries. This terrifying anti-abortion tactic is also a danger for pregnant people in states like Louisiana and Idaho. 

+ Harvey Weinstein’s New York rape conviction was overturned, and could be retried as early as this fall. An appeals court found that the original trial was unfair because witnesses were allowed to testify about allegations not directly related to the original case. Weinstein will remain in prison, serving his sentence for a separate rape he was convicted of in Los Angeles. 

Women protest against rape as they sing a song in front of the court while Harvey Weinstein attends a pre-trial session on Jan. 10, 2020, in New York City. (Kena Betancur / Getty Images)

+ A Texas man, Collin Davis, is attempting to sue a woman he was dating after she traveled to Colorado to get an abortion. He sent her a letter warning that he would pursue a wrongful death suit, and is also attempting to weaponize Texas’ restrictive abortion ban to sue the Colorado doctor. 

While the Center for Reproductive Rights, who’s representing the anonymous women, doesn’t believe there’s any basis for the lawsuit, advocates fear that this sort of legal harassment will discourage others from seeking the abortion care they need. 

+ One of the most decorated women’s basketball players ever, Candace Parker, announced her retirement. After suffering a foot injury last year, Parker said, “The competitor in me always wants 1 more, but it’s time. My HEART & body knew, but I needed to give my mind time to accept it.”

+ Over 22,000 children have been stripped of healthcare coverage in Florida this year. Their version of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (Chip) is designed for families just above the earnings threshold for Medicaid, meaning that low-income families will now be left without the insurance they need. 

“Hypocrisy abounds,” said Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Flo.). “The state of Florida and Ron DeSantis says: ‘You have to have children, you have to.’ Then if you have a child, it says: ‘OK, you’re on your own.’ This is a self-inflicted wound on the ability to have a healthy, functioning state of Florida.”

+ Nike revealed the Team USA Olympic track and field outfits, drawing criticism for a very revealing—and impractical looking—women’s bodysuit that some argue sexualizes women athletes. Thankfully, the athletes will have a wide variety of outfits to choose from. 

+ South Dakota governor Kristi Noem came under fire for proudly discussing shooting her dog in her upcoming book. Despite pushback even from other conservatives, Noem has continued to defend her actions on social media, and even suggested that President Biden’s dog Commander should be killed as well.

+ Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced a bill to limit the use of solitary confinement. The Solitary Confinement Reform Act would also improve access to mental health services for people in solitary confinement, and prohibit placing LGBTQ people in solitary confinement as a means of protection.

“The goal of our criminal justice system should be to rehabilitate offenders and prepare them for successful reentry into our society…the continued overuse of solitary confinement undermines this objective, causing psychological harm that is difficult, if not impossible, to undo,” said Durbin.

+ Right-wing influencers are using TikTok to spread disinformation about birth control and scare people into thinking contraception is dangerous or causes fertility problems. In addition, popular videos on the “rhythm method” could put people in abortion ban states at risk, by minimizing the potential risks of the unreliable method. Across the platform, millions are getting medical advice from viral videos that romanticize “breaking free” from hormonal birth control and include disinformation from non-medical professionals.

+ The United Methodist Church repealed their ban on LGBTQ clergy, with an overwhelming vote of 692-51. They will soon vote on another measure that would replace anti-LGBTQ language and define marriage as between “two people of faith,” not just between men and women.

+ New guidance recommends breast cancer screenings starting at age 40, every other year until age 74. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer for women in the U.S., and the second leading cause of cancer death, after lung cancer.

+ A bipartisan group of female senators introduced a bill to expand federal research on menopause, and improve awareness and education efforts to address mid-life women’s health needs.

According to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), “Women should not have to face menopause alone, nor should we accept a status quo that treats menopause—which half the population will experience—as something to be swept under the rug. Menopause is a key part of women’s health that deserves serious attention and investment.”

+ Meta’s new opt-out “political content” settings could limit discussions about issues like climate change, LGBTQ rights, reproductive freedom, racial justice and more. Their vague definition of “political” means that voter registration information and community building among marginalized groups may be targeted by shadow bans and other censoring tactics.

+ The Department of Education released new Title IX regulations that strengthen protections for sexual violence survivors and LGBTQ students, although they don’t guarantee trans students the right to play on sports teams. The rules reinstate a 60-day time limit for schools to complete Title IX investigations, no longer require survivors to undergo live cross-examinations, and prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy, sexuality and gender identity.

Four states—Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida and South Carolina–have already decided to ignore the regulations, likely trying to spark legal challenges to prevent the rules from going into effect in August.

Since, 15 states have filed four lawsuits against the federal government to protect the right to discrimination against LGBTQ people on campus.

How We’re Doing

+ With anti-LGBTQ laws on the rise, queer and trans youth are suffering. Almost half of trans and nonbinary young people said their families have considered moving states because of harmful legislation. A whopping 90 percent of LGBTQ youth have had their mental health negatively impacted, 50 percent have been bullied and almost 40 percent seriously considered suicide in the past year. Trans and nonbinary teens and queer youth of color are disproportionately at risk.

+ Less than 40 percent of Texans aged 18 to 24 were registered to vote in 2022. And of those registered, only 49 percent actually participated, compared to 86 percent of voters aged 65 and older. High schools can make a big difference by encouraging voting and forming habits young. But despite a Texas law requiring high schools to distribute voter registration forms, lack of enforcement means an estimated 75 percent don’t comply.

+ Since the Dobbs decision, rates of permanent sterilization procedures jumped, with the increase for female patients double that of male patients, likely due to the fear of forced pregnancy for people in abortion ban states. Since tubal ligation is a much more complex procedure than a vasectomy, it also shows that the burden of contraception once again falls on those with uteruses, and not their partners. 

+ Since the last presidential election, Latinos have grown at the second fastest rate of any racial or ethnic group, and will make up around 15 percent of eligible voters in November. Experts warn that misinformation is rising on Spanish-speaking radio, podcasts and social media platforms. Limited Spanish content moderation allows right-wing conspiracies to grow, and targeted disinformation about immigration, abortion rights and voting fraud are also common.

+ A new multi-year study from the Guttmacher Institute analyzes the chilling effects of the global gag rule that prevents U.S. global health funding from being used by organizations that provide abortions or refer people to abortion providers. Under the Trump administration’s gag rule, access to contraception and other reproductive health procedures decreased in both countries studied: Uganda and Ethiopia. Even after the rule was repealed by the Biden administration, the effects linger, and another anti-abortion president could easily reinstate it.

+ One in four women in the U.S. will have an abortion in her lifetime—a rate that has been consistent since 2014.

+ Almost 60 percent of U.S. teachers and 70 percent of parents are concerned about school shootings, and a quarter experienced a gun-related lockdown last year. Teachers in urban areas are more likely to have gun-related lockdowns, and are the least likely to feel adequately prepared by their school.

Most teachers pointed to improved mental health screening and treatment as effective ways to prevent school shootings. Only 13 percent of them believe allowing teachers to carry guns in school would help.

+ Even when women work more efficiently, men are valued by their workplace more highly. When a man takes 60 hours to complete the same amount of work that a woman does in 40, the man is more likely to receive overwork rewards and be perceived as more committed and competent than overworking women.

+ Three in five Americans support a national law protecting access to medication abortion. While a majority of Americans still trust the Supreme Court to make the right decisions, 45 percent believe the Court is taking away freedoms rather than protecting them. and two-thirds oppose the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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.