Keeping Score: Trump Convicted of 34 Felonies; Biden Celebrates Pride Month; New Anti-Abortion Law in Louisiana

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

“To the entire LGBTQI+ community—and especially transgender children—please know that your president and my entire administration have your back. We see you for who you are: made in the image of God and deserving of dignity, respect and support. America is the only Nation in the world founded on an idea: We are all created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives. We have never fully lived up to that idea, but we have never fully walked away from it either. This month, we recommit to realizing the promise of America for all Americans, to celebrating courageous LGBTQI+ people, and to taking pride in the example they set for our Nation and the world.”

President Biden officially recognizing this June as Pride Month.

“The threats to a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body and her future keep coming—right now Republicans are working to rip away access to safe medication abortion, block women from receiving emergency abortion care that could save their lives, ban abortion nationwide, and restrict access to contraception. And Republican attacks on basic healthcare are only escalating. The antiabortion movement has shown its cruelty and utter disregard for women’s lives again and again, and it is essential that we use every opportunity to continue to make clear exactly how extreme right-wing abortion bans and restrictions on reproductive health care have endangered women, hurt families, and rolled back rights.”

–Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Ver.) announcing a congressional hearing on the harm caused by abortion bans since the Dobbs decision. 

As a young girl, I would come home, I’d settle in after a day of school, pull up my TV tray with dinner and I would turn on my evening ritual: Jeopardy! And I’d glance at the coffee table, where I’d see an array of things: it could be the cat’s collar, my homework, some mail that had just been brought in—and some magazines. The magazines said Ms. on them.

“I remember them vividly because the pictures were different. There was diversity that I hadn’t seen as often, both of color and of age and the names were different. There were congresswomen, there were astronauts and the topics were different—from mothering to being a working mom to heavier topics such as domestic violence, the poverty line, unearthing its roots, where it comes from and matters of equity.

“I was too young at the time to know what most of it meant. But I also knew that to my mom, the significance of these magazines was important. I mean, it wasn’t a one-off. She 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 the images that you would see on the grocery store covers. It signaled to me that substance mattered.”

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, sharing her experience with Ms. at the Ms. Foundation 2023 Women of Vision Awards.

“There was a well-published case [in Louisiana], a woman’s water broke early, the pregnancy was nonviable, but because of the abortion ban in the state, doctors recommended a C-section because they were too worried about the liability of doing a D&C, an abortion. 

“We are now in a moment in this country where we are having to do the most dangerous procedure to save lives, it’s egregious. It’s dangerous. Doctors are afraid to do their jobs, hospitals are afraid to see patients, you’re creating healthcare deserts. We’re creating new barriers for care. And who’s the most impacted? It’s women of color, immigrant women, those most on the margins of access to care.”

–Reproductive Freedom for All president and CEO Mini Timmaraju, speaking at the Black Maternal Health Week roundtable.

“I appreciated what she said. I think she’s gonna be on our team because we have a lot of the same ideas, the same thoughts. You know, we had a nasty campaign; it was pretty nasty. But she’s a very capable person, and I’m sure she’s going to be on our team in some form. Absolutely.”

–Donald Trump, praising Nikki Haley after she announced she would vote for him in November.

“I was losing so much blood, the security guard put me in a wheelchair. The standard treatment for a miscarriagewhat I was experiencingis exactly the same treatment as a medication abortion. Yet in the second hospital, the staff told me that ‘we’re not doing that now’ and told me to go home and wait. Ultimately, it took weeks for me to pass my pregnancyat home, and I was absolutely terrified. This experience has made me see how Black women die without proper maternal care.”

–Louisiana resident Kaitlyn Joshua, who experienced a miscarriage at 11 weeks and faced the grim realities of the state’s near-total abortion ban.

Milestones

+ Former President Trump was convicted of 34 felony charges last week, at the end of his hush money trial in New York. His sentencing is scheduled for July 11, four days before the Republican National Convention where he is expected to formally become their presidential nominee.

The morning after Donald Trump was convicted in Manhattan Criminal Court, the former president’s supporters, detractors, along with media and tourists, crowd the streets of 5th Avenue outside of Trump Tower on May 31, 2024 in New York City. (Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images)

+ Senate Republicans blocked the Right to Contraception Act (RTCA), which received 51 votes but couldn’t overcome the filibuster. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted with Democrats in support of the bill, which would have codified the right to birth control and emergency contraception.

+ Almost half of swing-state voters trust Vice President Kamala Harris to take over as president if necessary. However, polls still show that she would do worse than President Biden in a campaign race with Donald Trump.

+ Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey’s millionaire tax has already generated $1.8 billion, $800 million more than expected for this year. The state plans to invest the additional revenue in education and infrastructure.

“Opponents of the Fair Share Amendment claimed that multimillionaires would flee Massachusetts rather than pay the new tax, and they are being proven wrong every day,” said a spokesperson for Raise Up Massachusetts.

+ The Texas Supreme Court rejected a challenge to their abortion ban led by 20 women who were denied medically necessary abortions.

+ Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Katie Britt (R-Ala.) bashed a Progress Action Fund ad depicting a generic Republican politician taking a baby from a couple that used IVF, amid attempts to ban the procedure in Republican-dominated states. The senators claimed it was “utterly repulsive,” and pointed to their bill that would cut Medicaid from states that ban IVFwhich wouldn’t protect IVF at all, since the same states want to cut Medicaid anyway. 

“Ted Cruz is disgusting, deceptive, and shameless,” responded Progress Action Fund Founder and Executive Director Joe Jacobson. “His bill is a Trojan Horse that would help accomplish his repulsive goal of taking away healthcare and reproductive freedom from millions of Americans. The American people will see right through Cruz’s charade, as threatening Republicans with Medicaid cuts is as much of a deterrent as threatening him with a trip to Cancun.”

+ A new rule proposed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons would punish incarcerated people who use social media or direct others to on their behalf. Many incarcerated people use social media to follow the lives of friends and family and raise awareness of abusive living conditions within prisons. But the proposed rule would put social media use in the same “high risk” discipline category as fighting and property damage.

+ A South Dakota coalition has been blocked by Lamar Advertising from running billboards with a link to information on abortion care, despite Lamar approving the campaign in January. A similar billboard campaign in Chicago was also blocked by Lamar in Chicago this spring.

+ The three liberal Supreme Court justices recused themselves from a lawsuit filed against them for rejecting a case seeking to overturn the 2020 election. Raland Brunson previously sued hundreds of members of Congress for not investigating election fraud, and certifying President Biden’s win. The Court rejected that suit in 2023, and has now also refused to hear his case against Justices Sotomayor, Kagan and Jackson.

+ Several Texas professors are suing for the right to misgender transgender students and teaching assistants, as well as punish students who need to miss class to get an abortion

+ Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry signed a new anti-abortion bill into law, classifying mifepristone and misoprostol as dangerous controlled substances, at the same level as powerful opioids. The bill will make it much harder for patients to receive medication abortion prescriptions, and will increase the fear and scrutiny abortion care providers and patients face. 

Mifepristone is a medication typically used in combination with misoprostol to bring about a medical abortion during pregnancy and manage early miscarriage. (Soumyabrata Roy / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

+ Massachusetts man Robert Kawada has been charged with poisoning and assault and battery after tricking his ex-girlfriend of a few months into taking abortion pills. Prosecutors say Kawada faked a phone call from a nurse recommending iron pills, and then gave her misoprostol instead.

+ The Biden administration has canceled $7.7 billion in student loans, affecting over 160,000 people. This brings their total canceled debt to a whopping $167 billion, for 4.75 million people.

+ Anti-abortion doctor Ingrid Skop was appointed to the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee, which studies the impact of abortion bans on maternal mortality. In 2021, Skop testified that rape and incest victims as young as 9 could safely carry pregnancies to term.

+ Melinda French Gates is leaving the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and launching her new philanthropic efforts with a $1 billion pledge to organizations focused on women and families. 

“In nearly 20 years as an advocate for women and girls, I have learned that there will always be people who say it’s not the right time to talk about gender equality. Not if you want to be relevant. Not if you want to be effective with world leaders (most of them men). The second the global agenda gets crowded, women and girls fall off. It’s frustrating and shortsighted,” she shared.

+ Maurie D. McInnis will be the first permanent female president of Yale University. The author and cultural historian is currently president of Stony Brook University, where she recently survived a censure vote after over 30 pro-Palestine protesters were arrested on campus. 

+ Minnesota defeated Boston 3-0 to win the first Professional Women’s Hockey League championship. The league has six teams, and promising attendance means next year’s season will increase from 24 to 30 games.

+ The NCAA could reach a $2.8 billion settlement agreement with college athletes that would allow students to be paid and receive back pay for television revenue since 2016. But with football and men’s basketball the major TV revenue drivers, the settlement could violate Title IX by discriminating against women athletes. 

Colleges already struggle to meet Title IX requirements: a 2019 survey found that 80 to 90 percent of athletic programs did not comply with Title IX. They regularly underfund women’s programs and offer more scholarship aid to men. University of Florida women’s volleyball coach Mary Wise comments, “What we’ve seen in the past in women’s athletics is if they don’t have a seat at the table, they’ll be on the menu.”

+ As the Supreme Court considers another abortion case, almost 6,000 doctors from all 50 states have signed a letter urging the Court to uphold the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and protect emergency abortion care. 

“We know firsthand how complications from pregnancy can lead very quickly to a medical crisis, requiring immediate care and treatment. Doctors and health professionals in emergency departments must be allowed to use the full range of medical options to save these patients’ lives, including abortion,” the letter states.

+ Mexico elected their first woman and first Jewish president, Claudia Sheinbaum. Sheinbaum won with over 58 percent of the vote, and is the former governor of Mexico City. She also holds a Ph.D. in energy engineering. 

Claudia Sheinbaum of ”Sigamos Haciendo Historia”—or Together We Will Make History—party waves at supporters after the first results released by the election authorities show that she leads the polls by wide margin on June 3, 2024, in Mexico City, Mexico. (Hector Vivas / Getty Images)

How We’re Doing

+ Americans are getting their periods younger, at an average of 11.9 for those born from 2000-2005, compared to 12.5 for those born between 1950-1969. Better nutrition and higher body fat percentage may be one cause, but researchers worry that endocrine-disrupting chemicals from plastics and pollution may also be to blame. 

Girls of color and those with lower socioeconomic status are more likely to start their periods early. And early puberty can stunt growth and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and breast cancer, as well as sexual violence, anxiety and depression. 

+ New research found that pregnancy requires about 50,000 dietary calories, much more than previously believed. Scientists assumed that the energy was solely for the fetus, but found that 96 percent of the energy required for pregnancy was actually needed for the heavy demands on the pregnant person’s body. 

+ Around 8.5 percent of all assessments on the Ada Health app are of sexual health-related conditions. As such, Ada was also one of the founding members of the U.S. Business Action to End HIV by the Health Action Alliance, a coalition to reduce the transmission of HIV in the United States.

Ms. spoke to Dr. Claire Novorol, chief medical officer and co-founder at Ada Health, to learn more about the role that AI tools play in reproductive healthcare. The app uses AI technology to assist in the early diagnosis of symptoms in patients using a conversational bot and an algorithm trained in medical knowledge.

“We do a lot of work to ensure that we’re providing equitable access to health information and care through the AI and that we’re training the AI to be as valuable as possible across all age groups and all conditions,” said Novorol. She emphasized that the single largest user group for the app is young women, and so training the AI to be cognizant of how issues may present uniquely in female-bodied individuals is a priority. “We’ve actually had quite a lot of feedback from people saying that they received their endometriosis diagnoses after Ada suggested it despite years of navigating the system and not having a diagnosis.”

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.

About

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