Keeping Score: State-Level Attacks on IVF and Abortion; Florida Parents Sue DeSantis Admin Over Book Bans; LGBTQ+ Women Face High Rates of Arrest

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

“My husband is calm, steady and strong, has character, integrity. Or we have the other choice … chaotic.”

–Dr. Jill Biden, as new polling suggests President Biden is leading among those who voted in 2020.

“People should be incredibly alarmed at the current lack of protection for contraceptive rights. A right that we have today is not guaranteed tomorrow.  Many Americans were shocked at the overturning of Roe, settled law many believed would never be thrown out.  Yet today we have been living in a post-Roe world for nearly two years.”

–Julie Burkhart, leader on abortion rights and president of Wellspring Health Access.

“Women turned out in the midterm elections and said, ‘This is enough.’ And we’ve gotta do it again.”

Melinda French Gates, announcing that she’ll vote for Biden in November.

“I do believe the Texas laws are working as designed.”

–Amy O’Donnell, director of communications for the Texas Alliance for Life, reinforced her support of abortion bans after Samantha Casiano was forced to carry and give birth to a daughter with a fatal condition, and then struggled to afford a funeral for her.

“This meritless case should never have seen the light of day. While we are relieved that abortion medication will remain accessible, this case serves as an example of the extremes that anti-abortion forces will go to in their quest to ban all abortions in the U.S.

“Decades of scientific research have shown us the abortion pill is safe, and it is the preferred choice of most of our patients at Whole Woman’s Health. Those who brought this case are not only ignoring medical science, they are ignoring the will of the vast majority of Americans who support abortion. This case was never about health and safety; it was about power, control and politics.”

–Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, responds to the Supreme Court’s ruling in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine.

“For more than two decades, and across five presidential administrations, millions of Americans have relied upon FDA’s expert judgment that mifepristone is safe and effective for termination of early pregnancies. Today, more than half of those who choose to terminate their pregnancies rely on mifepristone to do so. I am proud of the work of lawyers at the Justice Department for vigorously defending the FDA’s expert judgment about the safety and efficacy of a medication that women have relied upon for more than twenty years. But our work does not end today.”

–Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on the Supreme Court’s decision in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine.

“We are in a gun violence epidemic, and the only candidate at the top of the ticket with a proven record of opposing the gun lobby, passing common sense gun safety legislation, and fighting to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is President Biden. He knows that weapons of war don’t belong on our streets, and since taking office, has made historic strides to address the crisis of gun violence in our country.”

–DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, in the wake of the Supreme Court legalizing bump stocks, while President Biden called for a ban on assault weapons.

“Abortion in this country is not about protecting the lives of mothers. It is about killing the child because you weren’t responsible enough to keep your skirt down.”

–North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson‘s comments featured in a campaign ad for his governor race rival, Attorney General Josh Stein.

“The opportunity to grow my family on my own terms means a lot to me, especially after being robbed of the power to manage my last pregnancy by extremist lawmakers in Wisconsin. I am outraged that the same lawmakers who claim to support growing families like mine continue to stand in the way of protecting access to IVF treatment. It’s hypocrisy, plain and simple.”

–Dr. Anna Igler, an OB-GYN who was forced to travel to Colorado for an abortion after a severe fetal diagnosis.


+ The Supreme Court upheld access to medication abortion. Their unanimous FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine ruling found that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the regulations on mifepristone, because they weren’t harmed by patients having access to the medication.

+ However, the Court didn’t address the merits of challenges to mifepristone. So future suits could lead to increased restrictions. The ruling also hinted that the pending Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) abortion case may limit access to emergency abortion care.

+ Just hours after releasing a statement in support of IVF, Senate Republicans killed a bill that would have protected nationwide access. Republicans in 14 states have introduced anti-IVF bills this year alone.

In 2021, over 86,00 infants born—or 2.3 percent of all infants born in the U.S.—were conceived through the use of assisted reproductive technologies like IVF. (Abraham Gonzalez Fernandez / Getty Images)

+ New Hampshire became the 13th state to end child marriage, raising the minimum age to 18 with no exceptions.

+ Award-winning poet and founder of Shameless Hussy Press Alta Gerrey died at age 81. Shameless Hussy was the first feminist press and published the first edition of for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange.

+ Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia and the third Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage.

+ A cure for sickle cell disease may be on the horizon, as a 12-year-old boy became the first patient to begin a months-long gene therapy process.

+ More than 90 people formerly incarcerated in Illinois youth detention centers are suing the state, coming forward about decades of sexual harassment and assault. The suit argues that state agencies failed to supervise, investigate, and discipline abusive employees.

+ New executive actions would close the southern border to many people seeking asylum, heightening the screening process and restricting access when ports are busy. “Elevating the credible fear asylum screening standard would be unjust, return refugees to persecution, subvert international law, and fail to address the real challenges at the border,” said Human Rights First.

+ Conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation are encouraging Donald Trump to prevent employers from covering abortion care if he becomes president in November. The Labor Department, they threaten, could forbid employer-sponsored health plans from covering abortion care in states with bans. Trump could also rescind a recent federal rule requiring employers to offer reasonable accommodations, like time off, for abortions.

+ Florida parents have sued DeSantis’ Board of Education, arguing that book ban bills discriminate against parents who oppose censorship. 

“Florida has become a national leader in book banning, garnering mass attention for the unprecedented number of books that have been removed from our public schools. Denying parents an appropriate avenue to challenge censorship is undemocratic, and stifling viewpoints the state disagrees with is unlawful. Ultimately, these actions perpetuate the statewide attack on members of the Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ communities in an attempt to erase them from our history books,” said Samantha Past from the ACLU of Florida.

A student holds a placard at a Walkout 2 Learn rally to protest Florida education policies outside Orlando City Hall on April 21, 2023. (Paul Hennessy / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

+ Evanston, Ill., is the first U.S. city with a government reparations program, which has paid almost $5 million to Black residents over three years. Now, conservative group Judicial Watch is suing to shut the program down.

+ An Indiana anti-abortion lawsuit is trying to gain access to the health records of abortion patients. Two doctors that provide abortions are pushing back against political pressure from the Attorney General, explaining that the detailed records could be used to identify individual patients. 

“People who need an abortion deserve access to confidential medical care without being exposed to harassment and intimidation by anti-abortion extremists. Our clients are committed to upholding the dignity of their patients and protecting the privacy of their medical records,” argued Stephanie Toti, executive director of the Lawyering Project.

+ No states with extreme abortion bans over paid family leave.

+ Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) reintroduced the Supreme Court Tenure Establishment and Retirement Modernization (TERM) Act, which would create an 18-year term limit for Supreme Court justices. 

“Let’s be clear: Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, hijacked our courts, stealing two Supreme Court seats and packing the bench with ideological extremists and political operatives in service of a radical agenda, overturning Roe, reducing access to abortion, ending marriage equality and eliminating necessary protections for women and people of color,” said Nicole Relalado, vice president of campaigns at UltraViolet. “They will not stop until they turn back a generation of rights and progress even as the overwhelming majority of Americans reject this agenda.

“Term limits on Supreme Court justices are crucial to ensuring that extremists can’t stay on the bench forever–and that our Courts reflect the will of the American people.”

+ The Texas Supreme Court tightened their already strict abortion ban, ruling that medical exemptions only apply when the pregnant person is at risk of death or serious impairment. They reversed a lower court decision that allowed abortions when a pregnancy is unsafe or the fetus has a fatal condition. Now, pregnant people will be forced to wait as their health deteriorates, until their doctors feel confident that they won’t face legal threats.

+ Meanwhile, Texas Republicans have officially proposed the death penalty for abortions. Their new party platform defines abortion as homicide and also includes homophobic and transphobic policies. 

+ The Idaho GOP has also expanded anti-abortion and anti-IVF language in their party platform. They’re now calling for criminalizing abortion as murder, including the destruction of embryos during the IVF process.

+ Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) introduced a bill that would create a government database with pregnancy and adoption resources, but no information on abortion care. Advocates warn that the More Opportunities for Moms to Succeed (MOMS) Act would collect the personal data of pregnant people, which could be dangerous for those in abortion ban states.

+ An anti-immigrant ballot measure will be on the Arizona ballot in November, in an effort to bypass Gov. Katie Hobbs’ (D) veto. The measure would empower law enforcement to arrest anyone they suspect are undocumented immigrants, and allow state judges to deport them.

+ Thirty years after the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) prioritized reproductive rights and women’s health, the Biden-Harris administration announced new efforts to increase access to global reproductive health, prevent maternal mortality and end forced marriages and female genital mutilation.

+ New Pregnant Workers Fairness Act regulations are now in effect, requiring accommodations for pregnant postpartum and breastfeeding workers, as well as those experiencing miscarriages or abortion care.

+ President Biden announced a new immigration policy that protects about 500,000 noncitizens who are married to American citizens, creating a path to permanent residency without having to leave the country.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Senator Durbin (D-Ill.) responded: “Allowing those who have lived here at least 10 years a chance to continue living here without fear of deportation is fair and long overdue. The Republican Party and its chosen leader see immigration in terms of fear and hate and ‘poisoning the blood’ of America. President Biden understands that, as challenging as it may be, immigration is at the heart of who we are as Americans.”

+ “Kayden’s Law” passed in Pennsylvania, establishing new child custody regulations that protect children at risk of abuse and domestic violence.

+ A federal judge overturned some of North Carolina’s abortion restrictions, allowing patients to take abortion pills at home. However, patients are still required to attend an in-person consultation three days before taking their medications.

+ The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission are considering designating 50 West 13th Street as a landmark. The historic site was home to 19th century businessman and civil rights activist Jacob Day and abolitionist and suffragist Sarah Smith Tompkins Garnet, as well as the off-broadway 13th Street Repertory Company.

+ OpenAI employees have published a letter warning of the serious risks of AI, and calling on AI companies to prioritize open feedback from and the safety of their employees. OpenAI has previously been criticized for extreme non-disclosure agreements that restrict former employees.

+ U..N Women denounced the “gender-critical” movement that falsely frames trans women as a threat to women’s rights. In recent years, their transphobic rhetoric has been on the rise in the U.S. and the U.K., thanks in part to J.K. Rowling’s extremism.

How We’re Doing

+ In the month since Florida’s abortion ban took effect, clinics have been forced to turn away around 75 percent of their patients. Many are past six-weeks, others are too early for ultrasounds, adding complications. Nearby states are also feeling the effects. As far away as New York, one abortion fund reported a 460 percent increase in callers from Florida.

+ Unsurprisingly, people who have epidurals have lower blood pressure and are more relaxed and rested during labor. As a result, they have a lower risk of hemorrhage, surgical complications, and other maternal health concerns.

+ Over 80 percent of maternal deaths in the U.S. are preventable, and Black women are disproportionately at risk. In 2022, the U.S. maternal mortality rate was more than double that of other high-income countries, at 22 deaths per 100,000 live births. That rate soars to 49.5 for Black women. Almost two-thirds of maternal deaths in the U.S. occur postpartum, likely due to no home visits, a shortage of maternity care providers, and lack of guaranteed paid leave.

+ Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, medication abortions have increased from 53 percent of abortions to 63 percent. In states with bans, at least 8,000 people every month are ordering abortion pills from pro-choice states, and there are likely many more self-managed medication abortions going unreported.

+ Only 1 percent of C-suite executives are Latinas. Between entry level and C-suite roles, representation of Latinas drops by 78 percent, the largest of any group. Some of the main challenges they report are disinterest and lack of trust from managers. Only 47 percent of Latinas say their manager evaluates them based on their results, compared to 57 percent of white women.

+ In addition, Latinas earn just 52 cents for every dollar earned by a white man, and are less likely than the average woman to receive a raise. As a result, they lose almost $1.2 million in lifetime earnings and have an average net worth less than 1 percent of the average white man’s.

+ June 10 was the 61st anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, prohibiting pay discrimination based on sex, and June 13 was LGBTQ Equal Pay Awareness Day. LGBTQ workers make only 90 cents for every dollar earned by a typical American worker, and queer women make only 87 cents.

Two people in the colors of the LGBT+ community on a motorcycle, during the Pride parade in Portland, Maine, USA, on June 15, 2024. Deux personnes aux couleurs de la communaute LGBT+ sur une moto, lors du defile de la Fierte a Portland, Maine, USA, le 15 juin 2024. (Photo by David Himbert / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP) (Photo by DAVID HIMBERT/Hans Lucas/AFP via Getty Images)

+ Almost 60 percent of trans and gender non-conforming people have been discriminated against at work, and almost a third say there hasn’t been any progress in the past year. One reason may be lack of support—while 19 percent of workers are trans or gender non-conforming, over 70 percent of workers don’t have access to LGBTQ inclusivity education or employee support groups. As a result, only 17 percent of cis workers (compared to over 60 percent of trans workers) believe there should be more policies, education and inclusive healthcare coverage to support trans employees.

+ A majority of Americans support protecting access to gender-affirming healthcare and oppose laws that force schools to out trans youth. Eighty pecent of South Carolina Democrats and 67 percent of Republicans don’t want the government to interfere with trans youths’ access to gender-affirming care. In addition, 77 percent believe that politicians are using debates over trans people to distract from more important priorities.

+ Lesbian and bisexual women are more than four times as likely to be arrested as straight women, thanks to the criminalization of homelessness and sex work and biased enforcement of drug laws. LGBTQ youth are also at risk, making up 40 percent of homeless youth and 20 percent of those in the juvenile justice system. One in six trans people—and almost half of Black trans people—have been incarcerated, and many were then denied access to hormone therapy, sexually abused or put in solitary confinement for their “protection.”

+ Racial and gender housing inequities have worsened since 1970, with Black home ownership decreasing by 9 percent, and almost 70 percent of women-led households spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent. White households are now 1.8 times as likely to be homeowners than Black households.

+ TikTok, Instagram and Facebook are restricting and suspending accounts that discuss accessing abortion pills and telemedicine abortion care. Groups are now forced to use euphemisms or misspellings of the word “abortion” to avoid being flagged or removed for “promoting illegal activities,” leading to fewer people being able to find the information they need.

+ Only 12 state supreme courts have ever had an openly LGBTQ justice. Alliance for Justice vice president of strategy Keith Thirion explained, “If our legal system is not a place where judges can serve openly, it won’t be a system we trust to treat us equally. As we celebrate Pride amidst waves of attacks on our rights, we must highlight the progress we’ve made and demand the progress we deserve. LGBTQ+ people exist everywhere and should be represented everywhere, including on our state courts.”

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.