Women’s Rights and Legal Advocates Continue Push for Recognition of Equal Rights Amendment

On Wednesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case of Illinois v. Ferriero—a lawsuit brought against the national archivist to compel him to publish the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit was brought by two of the three final states to ratify the ERA: Nevada and Illinois. Immediately following the oral arguments, ERA advocates held a press conference and a rally outside the court.

“We are hopeful that this will result in the certification of the ERA,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), co-sponsor of H.J. Res. 28, the Equal Rights Amendment. 

Hillary Clinton on Iran, Abortion and the 2022 Midterms

On Friday, Sept. 23, Hillary Clinton—former U.S. secretary of state and the first woman to win a presidential nomination by a major U.S. political party—spoke at The Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, Texas. She was joined by Kara Swisher, renowned journalist and host of the new podcast On With Kara Swisher. Clinton’s and Swisher’s wide-ranging conversation covered several issues affecting women—from the feminist uprisings in Iran, to Trump and the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, to the upcoming midterm elections. Read on for some of our favorite moments.

In Swing State of Arizona, a Near-Total Abortion Ban From 1864 Takes Effect

On Saturday in Arizona, a 15-week abortion ban—signed into law on July 6 by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey—was set to take effect. But before it could, a late Friday ruling from Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson green-lighted an anti-abortion law from 1864 that supersedes all other bans, outlawing almost all abortions in the state and penalizing abortion providers who provide the service with two to five years in prison. Abortion is now effectively illegal in the state, making it the 15th U.S. state currently enforcing extreme or total bans on abortion.

There’s a little over a month until the midterm elections, and Arizona is a battleground for federal and state elections. Democrats see the extreme law as an opportunity to mobilize voters.

Harnessing the Power of Women Voters

In 2017, a year into the presidency of Donald Trump, three notable women—Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, and executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-jen Poo—looked to harness the sudden rage and confusion felt by women across the U.S. Garza, Poo and Richards announced the start of a women’s equality organization called Supermajority, a multiracial coalition of women organizing around issues like paid leave and affordable healthcare. The group’s name hearkens to the fact that women make up more than half of the U.S. population. 

These days, Amanda Brown Lierman is the executive director of both Supermajority and the Supermajority Education Fund, a sister nonprofit organization for research, education and development programs that prepare women civic leaders. And Lierman and her team have their eye on the prize: the 2022 midterms.

Biden Just Canceled Significant Amounts of Your Student Loan Debt. Here’s How to Claim It

The Biden administration announced it would cancel significant amounts of student debt for millions of Americans, marking the largest discharge of education debt in U.S. history. Under the new plan, individual student loan borrowers earning under $125,000 per year (or $250,000 for households) qualify for up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness. Recipients of Pell Grants are eligible for an additional $10,000 in forgiveness.

Student loan debtors are disproportionately women, who hold about two-thirds of student loan debt—yet earn just 74 percent of what men graduates earn. Black students are also disproportionately plagued by student loan debt: More than 70 percent of Black students go into debt, compared to 56 percent of white students.

ICYMI: ‘Everything You Need to Know About Birth Control’ with Dr. Sophia Yen

In this time of crisis, Dr. Sophia Yen says it’s essential we take charge of our own reproductive health. Yen is the CEO and co-founder of Pandia Health, the only doctor-led and women-founded and -led birth control delivery company. She is a board-certified physician with a focus in adolescent medicine, and serves as a clinical associate professor at Stanford Medical School in the Department of Pediatrics.

In a Ms. webinar on Tuesday, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Birth Control,” Yen broke down the best forms of birth control and emergency contraception, why you should consider skipping your period, how to get abortion pills (even if you live in a state with a ban), and more.

It’s Women’s Equality Week—and Three More Total Abortion Bans Are About to Take Effect

On Thursday, existing laws in Texas, Tennessee and Idaho will take effect that either outlaw abortion entirely, or increase penalties for doctors who perform an abortion. The very next day, the U.S. will commemorate Women’s Equality Day. You’ll understand if we don’t feel much like celebrating.

Before this week, total bans were already in effect in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Bills to Defend Marriage Equality and Contraception Access Pass U.S. House, Head to Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives passed two landmark pieces of legislation: the Respect for Marriage Act, which would grant federal recognition of both same-sex and interracial marriages, and the Right To Contraception Act, would establish a right in federal law for individuals to obtain and use contraceptives.

Democratic leaders say both bills are a direct response Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson which called on the Court to “reconsider” past rulings codifying rights to contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

Senate Republicans Block Bill Protecting Right to Travel for Abortion

As abortion restrictions and bans continue to take effect across the country, the need to travel across state lines for reproductive healthcare has grown even more critical. Yet an attempt to pass legislation to protect women traveling to seek abortion healthcare failed in the Senate on Thursday. The bill’s sponsors sought passage through unanimous consent, but Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma blocked the bill.