The 2024 Election Will Be a Referendum on Abortion and Women’s Equality, According to New Ms. Poll

Next year’s election will see many voters turn out who are motivated by abortion and equal rights for women, according to a new poll by Lake Research Partners for Ms. and the Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms.  The poll showed that abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) are strong voter turnout issues separately, but even more powerful when combined.

Candidates talking about abortion and the ERA together are particularly mobilizing for Democrat and Independent voters—especially Independent women, younger women, voters who support abortion rights, college-educated women, Latinas and Black voters, and voters ages 30-39. 

Rest in Power, Sen. Dianne Feinstein: ‘The Feminist Movement Has Lost a True Friend’

Sen. Dianne Feinstein—the first woman president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the first woman mayor of San Francisco, and one of two of the first women elected to the U.S. Senate from California, the same year (1992) as Sen. Barbara Boxer—died on Thursday, Sept. 28. She was 90 years old. 

As the longest serving woman in the Senate, Feinstein was also the first woman to have chaired the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, as well as one of the first women to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She was known for her advocacy on many feminist and progressive issues, including abortion rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, voting rights, banning assault weapons and gun reforms, LGBTQIA+ equality, the rights of children, the rights of prisoners, and healthcare access. Her legislative efforts—from reproductive rights and equal pay, to combating gender-based violence—have consistently reflected a deep understanding of the challenges faced by women in various spheres of life. 

Here’s what some of her colleagues and friends had to say about her legacy.

Our Abortion Stories: Two Years of Texas’ SB 8

Last summer, the Supreme Court overturned the longstanding precedents of Roe v. Wade, representing the largest blow to women’s constitutional rights in history. In Texas, this has been part of women’s reality for years.

“The state doesn’t care about the lives of their constituents, especially pregnant people,” said Amanda Zurawski.

A series from Ms., Our Abortion Stories chronicles experiences of abortion pre- and post-Roe. This special edition is dedicated to the women in Texas fighting to reclaim the right to safe and accessible abortion care on this grim two-year anniversary. 

Texas’ Last Drag Queen Story Hour

On Saturday morning in Austin, a group of parents, kids and allies gathered for what may be the last drag story hour ever in the state of Texas. A ban on drag performances is slated to take effect on Friday, Sept. 1. Under the law, businesses that host drag shows where minors are present face up to a $10,000 fine per violation, while drag performers and participants face misdemeanor penalties. 

“I want to expose my daughter to this, and make her feel and know that this is completely normal and good, and celebrate diversity,” said a parent at the story hour named Anna.

Another parent, Margie, who is queer herself, said she wished Texas lawmakers understood that drag “is not inherently sexual. Queerness is not inherently a sexual experience. To close kids off from exploring their identity is fascistic.”

Biden Challenges Congress to Take Action on the ERA

President Joe Biden issued a challenge to Congress on Saturday “to act swiftly to recognize ratification of the [Equal Rights Amendment]”—part of his official proclamation on Women’s Equality Day.

“It is long past time to definitively enshrine the principle of gender equality in the Constitution,” said Biden. “Together we can and must build a future where our daughters have all the same rights and opportunities as our sons, where all women and girls have a chance to realize their God-given potential, and where we can finally realize the full promise of America for all Americans.”

Key Gender Studies Staff Resign from New College of Florida, ‘The State Where Learning Goes to Die’

Nicholas L. Clarkson, former assistant professor of gender studies at New College of Florida, has announced his resignation from the school, which used to be known as the most progressive public college in the state. Clarkson was the only full-time gender studies professor at New College.

“I have loved teaching at New College,” Clarkson wrote in a letter addressed to interim president and former Republican House speaker Robert Corcoran. “But now Florida is the state where learning goes to die.”

Over 40 professors have already resigned from New College in light of these attacks, according to Clarkson, who calls the mass exodus “an indictment of [Richard Corcoran] and the trustees’ actions, as well as the state’s regressive politics.”

Ohio Voters Are Showing Up to Protect Abortion Access

Ohio voters resoundingly rejected Issue 1, which would have made it harder to amend the state constitution—including a ballot measure that seeks to ensure the constitutional right to abortion, which will now officially appear on the ballot for Ohio voters in November. With all precincts reporting, and 58,000 absentee and provisional ballots left to be counted, the measure was failing by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent.

Voter turnout in this hastily scheduled special election in an off-year, was nearly double that of the 2022 state elections—in which governors and U.S. senators were on the ballot, which typically helps to spur higher turnout.

Texas Judge Rules in Favor of Doctors and Women Who Testified to the Grave Harm of Abortion Bans

Judge Jessica Mangrum ruled in favor of the 15 plaintiffs suing Texas for the state’s abortion bans, who almost died during pregnancy due to grave complications. Mangrum’s ruling granted a temporary injunction to block Texas’ abortion bans, but only as they apply to severe pregnancy complications, including life-threatening fetal diagnoses. The ruling says that doctors can use their own “good faith judgment” to determine when to offer abortion care, without fear of prosecution. Mangrum also ruled that Texas’ Senate Bill 8—the six-week abortion ban with the “bounty hunter” provision that allows citizens to sue anyone who aids and abets abortion—is unconstitutional.

The narrow victory was short-lived, as the state of Texas has already appealed the ruling to the Texas supreme court. According to Texas state law, as soon as an appeal is filed, a ruling is stayed.

Texas Women Denied Abortions Get Their Day in Court

Amanda Zurawski developed sepsis and nearly died after being refused an abortion, and will suffer permanent reproductive damage as a result. Ashley Brandt, when pregnant with twins, discovered one of her twins had a fatal condition, and was forced to leave the state for care after providers refused to provide a selective fetal reduction. Samantha Casiano said she felt “abandoned” after being forced to carry a nonviable pregnancy to term; her daughter died four hours after birth.

This week, Texas women denied abortions despite serious pregnancy complications shared their stories in a packed Austin courtroom, the first day of testimony in Zurawski v. State of Texas—a lawsuit filed against the state of Texas by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), and the first brought on behalf of women denied abortions since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion. 

Iowa’s ‘Six-Week’ Abortion Ban Is Blocked For Now. But Remember: ‘Six Weeks’ Is Actually Two

Late Tuesday night, Iowa’s state legislature voted to ban most abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) will sign the bill on Friday, and it will take immediate effect. Once passed, there will be two states—Iowa and Georgia—that ban abortion after around six weeks since a person’s last menstrual period. Total bans are in effect in 14 additional states: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Laws that restrict abortion in this way rely on “scientific” claims that have very little grounding in actual science, and fly in the face of medical expertise. After all, most women don’t even know they’re pregnant when only six weeks along.