Two New Lawsuits Challenge State Restrictions on Abortion Pill Access, Arguing Federal Law Preempts State Laws

On Jan. 25, reproductive health advocates filed two federal lawsuits—one in North Carolina and West Virginia—challenging state laws imposing medically unnecessary restrictions on physicians prescribing the abortion pill mifepristone to their patients. Both cases argue that state laws are preempted by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules allowing telemedicine abortion and mailing of mifepristone.

“States cannot substitute their medical and scientific judgments for judgments FDA has made, and doing so undermines not only access to medication, but the country’s entire drug regulation system.”

Reads for the Rest of Us: The Most Anticipated Feminist Books of 2023

I have spent the last few months scouring catalogs and websites, receiving hundreds of books and even more emails from authors, publicists and publishers, reading your book Tweets and DMs, all to find out what books are coming out in 2023 that I think you, my exceptional, inquisitive and discerning Ms readers, will want to hear about. 

Here’s your TBR (to be read) for the year. Enjoy!

How Johnny Depp Turned Abuse Allegations Into a Comeback

By 2018, Johnny Depp was bordering on irrelevancy—but he soon gained a tremendous fandom as a public trial unfolded, prompted by abuse allegations from his ex-wife Amber Heard. In December, Heard announced she would no longer be moving forward with her appeal because “cannot afford to risk an impossible bill—one that is not just financial, but also psychological, physical and emotional.”

Depp has paved a new path for accused men in search of cultural capital—and accomplished the very thing women throughout the ages have been baselessly accused of: leveraging victimhood to gain status. Depp, whose career was flailing, became not just a rallying cry for men’s rights and the supposed victimhood of being a successful, wealthy, white man in a changing world, but a newly hot commodity in Hollywood once again with a thriving fan base.

#LetHerLearn—And Progress will Follow 

About 70 percent of the world population now lives in autocracies, up from 49 percent a decade ago. Yet the rising tide of authoritarian governments, many still masquerading as democracies, has met a formidable foe: resistance led by students, especially young women.

Inclusive, gender-equitable democracies serve to reduce poverty and foster a more empowered populace and peaceful future. Closing the education gap for girls and women in all their diversity is key to those achievements.

Corporate Profiteering Is Driving Inflation

The Federal Reserve has responded to inflation with rapid interest rate increases, meant to tamper down prices, at each of its past seven meetings. They are expected to do the same at their Jan. 31 Open Market Committee gathering. However, these hikes can also increase the risk of recession and unemployment.

Too many companies have opted to use inflation as an excuse to boost profit. Caregiving is a key area of potential government investment that could help women. Their needs are often put last, after childcare and elder care. The economy is already fragile after a global pandemic; now is the time to prioritize people.

Employers, Take Note—Young Women Are Planning Their Lives Around State Abortion Laws

Among employees ages 18 to 34, 47 percent of women and 44 percent of men believe they won’t have the career they’d planned, hoped for and dreamed of because politicians are now in control of their personal reproductive decisions.

“We’re looking to future generations of business leaders and managers and employees and we have nearly half of them saying, ‘I don’t think I will have the career I planned because of the decision by the Supreme Court,’” said Heather Foust-Cummings, Catalyst’s senior vice president for research

RSVP: Reproductive Rights on the 50th Anniversary of Roe

The 19th, a fellow nonprofit newsroom focused on gender news, will mark January’s consequential milestone with high-level conversations on the legal, historical and cultural impact of Roe, and what the future holds without it. The program will feature thought leaders in the reproductive rights and justice space—including our very own Ellie Smeal, Ms. publisher and president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.