What Do the European Parliament Elections Mean for Gender Equality in Europe and Beyond?

This month, citizens across Europe headed to the polls to vote for their representatives to European Parliament. Representatives are directly elected by voters in E.U. member states every five years, and European Parliament is responsible for passing a wide array of laws, including human rights and equality measures.

Far-right parties made significant gains, even going so far as to elect representative from neo-fascist parities. This will mean substantial setbacks in gender equality. In the past, far-right parties have cut funding for tackling gender-based violence, restricted access to reproductive healthcare and abortion, and suppressed speech around gender equality issues and LGBTQ+ rights.

Supreme Court Allows Continued Access to Abortion Pills … For Now

Reproductive rights advocates breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit attempting to restrict access to the abortion pill mifepristone and telehealth abortion nationwide.

“While the Supreme Court did the bare minimum today, we know anti-abortion extremists aren’t stopping any time soon.”

The fall 2024 elections are critical to maintaining abortion pills access. The president appoints the head of the FDA, who controls the status of mifepristone. A Trump administration could rescind the FDA’s recent expansions of access to abortion pills or even try to withdraw mifepristone from the market altogether.

When the Supreme Court Cites Modern Medical Evidence, Abortion Rights Expand. When Relying on Political Evidence, They Contract.

Abortion court cases often turn on questions that are part law and part science—questions such as when a fetus becomes viable or what constitutes a threat to the health or life of a mother. Judges receive no formal training in scientific and medical literacy and few students with STEM backgrounds attend law school. Yet, judges play central roles in gatekeeping what science gets brought into the courtroom and, eventually, into a judicial opinion.

But what can non-lawyers do about this issue? Remember that judges are often elected, and if not elected, then appointed by other elected officials.

‘Vote for Abortion’ Bus Tour and Rally Show the Power of Grassroots Organizing

An extraordinary grassroots activation took place this past Saturday at 8 a.m., when two buses full of organizers, activists, celebrities, politicians, doctors and influencers braved the Phoenix heat—which would top out at 107 degrees by the afternoon—to set out on the inaugural Vote for Abortion Bus Tour and Rally, a nationwide campaign to register voters and protect abortion access and reproductive healthcare during another contentious and precarious election season.

Guaranteed Income Gave This Mom the Financial Freedom to Celebrate Her Son’s Graduation

Front and Center offers first-person accounts of Black mothers living in Jackson, Miss., receiving a guaranteed income. First launched in 2018, the Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT) is about to enter its fifth cohort, bringing the number of moms served to more than 400 and making it the longest-running guaranteed income program in the country. Across the country, guaranteed income pilots like MMT are finding that recipients are overwhelmingly using their payments for basic needs like groceries, housing and transportation.

“One of my goals while in the program is to go back to school. …

“One of the other fun things I’ve been able to do with my son is take him to the new little kids museum. I always felt bad that I couldn’t do it before. When we went, he said, ‘Thank you, Mom. I thought you would never take me, you’re the best mom!’ It made me cry.”

Midwives Save Lives, but Only if We Let Them

We are currently in the midst of a maternal health crisis. Despite being one of the wealthiest and most highly resourced nations globally, the United States continues to struggle with shockingly high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity. This crisis is a matter of public health and also reflects systemic failures and disparities within our healthcare system.

The good news is we already have something that works: midwives. The bad news is that some places in the U.S. have made it difficult for midwives to provide the care that we so desperately need. 

‘Surviving God’: An Excerpt on God, the Church and Sexual Abuse

An excerpt from Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Susan M. Shaw’s new book, Surviving God: A New Vision of God Through the Eyes of Sexual Abuse Survivors:

“The God of our childhoods was terrifying. Sure, He (and it was always ‘He’) loved us, but we also knew He could destroy us in a moment if we displeased Him. Poof! Like Lot’s wife, we’d become a pillar of salt. God knew us intimately and had complete control over us. Like an abuser, He asked us to love Him even as he threatened us with the torments of hell if we didn’t.”

Invest in Black and Latina Early Childhood Educators. Our Students Deserve It.

The latest Head Start reauthorization bill and President Biden’s 2025 fiscal budget include much-needed funding increases to raise educator wages. However, these gains are fragile, as evidenced by a recent Washington, D.C., budget proposal that would eliminate the Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund, a program created in 2021 to achieve pay parity between early childhood educators and their K-12 counterparts.

As at-large Councilmember Christina Henderson pointed out, “It feels like we’re balancing the budget on the backs of Black and brown women in the childcare sector.”

Who Is to Blame for the Death of Habiba el Shamaa?

On April 15, 2024, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced an Uber driver to 15 years in prison with hard labor for attempted kidnapping, driving under the influence of drugs and document forgery. The victim, 24-year-old Habiba el Shamaa, died on March 14 after 21 days in a coma following critical injuries she sustained when jumping out of the moving vehicle.

Uber is partly to blame for the death of el Shamaa, but the larger misogynistic context that has normalized violence against women in the region should not be ignored. At the core of this violence in Egypt and throughout the region is the common belief that the home is a woman’s only legitimate space.

Women are Front and Center in Mexican Politics. What Can the U.S. Learn?

On June 2, over 60 percent of registered Mexican voters went to the polls for a monumental election, with over 20,000 public offices up for grabs at the federal and local levels. This election was historic, as a woman was elected to hold the highest office in Mexico for the first time. This transition did not occur naturally; it resulted from consistent, permanent debate at all levels by activists, institutions, academics and women in politics who worked together across party lines to close the political gender gap. Although there is still a long way to go to achieve substantive gender parity in public life, Mexico’s progress can and should be a valuable lesson to the U.S.