As Congress Convenes, Over 100 Women’s Groups Urge Lawmakers to Focus on Gender Equity

Congress is back in session, and feminists are making clear: Gender equity must be a priority. A coalition of top women’s rights- and reproductive rights-focused groups outlined their vision for the future of U.S. gender equality and the steps the 118th Congress can take, in a letter sent to leaders in both the U.S. House and Senate, as well as relevant committee chairs.

Jacinda Ardern Showed the Power of Women’s Leadership—And the Urgent Need for More

“The resignation of Jacinda Ardern reminds us that women continue to face barriers in politics, and that it is essential to build governmental workplaces that enable all to participate and succeed,” said Cynthia Richie Terrell, executive director and founder of RepresentWomen. “Even as leaders like Ardern have advanced women’s political representation, the pace of progress remains unacceptably sluggish.” 

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.”

The Supreme Court Dobbs Leak Never Really Mattered. They Just Told Us So.

The leak was a distraction meant to shift focus away from where is should have been: the disastrous harm that overturning Roe for the women, trans and nonbinary people who depend on abortion access to obtain the reproductive healthcare they deserve.

The Court cares more about its power than it does this leak—and so should we. Supreme Court reform is essential to protect against the next decision that does such harm to our rights, whether it’s leaked or not.

Are Women’s Rights the Canary in the Coal Mine of a Democracy in Decline?

Today, half of the world’s democratic governments are on the decline. Advocates questioned the correlation between regression on women’s rights and degraded democracies. A New York Times article asserted that such a descent is precisely when “curbs on women’s rights tend to accelerate.” However, that proposition should be considered in reverse.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Roe decision and continue to grapple with the new status quo, this much is clear: The tenets of reproductive health, rights and justice—and those of a healthy democracy—are not only inextricably interconnected, but essential to our nation’s promise.

As the U.S. Looks to Revamp the Farm Bill, Women Must Be at the Table

While the U.S. has created an omnibus Farm Bill for nearly a century, our mothers—especially when Native or women of color—have never had a say in where our government’s farm support money goes. Not until recently.

Now the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry is under the leadership of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). Her hearings will mark arguments on the horizon we’d all be wise to notice. A whole new generation of younger, female, Indigenous, Black, Latinx and queer farmers are contending with land prices out of reach, and old attitudes that minimize the healthier, more sustainable production they seek.

New U.S. Global Gender-Based Violence Strategy Says All The Right Things—But Action Is Next

On Dec. 12, the U.S. government launched its updated and long-awaited Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally. On paper, the strategy looks great. But, as always, the questions we’re left with are: What does the U.S. government do with this document now? How is it implemented? Will funding increase and be sustained?

As the halfway mark of this administration’s current term approaches, we need to ensure that words are backed up with action.

Keeping Score: FDA and Justice Dept. Improve Abortion Pill Access; Patty Murray Makes Senate History; Remembering Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Barbara Walters

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 in this biweekly round-up.

This week: two victories for abortion pills from the Biden administration; Patty Murray makes history as the first female Senate pro tem; Brittney Griner released from Russian prison; feminists mourn the loss of Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Barbara Walters; AAPI reporters are drastically underrepresented in news media; the U.S. House of will have twice as many committee chairs named “Mike” (six) as it will have women chairs (three); and more.