Supreme Court Refuses to Block Texas Abortion Ban, Agrees to Hear Two Cases Challenging the Law

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases challenging a Texas law banning abortion after six weeks, but refused to block the law while it considers the case—leaving Texans without access to safe, legal abortion health care. The Court set oral arguments for the cases on November 1.

“For the second time, the Court declines to act immediately to protect these women from grave and irreparable harm,” Justice Sotomayor wrote a searing dissent to the Court’s refusal to enjoin the law.

Pennsylvania Medicaid Abortion Coverage Ban Challenged Under State ERA: “Sex Discrimination, Pure and Simple”

Pennsylvania-based abortion providers and reproductive rights lawyers filed their brief in a lawsuit—Allegheny Reproductive Health Center v. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services—asking the state’s Supreme Court to strike down the Pennsylvania ban on Medicaid funding for abortion as a violation of the Equal Rights Amendment and equal protection provisions of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

The Danger of Plea Deals in Sexual Assault Cases

An excerpt from Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining is a Bad Deal by Carissa Byrne Hessick on the danger plea deals pose in sexual assault cases:

Jeffrey Epstein’s power translated to favorable treatment as he worked his way through the U.S. justice system—but you don’t have to have millions of dollars or be friends with a president and a prince. You just have to convince a prosecutor that it isn’t worth the time or the effort.

Are Women Human Beings?

On Dec. 1, the Supreme Court will hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Mississippi’s brief in Dobbs claims Roe v. Wade must be overturned because “scientific advances show that an unborn child has taken on the human form and features months before viability.”

But aren’t women human beings? The answer must be: Yes, and they must be able to control their lives, their reproduction and their bodies.

California Law Bans “Condom Stealthing”: Removing a Condom Without Consent Is “A Grave Violation of Dignity and Autonomy”

Stealthing, the act of removing a condom during sex without consent, has been prohibited in California.

“I have been working on the issue of ‘stealthing’ since 2017 and I am elated that there is now some accountability for those who perpetrate the act,” said Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who authored the law. “This law is the first of its kind in the nation, but I urge other states to follow in California’s direction and make it clear that stealthing is not just immoral but illegal.”

Keeping Score: California Schools to Provide Free Period Products; Title X Gag Rule Reversed; Texas Abortion Ban Reinstated

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: Biden administration reverses Title X gag rule; federal courts halt, then reinstate Texas’s six-week abortion ban; school districts crack down on BLM and pride flags; Playboy features first gay man on its cover; California overrides workplace NDAs *and* requires free menstrual products in schools; and more.

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Kentucky Abortion Ban: “The Right to Abortion Is Hanging by a Thread”

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in one of three abortion cases before the Court this term that will determine the future of abortion rights in the U.S. EMW Women’s Surgical Center v. Cameron involves a Kentucky law effectively banning abortion at 15 weeks. The law blocks physicians from providing a medically safe and standard abortion method called dilation and evacuation, or “D&E.”

“Two courts already held that this law violates the rights of Kentuckians. The Supreme Court ought to put an end to the attorney general’s attempts to force people to continue their pregnancies against their will.”

“Equal Rights May Ring Hollow”: The Precarious State of Abortion Rights

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case concerning a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, federal abortion rights enter a precarious state. States around the country have also set up “trigger laws”—abortion bans—that are ready to go into effect the moment Roe gets overturned. As attacks on abortion rights escalate, federal legislation guaranteeing reproductive rights is needed more than ever.

Danger in the Shadows: Supreme Court Uses Shadow Docket to Threaten Abortion Rights

Reproductive rights—once perceived to be a hallmark of late 20th-century American democracy—may soon give way to conservative states enacting unconstitutional anti-abortion provisions with procedural barriers so thickly and cleverly intertwined that the ability to challenge them may be unattainable, including at the Supreme Court.

The result of the Court’s shadow docket opinion is not just an end, essentially, to the legal right to an abortion in Texas—it sets in motion a workable blueprint for all other conservative state legislatures bent on stripping away abortion rights.

U.S. Health and Human Services to Protect Texas Abortion Patients and Providers: “We Have Your Back,” Says Secretary Xavier Becerra

On Friday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced new resources and actions to protect reproductive health care for Texans after the state banned abortion at six weeks and the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the ban to go into effect on September 1.

“Every American deserves access to health care no matter where they live—including access to safe and legal abortions,” said Becerra.