Keeping Score: Young and Minority Americans Feel Unsafe at Polls; Students Say Abortion Laws Will Affect College Decisions; Lawmakers Advance Menstrual Equity

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: Colorado and Scotland pass laws to eliminate taxes on menstrual products and provide free products in public, respectively; Pennsylvania becomes 27th state to restrict conversion therapy; young Black and Latinx Americans feel especially unsafe at polling locations; CDC director criticizes agency’s handling of COVID-19 and monkeypox outbreaks in the U.S.; Biden’s new tax law imposes minimum corporate taxes and supports environmentalist efforts; and more.

ICYMI: ‘Everything You Need to Know About Birth Control’ with Dr. Sophia Yen

In this time of crisis, Dr. Sophia Yen says it’s essential we take charge of our own reproductive health. Yen is the CEO and co-founder of Pandia Health, the only doctor-led and women-founded and -led birth control delivery company. She is a board-certified physician with a focus in adolescent medicine, and serves as a clinical associate professor at Stanford Medical School in the Department of Pediatrics.

In a Ms. webinar on Tuesday, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Birth Control,” Yen broke down the best forms of birth control and emergency contraception, why you should consider skipping your period, how to get abortion pills (even if you live in a state with a ban), and more.

President Biden Mobilizes Federal Resources to Support Abortion Access for All

On Friday, President Joseph Biden issued an executive order to protect reproductive rights after the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion in the Dobbs decision.

Biden’s executive order first directs HHS to take actions to protect and expand access to abortion medications regulated by the FDA. It also aims to ensure the reproductive health of people accessing care in federally-funded facilities. The order directs HHS to ensure enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee of free birth control and contraceptive counseling for individuals and covered dependents, including emergency contraception and long-acting reversible contraception like IUDs.

Democrats in Congress Introduce Bill to Crack Down on Fake Clinics and Anti-Abortion Disinformation

On June 23, members of Congress introduced the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation (SAD) Act to crack down on false advertising related to abortion services by “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs). CPCs are anti-abortion organizations that masquerade as abortion clinics in order to interfere with access to reproductive healthcare by disseminating inaccurate, misleading and stigmatizing information about abortion and contraception. Despite appearances, most CPCs do not employ licensed medical personnel or provide referrals for birth control or abortion care.

In the House, the lead sponsors of the SAD Act are Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), In the Senate, the bill is led by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “No one should have to question that the person they are seeking medical advice from is actually a doctor or that information is accurate, objective and complete,” said Maloney.

Senators Introduce Bill To Protect Reproductive Health Data: ‘My Body, My Data’

The digital surveillance threats to women’s reproductive health information are likely to escalate dramatically if the Supreme Court repeals abortion rights. U.S. Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Representative Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) introduced the My Body, My Data Act—a federal law protecting personal reproductive health data by minimizing the information that companies can collect and retain.

“Extreme Republicans across the country aren’t only trying to take away women’s constitutional rights, they want to actually put people in jail for providing or seeking reproductive care,” said Hirono. “This legislation will take steps to protect women’s privacy.”

Enforcing Criminal Abortion Bans Post-Roe: ‘A Massive Escalation of Surveillance’

Anti-abortion governments and private entities are already using cutting-edge digital technologies to surveil women’s search history, location data, messages, online purchases and social media activities by using geofencing, keyword warrants, big data and more.

“Every aspect of pregnant people’s digital lives will be put under the microscope, examined for any hints that they sought (successfully or otherwise) to end their pregnancy.”

Hana’s Story: Tricked and Traumatized by a Fake Abortion Clinic

When Hana found out she was pregnant, she was five weeks along. As a college student living near Boston, she had numerous options for abortion healthcare. But she ended up at an anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy center” she thought was an abortion clinic. Despite the lies and coercion she experienced at the CPC, Hana persisted in her search for an abortion and eventually found real healthcare, but she worries about CPCs harming other people. Ms. spoke with Hana about her CPC experience, the effect it had on her, and why she’s speaking out now.

“When I found out I was pregnant, I was absolutely terrified. I am a teenager, in my first year of college, and far away from home—the one thing I knew was that I could not bring a child into my world. I felt so lost, like a child who lost their mother in a supermarket. I needed someone to help guide me through this, someone I could trust. I made the mistake of trusting these people, who did not hesitate to abuse it, and it has forever changed me.”

New Report Reveals Six ‘Sinister’ Tactics of Extremist Anti-Abortion Centers

Anti-abortion centers target young, low-income populations who face difficulties accessing abortion care, further endangering them by delaying their access to necessary healthcare. A new report, “In The Grand Scheme: Six Sinister Tactics Employed by Anti-Abortion Centers,” documents the tactics used to aggressively spread anti-abortion propaganda and interfere with access to reproductive healthcare.