Keeping Score: Religious Employers Can Exclude PrEP From Health Insurance Coverage; 650 U.S. Locations Replace Anti-Indigenous Names

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: President Biden orders that abortion care be provided when necessary in the Veterans Health Administration; federal judge rules that religious employers don’t need to include HIV prevention drug PrEP in health insurance coverage; New Mexico to built $10 million abortion clinic near its Texas border; 650 U.S. locations change names with anti-Indigenous roots; South Carolina House passes abortion ban; Minnesota sees the U.S.’s largest-ever strike of private-sector nurses; and more.

Women Saving Democracy: An Attorneys General Explainer

State attorneys general are touted as the “people’s lawyers”—yet the majority are white and male.

The office of attorney general is the central legal division of the states and exists in all 50 states. Attorneys general dictate the state’s law enforcement priorities as well as where resources flow. Almost half of all U.S. states have never had a woman in the role.

The Prosecutors Pledging Not to Enforce Abortion Bans: ‘Courageous Leadership the Moment Demands’

A growing group of prosecutors is pledging to use their discretion to not prosecute abortion cases.

“It is my hope and belief that more prosecutors will take a stand and be on the right side of history on this issue,” said Miriam Krinsky, executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution, a nonprofit that supports elected prosecutors who are looking to reimagine the justice system.

SNEAK PEEK: Ms. Fall Issue Delves Into Dobbs’ Impact on Midterm Elections

As election season kicks off in earnest and with the consequential midterms fast approaching, pundits are speculating: What effect will the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision have on the election’s outcomes? It’s clear that abortion is on the ballot—but how will it sway turnout and decisions in an election that traditionally sees lower numbers of voters? 

In the Fall issue of Ms., we’re tackling these questions, and much more. Join us as we delve deep into the current state of abortion access nationwide and the security of our very democracy.

‘Catholics for Life’ Ask Supreme Court for Nationwide Abortion Ban and Full Constitutional Rights for Fetuses

Immediately after the draft opinion in Dobbs leaked in May, Republican lawmakers and anti-abortion activists announced they were working on legislation to ban abortion nationwide. But Catholics For Life (CFL), impatient to achieve that goal sooner, have asked the Supreme Court to do just that in a petition filed on September 1. CFL is asking the Court to ban abortion nationwide by ruling that “unborn human beings” have full constitutional rights.

If the Court rules in their favor, they will undoubtedly also rule that these “persons” have rights greater than any born person has: namely the right to inhabit and use a woman’s body against her will.

Michigan Judge Rules Abortion Ban Violates Women’s Equal Rights, Bodily Integrity and Dignity

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher ruled last week that the state’s 1931 abortion ban violates the Michigan Constitution.

In a forceful, 39-page order permanently blocking the law, Gleicher ruled that the abortion ban violated both the due process and equal protection clauses of the state Constitution. She rejected Republicans’ argument that pregnancy is not an intrusion on women’s bodies: “Bodily autonomy is inherent to human dignity” and “eliminating abortion access will force pregnant women to forgo control of the integrity of their own bodies.”

Dark Money Anti-Abortion Groups Peddle the Absurd Idea That a Post-Roe World Empowers Women

Right-wing dark money groups are peddling the notion that abortion access “harms” women and, even more outlandish, that the Dobbs decision overturning Roe “empowers” them. This position essentializes women by suggesting their value is centered around motherhood. It also uses pseudo-feminist claims to detract from the very real dangers a post-Roe landscape presents for people and the myriad ways abortion access has helped advance gender equality in the U.S. in the last five decades.