‘The Future Is Disabled’: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha on Creating a More Humane Social Order

Writer, disability-justice activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha knows that it’s possible for society to become more equitable. Piepzna-Samarasinha’s latest book, The Future Is Disabled: Prophesies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs, lays out a bare-bones agenda for what is needed to make the U.S. more socially just.

Piepzna-Samarasinha and Ms. contributor Eleanor J. Bader communicated about the book, the disability justice movement and the ways that activists can support each other in the fight for a more ecologically sustainable and humane social order.      

Alopecia Isn’t a ‘Cosmetic Issue’—It’s a Serious Autoimmune Disease

It took bravery for Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Jada Pinkett Smith to reveal their alopecia and rock a shaved head. The two revived the national conversation around alopecia—an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its healthy hair follicles.

“To be bald as a woman really does disrupt conventional and societal norms of what is appropriate, what is professional, what is attractive, what is feminine,” said Pressley.

A Nation Without the Hyde Amendment Will Be Safer and More Humane for All of Us

On Sept. 30, 1976, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Hyde Amendment, which barred federal funds from covering abortions with the narrowest exceptions for rape, incest or threats to a patient’s life. As soon as Hyde went into effect, the number of Medicaid-covered abortions in the United States dropped from 300,000 to just a few thousand. 

Abortion, like all healthcare, should be a human right—not merely a benefit of select insurance plans. 

Vetoing Investments in Care Work, Republicans Again Fail to Pay and Respect Women

Just when women of all ages were feeling kicked in the teeth, Senate Republicans (84 percent of them men) actively lobbied against including investment in caregivers or care recipients in the new congressional spending bill.

The whole point of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was to help families deal with rising costs. Evidently, Republicans forgot that one of the most worrisome financial stressors in nearly every American family is care services: childcare, care for those with disabilities, elder care.

Guaranteed Income Is a Blueprint for a Better Social Safety Net: ‘Give People Money—Not Vouchers, Not Subsidies’

Many programs also have strict requirements that—by design—prevent low-income people from accessing the benefits they deserve. Traditional welfare policies are often paternalistic and controlling, requiring low-income women to use benefits in specific ways, or forcing them into situations that don’t work well for their family’s needs. 

A federal guaranteed income program is an opportunity to design a social safety net that takes social and historical context into account, empowers low-income parents and ends cycles of poverty.

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.

The Inflation Reduction Act Is a Much-Needed Win for Women

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law on Tuesday by President Biden, will benefit women for years to come.

The new law will limit the amount Medicare recipients have to pay out of pocket for drugs to $2,000 annually—a major benefit for older women, because they’re the majority of older Americans. The bill also empowers the Health and Human Services Secretary to negotiate prices for drugs covered under Medicare, and punish pharmaceutical companies that don’t play by the rules. Younger women below Medicare age will also benefit from other provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, like subsidies that cover medical insurance premiums.

War on Women Report: Indiana AG Goes After Dr. Caitlin Bernard, ‘Paints Providers With Violent Lies’; Pro-Abortion House Democrats Arrested

U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back.

This week: State lawmakers come for abortion providers; Texas sues the Biden administration over HHS guidance; more than a dozen House Democrats get arrested at an abortion rights rally; The House passes landmark legislation; and more.