Why Civic Engagement for Abortion Advocacy Matters

Last year, Americans lost their federal right to abortion. While polls suggest that favorable public opinion for abortion access is as high as 85 percent, 24 states have passed abortion bans so far.

After four years of no recourse during the Trump administration, people are tired and discouraged. But we still have a voice. And upholding strong civic spaces is vital for fostering genuine democracy and ensuring reproductive justice. Every silenced voice due to lack of support hinders social progress and undermines gender equality.

How Congress Can Help Women and Girls in Conflict Zones

U.S. foreign policy prevents the protection of refugees, those in conflict zones, and those impacted by natural disasters. Yet the House Appropriations Committee has chosen to pass a budget that will defund the agencies and programs that are most prepared to expertly respond to the needs of girls and women on conflict zones.

It is far past time that Congress passes the Abortion is Healthcare Everywhere Act, which will repeal the Helms Amendment; and the Support UNFPA Funding Act, which would restore funding to UNFPA for the next five years. With the stroke of a pen, the Biden administration also has the power to issue guidance to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Helms Amendment interpretation, preventing a chilling effect and expanding the agency’s reach.

Abortion Snitching Is Already Sending People to Jail

Last month, Celeste Burgess was sentenced to 90 days in prison because she took abortion pills when she was 17 years old. The story of Celeste and her mother—who helped her get the pills and will be sentenced in September—went national.

This case was seen as a harbinger of intimate privacy violations to come. But this case also exemplifies a disturbing phenomenon in the genesis of abortion prosecutions: friends and community members reporting on each other.

A Trump-Stacked Court Hopes to Limit Access to the Abortion Pill. The Final Decision Now Lies With SCOTUS.

On Aug. 16, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals released a decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA that dismissed a challenge to the FDA’s 2000 approval of mifepristone but would sharply restrict access to medication abortion nationwide and eliminate telemedicine abortion. The decision remains on hold until final review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Fifth Circuit decision has no impact on access to misoprostol, which is a safe and effective alternative way to end a pregnancy.

“We are outraged that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals wants to reinstate medically unnecessary restrictions on access to mifepristone, a safe and effective medication used in medication abortion care,” said Lupe M. Rodriguez, executive director of National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice. “This decision is wrong and if it goes into effect, puts politics and lies about mifepristone over the health and well-being of people who need abortion care.”

Keeping Score: FDA Approves Postpartum Depression Pill and Preeclampsia Test; Pressure Grows on Clarence Thomas to Resign; Henrietta Lacks’ Overdue Compensation

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 this biweekly roundup.

This week: Trump indicted on felony charges related to the 2020 election; Henrietta Lacks’ descendants reach settlement after more than 70 years; Labor Dept. launches Power to Pump national campaign for workers who breastfeed; federal judge imposes prison sentences on Jan. 6 rioters; Pennsylvania ends contract with anti-abortion group funding CPCs; FDA approves postpartum depression treatment and preeclampsia blood test; judge blocks Texas abortion ban for medical emergencies; N.J. supreme court sides with Catholic school that fired unwed pregnant teacher; women and LGBTQ+ journalists faced more assaults and threats in July 2023 than any other month; and more.

How Much Does it Cost to Medically Transition?

Today, 16 states, plus Washington, D.C., require insurance to cover gender-affirming care: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. But in all other states, insurance is not required to cover gender-affirming care—so trans people and their families are stuck paying the costs.

How much does it actually cost to transition without insurance coverage? And how are trans people in unprotected states persevering? 

In ‘Baseless’ Texas Lawsuit, Matthew Kacsmaryk Could Singlehandedly Shut Down Planned Parenthood

The state of Texas and an anonymous plaintiff associated with the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress alleges that Planned Parenthood engaged in fraud when they filed Medicaid reimbursement claims for healthcare services they provided to thousands of people in Texas and Louisiana. The plaintiffs are seeking up to $1.8 billion in civil penalties.

If anti-abortion judge Matthew Kacsmaryk rules in favor of the plaintiffs, Planned Parenthood could face bankruptcy, potentially depriving millions of people of basic healthcare, especially women, people with low incomes, young people, immigrants and people who face healthcare barriers due to race discrimination.

Keeping Score: California Funds College for Foster Youth; Katie Ledecky Surpasses Michael Phelps in World Titles; Anti-Abortion Leader Arrested for Child Sex Abuse

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 this biweekly roundup.

This week: Sen. Tuberville blocks 250 military promotions (and counting) in protest of a DOD policy to help service members who travel for reproductive care; Freedom to Vote Act reintroduced in Congress; Texas governor bans public drag performances; Taylor Swift has most No. 1 albums of any woman artist; California budget agreement will fund public college tuition and expenses for foster youth in the state; Barbie opening weekend brings in more at box office than any other woman-directed film; Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky surpasses Michael Phelps in individual world golds; rest in power: Sinéad O’Connor, New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Katie Early and Cheri Pies; and more.