Oklahoma Passes Extreme Vigilante Abortion Ban, Nation’s Most Restrictive Yet: ‘A Reversal of History Right In Front of Our Eyes’

On Thursday, May 19, the Oklahoma legislature passed a total ban on abortion, authorizing private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who assists someone obtaining an abortion. The law applies from the moment of fertilization.

“This is not one more ban. This is a first,” said Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains. “Today’s ban—which encourages bounty hunters to sue their neighbors or strangers for accessing abortion care at any stage of pregnancy—is a reversal of history happening in front of our eyes. Once signed, abortion will be illegal in Oklahoma. Full stop.”

SCOTUS Wants Reproductive Rights Left Up to the States—Whose Representatives Are Still Overwhelmingly White and Male

The Supreme Court says it is time to “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” But state legislatures are overwhelmingly white and male: Women hold just 31 percent of statehouse seats, and only 9 percent are women of color. Rates of women’s representation are much lower in states that will ban abortion if and when Roe is overturned.

Luckily, we know how to transform the demographics of U.S. law-making bodies. We just need the political will.

Rolling Back Abortion Rights in the U.S. Will Send Shockwaves Around the World

It is distressing to think that the United States, once a global leader in women’s rights, could erase 50 years of progress in a single moment. We’ve seen how anti-choice policies in the U.S. tend to embolden the opposition around the world.

We stand in solidarity with the millions of women in the U.S. who could see their reproductive rights cruelly stripped away, and with the many more across the globe who may see their national abortion laws tighten as a result.

Why Roe Was Never Enough—and What Comes Next

Late Monday night, a leaked version of the draft of the majority decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was made public. When the final decision is issued, there will no longer be a federally guaranteed right to abortion in America for the first time in nearly 50 years.

What are the democratic dysfunctions that have led to this pivotal point? How should we consider parallel affronts to participation and representation—the wave of voting restrictions and outsize role of big money in politics—and the anti-abortion agenda? Can we look to state courts to provide new avenues for protecting reproductive rights? And what is the legal and societal impact of criminalizing pregnancy and abortion, especially on communities of color?

Teachers Are Heading for the Door—And They’re Not Coming Back

Over 143,000 education sector workers quit their jobs in December alone. COVID-19 has not only caused anxiety and fears among teachers for their own health and that of their families; they are also facing increased responsibility. The “feminization” of the profession has allowed it to exist in the lower rungs of society for too long.

“I no longer have too much on my plate. The plate is broken and the shards are digging into my skin, but I can’t drop what I am carrying. If I drop it, I don’t think anyone else will pick it up.”

Keeping Score: Capitol Statues Honor RBG and Sandra Day O’Connor; Military Survivors Launch Campaign to Address Sexual Assault

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: Michigan governor appeals to state Supreme Court to enshrine abortion rights in constitution; track star Allyson Felix plans to retire; Florida and Oklahoma move to criminalize abortion; Ukrainian refugees face a lack of sexual and reproductive healthcare; U.N. funds Bilan Project to give a voice to female journalists in Somalia; and more.

Melissa Lucio Granted a Stay of Execution in Texas

Melissa Lucio, who was set to be executed for the death of her 2-year old daughter Mariah, was granted a stay of execution and a new hearing on Monday by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The court ordered a new hearing to consider whether her conviction was based on an unreliable false confession which Lucio, a victim of sexual abuse and domestic violence, offered in response to threatening, hostile questioning by investigators.

“The court’s decision paves the way for Melissa to present evidence of her innocence that should have been heard by the jury that condemned her to death 14 years ago,” said Professor Sandra Babcock, director of the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide and one of Lucio’s attorneys.

Bipartisan Group Urges Reconsideration of Melissa Lucio’s Death Sentence

The state of Texas plans to put Melissa Lucio to death by lethal injection on Wednesday, April 27, which would make her the sixth woman executed in the U.S. in the last decade and the first Hispanic woman in Texas history.

But new evidence of Lucio’s interrogation reveals how unlikely it is that she is guilty—which is why a bipartisan group of Texas state lawmakers is asking authorities to reconsider the scheduled execution. They join hundreds of other Texans—including 225 anti-domestic violence groups, 130 faith leaders and 30 Latino organizations—in urging the Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott to grant Lucio a reprieve.

The U.S. Could Learn From Argentina’s Groundbreaking Plan to Reduce Maternal and Childhood Mortality

Argentina’s 1,000-Day Plan aims to reduce and prevent maternal and childhood mortality by providing state support in the form of direct payments and free food, milk, vaccines and medicine to pregnant people and infant children. If those championing U.S. anti-abortion laws are serious about reducing the absolute number of abortions, they should pressure Congress to pass national legislation that both makes pregnancy safer and provides support for early childhood development after birth. A law like this could provide some common ground for the two sides of the abortion debate in the U.S.