January 6 Hearings and the Big Lie’s Ongoing Damage to Democracy

The January 6 hearings are proving that legislation is necessary to protect our democratic system and stop future attacks. A direct through line exists between 2020 elec­tion denial, the elec­tion sabot­age scheme behind the insur­rection and ongo­ing efforts to thwart the demo­cratic process.

The Big Lie that incited the insur­rec­tion contin­ues to rever­ber­ate across the coun­try, driv­ing bids to undermine voting rights, inter­fere with elect­oral processes and attack impar­tial elec­tion admin­is­trat­ors.

What My Ancestors Might Think of This Moment in U.S. History

I read the draft decision by the Supreme Court in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and wondered what my ancestors would think of us—the U.S.—at this moment.

I knew immediately what one might think. Her name is Lillie and her story motivates my work as an obstetrician-gynecologist and as an advocate for sexual and reproductive rights globally. She would say that history is repeating itself after learning little from its past.

How Women Are Breaking Into the ‘Boy’s Club’ of Politics, in Oregon and Beyond: Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation

Weekend Reading for Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation. 

This week: For the first time, three women candidates will run in Oregon’s 2022 governor race; how women can break into the “boy’s club” of politics; a setback for women’s representation on corporate boards; Wales expands the number of seats in their parliamentary body; and more.

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?

The Fate of Women’s Rights Is Tied to the Fate of Democracy. How Can We Secure Both?

It’s been women’s progress—the right to vote, to own property, for reproductive rights and for civil rights for all people—that has led to an expansion of democracy globally in the 20th century. We must be prepared for what is nothing less than major battles for the survival and advancement of women’s rights—and our very democracy. 

Teenagers on State Boards of Education—Why Including the Voices of Young Women Is Essential

Eleni Livingston and Rana Banankhah, both 17 years old, are voting members of their states’ board of education. They help decide high school graduation requirements, determine teacher qualifications and develop state student assessments. They also bridge the gender gap in education leadership—since women make up only 31 percent of school district chiefs. Their experiences show the importance of student voices in policymaking.

“On the board it can be intimidating to go in, as a young woman, as a teenager, into an environment like that and jump right in and start advocating for my peers,” Livingston said.

“To be treated like an adult, even though I can’t even vote for [U.S.] president, was really eye-opening,” Banankhah said.

Women’s Rights and Democracy Are Inextricably Linked

Last fall, America was featured for the first time on a list of backsliding democracies. With inadequate progress in women’s participation in government, reproductive rights, and maternal mortality, this title may reflect recent attacks on gender equality. Amer­ica’s long­stand­ing and abysmal record on myriad gender equity mark­ers has been the true harbinger for our down­graded democracy status.