As states pass ever-expanding abortion restrictions and people search online for how to find abortion services, reproductive rights advocates are fighting false abortion information online and encountering headwinds with promoting their own accurate, science-based information on social media.
With the Supreme Court likely to overturn Roe v. Wade any day now, Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and 23 of their Senate colleagues are urging President Biden to “demonstrate to the country and women everywhere that you will do everything in your power to fight back.”
On Thursday, April 7, Texas police arrested a woman and charged her with murder for allegedly self-inducing an abortion using pills. The woman, 26-year old Lizelle Herrera who lives near the Texas-Mexico border, is being held in Starr County jail on a $500,000 bond.
The murder charge is an extreme and unprecedented misuse of Texas law that is in direct conflict with the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Texas does not have a law that makes self-inducing an abortion a crime (three states do—Oklahoma, South Carolina and Nevada). Two recent laws restricting abortion in the state—Senate Bill 8 and Senate Bill 4—explicitly exempt pregnant women.
I was 16, on a trip to visit my family in Iran, when I was stopped and arrested by two morality guards. They plucked me off the street, loaded me into their car, and took me to the local station. My crime? I had my hair uncovered, showing it to their male gaze.
I still remember the searing mix of emotions that is familiar to millions of Iranian women who are arrested every year for this “offense.” But now, through social media, mobile apps, weblogs and websites, a growing movement of Iranian women are actively participating in public discourse and exercising their civil rights on the internet, which the patriarchal and misogynistic government has not yet figured out how to completely censor and control.
Texas plans to put Melissa Lucio to death on 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. Lucio was convicted of murder in 2008 for the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Mariah, which she and her family claim was instead a tragic accident. Her attorneys are fighting to overturn her conviction and set aside her execution date based on her continued innocence claims and other procedural issues.
“Research shows prosecutors frequently trivialize women’s experiences as victims of gender-based violence when they are charged with crimes,” said Sandra Babcock, director of the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide and one of Lucio’s attorneys. “Yet Melissa was a victim long before she was a defendant.”
When I woke up on Tuesday, Feb. 1, I found myself scrolling through Instagram and seeing every other post celebrating Black History Month—from brands and organizations to politicians and friends in my feed. Three days later, in the early hours of the morning, Minneapolis police killed Amir Locke in his sleep while serving a no-knock warrant—the same type police used to kill Breonna Taylor in her sleep, and the same Minneapolis police that killed George Floyd in 2020 in front of all of our eyes. As I tried to understand why I was feeling incredibly cynical, I realized the reason: I am tired. We are tired.
Yet, despite being tired, we must keep going. We have to keep fighting. We have to keep organizing. Together we must continue to press forward, turning pain into purpose and purpose into power.
Nuisance laws fine and evict people when too many 911 calls are made to a specific address. They are often enforced against victims of intimate partner violence who call 911 for protection from their abusers.
This denies women and other victims of domestic abuse one of the most fundamental rights of citizenship—the right to freedom from unwarranted injury at the hands of fellow citizens.
Penny Harrington—the chief of the Portland, Oregon Police Bureau in the mid-’80s and the first woman to lead a major U.S. city’s police department—died at her home in Morro Bay, Calif., on September 15, 2021, at the age of 79.
Harrington became a police officer in 1964 in Portland and headed the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Center for Women and Policing at its founding in 1995. Harrington served in Portland in the Women’s Protective Division and began to challenge discriminatory policies after a few years in the force. She became chief of police in 1985 and was the first woman in America to lead a police department in a major city.
Locking people up doesn’t make your community safer. However, helping people when they come home from prison does. We have to call for policy changes that end senseless collateral consequences for those who are system-impacted.
April may be Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but every month—indeed every day—should be a time of awareness of the scourge of sexual assault and the pain inflicted on its victims.
It’s time to improve the systems already in place and to enact legislation that gives survivors the support, protection and justice they deserve.