The War on Women Report: SCOTUS Allows Idaho to Deny Emergency Abortions; Taylor Swift Subjected to Online Sexual Abuse

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 is the War on Women Report.

Since our last report: The Supreme Court will hear its second major abortion case; Pope Francis called for a ban on surrogacy; three new anti-trans bills were introduced in West Virginia; Gov. Ron DeSantis ended his presidential campaign after a second-place finish in Iowa; Texas has a higher number of pregnancies resulting from rape than any other state; and more.

The Future of Pay Equity, 15 Years After Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Fifteen years ago, we stood at the White House while then-President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This law restored the rights of employees to have their day in court for ongoing wage discrimination taken away by the Supreme Court in the Ledbetter v. Goodyear case.

This bill was such an important victory for workers and gave employees who were experiencing ongoing pay discrimination their day in court.  However, the law did not give women new tools to combat the wage gap itself. Still, with all working women earning on average 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts—and the pay gaps even wider for women of color—it reminds us our work is still far from finished. We will not rest until we can enact more policies that give workers stronger tools to challenge pay disparities and other forms of employment discrimination.

Keeping Score: Arizona Supreme Court Weighs 1864-Era Abortion Ban; Kate Cox Is Denied an Abortion; Women Call Out Toxic Workplaces

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: Texas Supreme Court blocks Kate Cox from receiving an abortion; judge prohibits Trump-era policy of separating families at the border; women call out toxic workplaces, from New Jersey police to banking regulator FDIC; President Biden appoints record number of women and people of color as federal judges; young Americans are excited to vote in 2024; guaranteed income programs may help maternal health outcomes; and more.

What’s Next for #MeToo Legislation?

Six years after #MeToo went viral, significant state legislation has gone into law, with 25 states plus D.C. passing over 80 anti-harassment bills. Bipartisan action from the federal government led to President Biden signing both the Speak Out Act, to address predatory nondisclosure agreements; and the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Harassment Act, to restore the ability of workers to take their employers to court—both in 2022.

This legislative progress is welcome, but there is more work to be done. It is laudable that 25 five states have enacted additional protection for workers against abusive NDAs and offer added legal shields when it comes to sexual harassment beyond federal statutes. But that leaves 25 states that have not. 

A Prison Guard Was Forced to Stay at Her Post During Labor Pains. Texas Is Fighting Compensation for Her Stillbirth.

The pregnant officer reported contraction-like pains at work, but said she wasn’t allowed to leave for hours. Her baby was delivered stillborn. If Issa had gotten to the hospital sooner, medical personnel told her, the baby would have survived, according to a federal lawsuit filed against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and prison officials.

But the prison agency and the Texas attorney general’s office, which has staked its reputation on “defending the unborn” all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, are arguing the agency shouldn’t be held responsible for the stillbirth because staff didn’t break the law. Plus, they said, it’s not clear that Issa’s fetus had rights as a person.

Universities Are Not Preparing Women Lawyers for the Misogyny They’ll Face in the Workplace

I first decided to attend law school when I was a young idealistic sophomore in high school. I was fortunate to attend a university where a student could design her own major; I set out to curate a degree in women’s studies, with a specialty in law. After completing my studies, I was informed—and believed—that I was prepared to embark upon a successful career in the legal field.

What was not encompassed within my course studies was how to identify, attack and resolve the gender-based legal and workplace issues that continue to challenge women attorneys (like me) today. The male-dominated field of law—rife with sexual harassment, systemic sexism and problem drinking—still has years to go before women can compete and excel in U.S. courtrooms and boardrooms.