Keeping Score: Spain to Offer Paid Menstrual Leave; U.S. Soccer Teams Score Pay Equity; Taliban Dissolves Human Rights Commission

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.


Lest We Forget

As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?

—President Biden on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas

Community members gather at the Uvalde Town Square for a prayer vigil in the wake of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. (Jordan Vonderhaar / Getty Images)

“What are we doing? Days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African American patrons, we have another Sandy Hook on our hands. What are we doing?”

—Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut representing the district of Sandy Hook Elementary

We know that the state of Oklahoma is keen on punishing and criminalizing people for their pregnancy outcomes, specifically people from communities who are always under the white supremacist scrutiny of the state: Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. …

Today I’m thinking about all of the Oklahomans I’ve provided abortion care for over the last many months. I’m thinking about how they were making decisions with their communities, families, and futures in mind. I’m thinking about everyone like them who will now be forced to either leave their community or have a forced pregnancy and forced birth. This is not freedom.”

—Planned Parenthood abortion care provider and fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health Dr. Iman Alsaden on the Oklahoma legislature’s recent passage of a total abortion ban starting at fertilization. It was modeled on Texas’s S.B. 8, and is the strictest abortion restriction in the nation.

“Once again—as fundamental rights are at risk at the Supreme Court—Senate Republicans have blocked passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that affirmatively protects access to reproductive health care. This failure to act comes at a time when women’s constitutional rights are under unprecedented attack—and it runs counter to the will of the majority of American people.

Republicans in Congress—not one of whom voted for this bill—have chosen to stand in the way of Americans’ rights to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families and lives.”

—President Joe Biden in a statement on the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have enshrined federal abortion protections in the absence of Roe v. Wade.

A rally in support of abortion rights outside the Oklahoma state legislature in April 2012. (Serena Blaiz / Flickr)

“The horrific and despicable act of terror committed by a white supremacist this past weekend in Buffalo showed that we as a country are facing an intersection of two crises: the mainstreaming of hate speech—including white nationalism, racism and white supremacy—and the easy access to military-style weapons and magazines. This is a wake-up call and here in New York we are taking strong steps to directly address this deadly threat. … This is white supremacy in this nation at its worst. It’s infecting our society, it’s infecting our nation and now it’s taken members of our family away.”

—New York governor Kathy Hochul (D) in a public response to the racist shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, which resulted in ten deaths. Two executive orders signed by Hochul call for the creation of a new government unit to prevent domestic terrorism, and require New York police to flag and prevent individuals that may pose a threat from acquiring firearms.

“I am frightened by the course our country seems to be willfully taking. White supremacy is alive and well and it is becoming ever more aggressive, violent, and deadly. Yet, we seem unprepared or unwilling to name, confront, and destroy it once and for all. … I fear that in a week or so, we may return to ‘normal.’ We will rebuke Trumpists and conservatives who embrace Making America Great Again as backwards and uncivil, without confronting that this is no longer about politics. It is about life and death.”

—Rakim H.D. Brooks, president of the Alliance for Justice, in a statement on the Buffalo, N.Y., shooting fueled by racism and prejudice.

Milestones

+ A bill passed by the Spanish Cabinet would make Spain the first European country to offer paid sick leave to employees with severe menstrual pain, if approved by the Parliament. Workers would have to visit a physician to determine the approximate length of the leave.

+ Economist Lisa Cook was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday, May 10, becoming the first Black woman to join the Federal Reserve’s board of governors. An initial 50–50 Senate vote required Vice President Kamala Harris to step in as tie-breaker.

+ As a result of pandemic supply-chain interruptions and a major product recall by Abbott Nutrition, parents in the U.S. have struggled to track down available baby formula. The national out-of-stock rate hit 31 percent in April and continued to increase to 40 percent by the end of the month. In some states—includes Texas and Missouri—out-of-stock rates exceeded 50 percent.

On Wednesday, May 18, Biden ordered Defense Department planes to collect formula shipments from abroad, and boosted production by invoking the Defense Production Act.

+ In Louisiana, state legislators proposed a bill that would make abortion an act of homicide, prosecutable in criminal court. It was approved by a House committee, and shares similarities with Oklahoma’s proposed abortion restriction, which considers human life to begin at fertilization.

+ New York, however, is considering a law that would provide financial support to abortion providers to protect reproductive rights for low-income residents and travelers from more restrictive states.

The bill, which would establish the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program Act, was introduced by state assembly member Jessica González-Rojas (D-East Elmhurst) and state senator Cordell Cleare (D-Harlem).

+ A Texas Supreme Court ruling will allow the state child welfare agency to resume investigating families who pursue gender-affirming care for their transgender children. The Court is entirely Republican, and overturned a prior decision by a lower court to halt the investigations ordered by Governor Greg Abbott (D) after being sued by the ACLU and Lambda Legal on behalf of the family of a transgender teenager.

2021 saw a record-breaking amount of anti-LGBTQ and particularly anti-trans bills. (Ted Eytan / Creative Commons)

+ Since the release of the Supreme Court’s draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade, companies including Starbucks, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have pledged to cover some costs for their employees who must travel to obtain an abortion. Starbucks employees enrolled in the company’s insurance will be eligible for reimbursement if an abortion is not available within 100 miles.

+ Following a lawsuit by the national women’s soccer team against the U.S. Soccer Federation, the men’s and women’s teams successfully bargained for equal salaries and bonuses. They will even equally split all World Cup bonuses granted by FIFA.

“It’s going to be game-changing for what women’s football looks like in general,” women’s national team forward Margaret Purce told The Washington Post. “It’s historic, and I think it’s going to trigger a lot of other things in the sport, not just in the United States but globally.”

+ After Alabama successfully criminalized gender-affirming care—deeming it a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years—a federal judge in the state blocked the ban’s enforcement on Friday, May 13, less than a week after its initial passage.

+ “Because these departments were not deemed necessary and were not included in the budget, they have been dissolved,” the Taliban’s deputy spokesperson Innamullah Samangani said of the human rights commission and four other departments established under the nation’s former government.

How We’re Doing

+ A report by the U.S. Interior Department confirmed the deaths of at least 500 Indigenous children in over 400 government-run boarding schools. Officials expect to find even more gravesites in addition to the 50+ gravesites already identified.

“Many children like them never made it back to their homes. Each of those children is a missing family member, a person who was not able to live out their purpose on this Earth because they lost their lives as part of this terrible system,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland—a grandchild of boarding school survivors—said at a news conference following the report’s release.

+ Public health experts predict an increase of 75,000 births next year due to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade. The spike would exacerbate the U.S.’s already abysmal maternal mortality rate, which increased by 14 percent between 2019 and 2020.

+ The Marshall Plan for Moms released a report which concluded “expanded child care benefits can help companies attract, retain and advance women in the workforce.” By surveying mothers of children ages 0–5, the report found a 69 percent higher likelihood of choosing an employer that offer child care benefits, and 53 percent identified child care as one reason for leaving the workplace or taking on fewer hours.

+ According to a poll of 1,236 voters by Data for Progress, 58 percent wanted the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade. That statistic increased to 62 percent among women voters, and 78 percent among Democrats.

+ A spike in Google searches for terms like “IUD,” “Plan B,” and other contraceptives was attributed to fear associated with the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. “Protecting myself by getting an IUD and doing what I can to prevent myself from getting pregnant is at the forefront of my mind right now because of where I live,” said Sydney Phillip, a 26-year-old living in Alabama.

+ Five years after transgender youths’ initial transitions—although 7.3 re-transitioned once or more—only 2.5 percent of youth identified as cisgender. The vast majority—94 percent—identified as binary transgender youth, and 3.5 percent identified as non-binary. Re-transitions following social transitions in childhood are rare, as was concluded by Princeton University researchers as part of the Trans Youth Project.

+ By interviewing 851 people with uteruses—including 35.7 percent between ages 12 and 17—researchers found medication abortion instructions to be highly comprehensible, warranting the pills’ use without medical supervision.

Sign and share Ms.’s relaunched “We Have Had Abortions” petition—whether you yourself have had an abortion, or simply stand in solidarity with those who have—to let the Supreme Court, Congress and the White House know: We will not give up the right to safe, legal, accessible abortion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.