The Week in Women
A growing maternal death rate, an historic Oscar win, and Texas abortion cases
Hi readers, and welcome to The Week in Women, a rundown of this week’s major women’s rights stories from around the world (and this time around it includes last week’s news, too). Here we go!
New data from the CDC shows that the maternal death rate in the US increased sharply in 2021, with rates two times higher for Black women than white women. The US already has the highest maternal death rate of any developed country and the ongoing crisis was exacerbated by COVID-19, leading to the spike in 2021.
The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the state’s trigger ban prohibiting all abortion is likely unconstitutional as it violates the state constitution’s guarantee of the right to life and safety. The court kept the block on the ban in place, in a surprise from a largely conservative court. In Wyoming, a court has blocked the state’s abortion ban, which criminalizes the procedure in nearly all cases. And in Oklahoma, a court has held that the state has to at least allow abortion to save a woman’s life — something the Oklahoma legislature did not want to do.
A court in Poland convicted an activist for sending medication abortion to a woman experiencing domestic violence and helping to terminate her pregnancy. Poland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe and this prosecution sets a dangerous precedent for targeting of other reproductive rights activists.
Also in Poland: The leading opposition leader, Donald Tusk, has taken up women’s rights broadly, and abortion rights specifically, in his campaign. Tusk is hoping he can leverage the anger of Polish women (and those who support them) in challenging the current right-wing government, and is saying that women’s rights is his number-one issue.