The Week in Women
It has been more than a few weeks since I last did a Week in Women post, but now we’re back — and this time with help, from the researcher and co-author of this post, Tamar Eisen.
Here’s what you need to know in women’s rights news this week:
The legendary Nancy Pelosi is stepping down from House leadership this year. Pelosi was the first (and so far only) female Speaker of the House, and her two-decade-long tenure in House leadership brought record-breaking numbers of women and people of color to Congress.
After an American tourist nearly died in Malta thanks to the country’s strict anti-abortion laws, the Maltese government is looking for a change. Malta isn’t planning to legalize abortion wholesale, but it is planning the kind of extremely basic common-sense change that we don’t even see in red state America: A law that says abortions are permitted when the pregnant woman’s health is at risk.
In a closely-watched race for mayor of Los Angeles, Democrat Karen Bass won, becoming the city’s first female mayor.
Slovenia also just elected its first female president, Natasa Pirc Musar.
Abortion is legal again in Georgia, at least for now. A judge overturned the state’s six week abortion ban, holding that the law, which was passed three years ago but didn’t go into effect until Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, violated the US constitution and Supreme Court precedent when it was written.
The pathetic misogynists of the Taliban continue their attacks on women, banning women from gyms and ordering that parks be strictly gender segregated. According to Al Jazeera, The Taliban have also “banned girls from middle school and high school, despite initial promises to the contrary, restricted women from most fields of employment, and ordered them to wear head-to-toe clothing in public.”
A small but important move from the Biden administration: When pregnant minors come across the US border and are not accompanied by an adult, they will now be assigned to shelters in states that protect abortion rights, so that they can decide for themselves whether or not to continue their pregnancies.
New York State passed a law allowing people to sue over sexual assaults that happened many years ago. A group of women who say they were sexually abused in prison have filed suit and are demanding justice.
A group of anti-abortion activists are suing the FDA over mifepristone, a drug used as part of a two-medication protocol for abortion, claiming that the agency fast-tracked the drug. Medication abortion, it’s worth saying, is safer than penicillin or aspirin; no word yet on whether the anti-abortion movement is going to try to take away your Bayer.
American misogynists are not content to stay here at home; Evangelicals are now funding the anti-abortion movement in Israel.
Another day, another woman who almost died because of “pro-life” laws. At some point, there’s going to be a story without the “almost” — and I promise you that the feckless misogynists of the anti-abortion movement won’t give a single damn. This story is incredibly heartbreaking: A woman named Amanda had a much-wanted pregnancy after more than a year of fertility treatments, and then her water broke at 18 weeks, which is far too early for a baby to survive. But because the fetus still had a heartbeat, doctors could not legally terminate the pregnancy unless Amanda’s life was at direct and immediate risk. So she waited — eventually going septic and nearly dying. She had to be put in the ICU, and the trauma to her body left her with a scarred uterus, which may make her unable to have children in the future. It’s all just so totally unnecessary — unless the point is to punish women.
In Ohio, a similarly awful story: A woman travelled to the state for her brother’s wedding, only to miscarry and find herself refused treatment and discharged from the hospital. She filled a bathtub with blood; she was passing clots the size of golf balls. She eventually lost so much blood she passed out — and only then, when she could have died, did doctors act.
In rural America, reproductive health care generally has dried up — and certainly pushing people who care about and work in women’s health out of conservative states doesn’t help.
…and that’s it! Thanks as always for reading.
xx Jill + Tamar
Tamar Eisen (she/her/hers) is an advocate for reproductive justice and gender equity. She lives in New York City and works for the Center for Reproductive Rights.