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There’s Now a Handy Guide to Politicians Who Are “Worst for Women” for Your Voting Pleasure

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Welcome to The Week in Reproductive Justice, a weekly recap of all news related to the hot-button issue of what lawmakers are allowing women to do with their bodies!

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It’s been a tough summer for reproductive rights, from state-level legislative attacks on reproductive health care, to the existential fight for women’s human rights taking place at the Supreme Court. But with this week came a few crucial reminders: for starters, that we stand in solidarity in with women around the world—and especially, this week, with the women of Argentina—in the movement for reproductive justice. And second, that time flies.

It feels like just yesterday that Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, but that was back in June, and now it’s the second week of August. Sure, days can feel slow, with a thousand things happening every hour, but November will be here in the blink of an eye, and with it, perhaps our last real chance to protect human rights and save women’s lives.

Argentine Senate rejects legal abortion

Early Thursday, Argentina’s Senate rejected a bill to legalize abortion in the country, weeks after the bill was passed by the lower house. Despite the bill’s success in the lower house and President Macri’s statement that he would sign the bill if it passed, the bill was still widely understood as a long shot in the Senate, where a majority of lawmakers declared their intent to reject the bill prior to the vote. In other words, the Senate’s vote is disappointing and vastly harmful to the human rights of women in Argentina, but it’s one single setback—and an expected setback, at that—for the greater movement for women’s human rights in Argentina.

Prior to Roe v. Wade, it’s estimated that 200,000 to 1.2 million American women died annually due to unsafe abortions, and we know that banning abortion does not lower the rate at which abortion takes place; it only increases the rate of unsafe abortions. In Argentina, where abortion is only allowed in cases of rape or threats to the mother’s life, 500,000 abortions take place annually. In other words, the country’s current laws only serve to endanger and punish women.

It’s a fraught time for reproductive rights around the world, rendering solidarity among women and activists in every country more crucial—and more powerful—than ever. The Argentine Senate’s rejection of the bill will not slow the momentum of Argentine abortion rights activists, nor will it deter the movements being built in other Latin American countries, and regions around the world with repressive laws threatening women’s health and fundamental rights. Here in the United States, as we fight to defend the rights we have amid mounting threats, we stand with the women of Argentina.

Maryland House Speaker wants to codify abortion rights into state constitution

This week, Rewire reported that Maryland’s House Speaker Michael E. Busch is planning to propose a state constitutional amendment that would formally codify abortion rights into the state constitution. As states and municipalities respond to the seismic shifts for abortion rights that are expected to take place at the Supreme Court, one way pro-choice lawmakers have been fighting back is through strengthening and protecting abortion rights on a localized level.

If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, the Supreme Court takes up one of many abortion cases already in the courts, and subsequently rules against the precedent of Roe v. Wade (the decision that ruled abortion to be constitutionally protected in 1973), abortion rights will be decided by individual states, making precautionary measures like Busch’s crucial. In the same vein, anti-choice lawmakers and activists, who will likely petition to put abortion bans on state ballots, would also likely capitalize on the reversal of Roe.

It may be that women in some states with pro-choice majorities would be less impacted, should Roe be struck down. Certainly, disproportionately wealthy, white women who could afford to travel out-of-state to access abortion might not feel the effects of an anti-abortion decision at the high court. The movement for reproductive justice has been and will always be an intersectional struggle across lines of race, immigration status, class, and sexual orientation and identity, and as Kavanaugh’s nomination threatens to transform the right to an abortion into a privilege, this reality has only become clearer.

Progressive group releases list of Congressmen ranked “worst for women”

This November, we have a real chance to protect abortion rights, by electing pro-choice state lawmakers, Congress members, and senators who will use their offices to advance, not attack, women’s health. Navigating crowded fields of candidates can be tricky, but one helpful way to get started is to make note of all the red flags. Lucky for you, the progressive groups American Bridge and Ultraviolet have compiled a list of Congress members ranked “worst for women.”

The list specifically calls out 15 current members of Congress for their track records, based on their votes on the Affordable Care Act, Planned Parenthood, abortion access, and other legislation disproportionately affecting women’s living standards, such as labor rights and wages.

From Jim Jordan and Ted Cruz to Steve King and Jason Lewis, many of the names probably won’t surprise you too much. To learn the rest of the all-star ensemble of (mostly) men who would like to reduce women to baby-making incubators, you’ll have to check out the website.

Tune in next week to see what lawmakers will try next in their never-ending mission to derail reproductive justice!

(image: Avivi Aharon / Shutterstock.com)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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