Babe Monthly: July — State abortion law wins; transgender rights; #FreeBritney & more

By Emily Park

At Catcall, we’re all about turning catcalling on its head and calling out the patriarchy with stories that inspire the shes, theys, gays and highlight the work that needs to be done to dismantle systemic inequalities. We’re proud to bring you the July edition of Babe Monthly with the major headlines, stories, and stats in feminist news that have surfaced over the last month. 

THE ROAD TO EQUALITY….

THE GOOD

VA to cover gender-confirmation surgery for transgender veterans for the first time

During a Pride Month event in Orlando, Veteran Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced that for the first time in history, the department will offer gender-confirmation surgery to veterans through its healthcare coverage. The change is expected to go through within the next two years. Read more here.

Supreme Court gives victory to transgender student who sued to use bathroom

When Gavin Grimm’s school district required the transgender teen to either use a unisex bathroom or a female bathroom corresponding with his assigned-at-birth sex, he sued. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court who elected not to hear the case. This allowed the previous court’s verdict to stand, requiring schools to allow students to use the bathroom of their gender identity. Read more here.

Iowa abortion law requiring 24-hour waiting period permanently blocked by district court

An Iowa aborition law requiring a 24-hour waiting period (it was set to go into effect in June 2020 before it was temporarily blocked by District Court Judge Mitchell Turner) has been permanently blocked by Turner. The judge found the law to violate the 2018 decision of the state’s Supreme Court that protected abortion rights in the state. Read more here.

North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban is unconstitutional, court affirms

A decades old abortion law that barred abortion procedures after 20 weeks of gestation has been struck down by the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. The lawsuit was filed in 2015 after the North Carolina state legislature voted to narrow medical exemptions to the law, and was blocked by a district court judge in 2019. Read more here.

Minnesota will be the first state to stop separating incarcerated moms and newborns

A new law signed by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz in May, will make Minnesota the first state in the U.S. to stop separating women in jail and prisons from their newborns. The new program stipulates that mother and child will be placed in a community-based program for up to a year. Read more here.

$200 million of American Rescue Plan will support domestic violence survivors and their children

After there was an 8.1 percent increase in domestic violence amid the pandemic, the Biden Administration has moved to allocate $200 million of the American Rescue Plan to support domestic violence survivors with grants, supplementary funding for state coalition and national resources, increased funding for specialized services and hotlines. Read more here.

THE IN PROGRESS

Tackling gender violence is a priority for the U.N. equality forum. These activists are demanding more: An international treaty.

More than 260 activists from 64 countries signed a letter to the United Nations Generation Equality Forum calling for an international treaty to end violence against women. The letter calls for a legally binding agreement that would mandate laws, training, education, and accountability protocols to help reduce the violence women and girls experience around the world. Read more here.

LGBTQ civil rights group sues Florida over ban on transgender girls in sports

On the first day of Pride Month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that bars transgender females from playing female public school teams. The Human Rights Campaign has filed the first lawsuit against the “Fairness in Women Sports Act” on behalf of a transgender student who has played on mutliple female teams but will be forced to play on male teams under the new law. Read more here.

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard is first openly transgender athlete selected to compete at the Olympics

BUT

Transgender runner CeCe Telfer is ruled ineligible to compete in US Olympic trials

While New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard will be the first openly transgender athelete to compete in the Olympics this summer in Tokyo, CeCe Teifer, a US transgender woman was denied the opportunity to try out for the US team because she didn’t meant requirements outlined by World Athletics guidelines. Hubbard met testosterone level requirements, while Teifer did not. 

Notable, however, is that the International Olympic Committee only has requirements for athletes that transgender women have to meet, but no requirements for transgender men. Read more about Hubbard here and Teifer here

THE BAD

Senate fails to advance Paycheck Fairness Act amid GOP opposition

A bill that aimed to strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and close the gender wage gap was struck down by the US Senate after a 50-50 partisan-split vote. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the bill could saddle, “hospitals, schools, and small businesses with crippling new legal burdens if they fail to keep pace with woke social norms.” Read more here.

The Supreme Court just delivered a blow to LGBTQ Rights

The Supreme Court ruled the city of Philadelphia was in the wrong when it stopped sending foster kids to a religious agency that refused to allow same-sex couples to be foster parents. The court ruled that because the Catholic Social Services was “serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs” and “it does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else,” the Catholic agency was within their rights. Read more here.

The WHO alcohol-pregnancy warning for childbearing women overlooks men, as usual

As part of its global action plan on alcohol, the World Health Organization argues the campaign should focus on women of childbearing age because of risks alcohol poses to a potential fetus. The recommendation failed to advise men to stop drinking alcohol, who can also impact potential fetuses. A study released earlier this year found there’s a 35% increase of birth defects in children in which the father of the child drank alcohol regularly. Read more here.

STORIES & ACHIEVEMENTS

How Olympic gold medalist Natasha Hastings trained during pregnancy

Natasha Hastings has won two Olympic gold medals in track and field. In the midst of training for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, she discovered she was pregnant. In this feature by The Cut she talks about the stress of being pregnant as a competitive athlete, battling anxiety attacks during the pandemic, and her race-day routine. In June, she narrowly missed qualifying for Tokyo, but she plans to continue competing throughout the summer. Read more here.

LGBTQ+ Christians are making this evangelical megachurch boom in Brazil

The majority of worshippers at the Contemporary Christian Church in Rio de Janeiro belong to same-sex couples. This feature by Vice dives into the church’s culture which welcomes worshippers with a sign on the door of the church that says, “Smile. Jesus Accepts You.” The church has 11 churches across Brazil and aims to embrace LGBTQ+ and minority Christians, and offer a place of refuge from anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in Brazil. Read more here.

A Virginia high schooler sued her district over sexual assault. It could open doors for other survivors, experts say.

A Northern Virginia high school student was sexually assaulted by a classmate during a school band trip. After reporting the assault to the school district, school officials asked the student what she was wearing or if she made any attempt to get out of the situation, and suggested she might get in trouble for participating in sexual activity on a school trip. She sued, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that once a school receives a report of sexual assault or harassment, it should take action or it might be liable for violating Title IX regulations. This could lead to stronger protections for students across the country. Read more here.

Women starved themselves to reach Victoria’s Secret ‘virtually inhuman’ standard of beauty. Now the iconic Angels are gone.

Victoria’s Secret announced a major rebranding effort ending their company’s notorious “Angels,” that often created unrealistic beauty expectations for women. The Angels will be replaced with a more diverse set of models who have built successful careers that extend outside of the industry, including soccer star Megan Rapinoe, actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and LGBTQ model and activist Valentina Sampaio. Read more here.

Britney Spears asks court to end conservatorship, detailing its control over her life

Britney Spears made her most long-running public statement against the conservatorship that gave her father legal control over the pop-singer’s life after her public breakdown in 2008. Spears revealed that she felt ganged up on and bullied; she can’t sleep, is depressed and cries everyday; she recalled being forced to do shows she didn’t want to and being forced to keep her IUD in while her and boyfriend want to have a child together. Spears has being trying to end the conservatorship in a 2020 court filing, which sparked the #FreeBritney movement. Read more here.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“For far too long, women’s rights activists like ourselves have shouldered the burden of responding to violence against women in the face of huge obstacles, and to the best of our abilities. In doing so, we put our own lives on the line each and every day.”


– Letter signed by 260+ representatives of the Every Woman Treaty addressed to the U.N.

Emily Park is a Kansas City-based journalist, passionate about giving a voice to those who don’t always have one. From news to features to business-to-business reporting, she’s done it all. (Features are her favorite though.) In her free time you can find Emily playing games, reading, streaming, or hanging out with her furry babies, Sutton the dog and Salem the cat.

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