What’s Next for Equality After Friday’s Same-Sex Marriage RulingThe Damaging Effects of This Year’s Texas Legislative Session Must Not Be UnderestimatedHeroes in Their Own Right: What Clinic Staff Do, and Why They Do ItUnsayable? To the Contrary, Negative Stereotypes of Trans Women Are Heard Far Too Often

What’s Next for Equality After Friday’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

by Jessica Mason Pieklo

Video

Activist Bree Newsome Climbs Pole, Removes Confederate Flag at the South Carolina State Capitol

Amidst conversations about the removal of Confederate flags nationwide, following last week’s mass shooting of nine African-American worshippers in Charleston, South Carolina, activist Bree Newsome scaled the 30-foot flag pole in front of South Carolina’s statehouse and took down the Confederate flag Saturday morning. “You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today,” said Newsome.

Alok Vaid-Menon on Allowing People to Self-Narrate Their Bodies

In this StyleLikeU video, Alok Vaid-Menon describes the ways gender is not about body parts. “The world I’m fighting for is where we stop making assumptions around everything [and] where we allow people to self-narrate their bodies,” says Vaid-Menon, an Indian-American poet. “I think that’s a profoundly radical act, because we exist in a western colonial system that’s invested in categorizing every single thing about you and creating norms about every single thing, rather than actually recognizing none of us fit into norms.” [via StyleLikeU]

Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler Team Up for a New Segment of ‘Really!?!’

After Sports Illustrated contributor Andy Benoit tweeted that “women’s sports in general [are] not worth watching,” comedian Amy Poehler joined Seth Meyers for a segment of “Really!?!” to tell Benoit why his statement is all wrong.

Audio

The Road to Majority Conference, and New York’s ‘Enough Is Enough’ Bill

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On this episode of Reality Cast, host Amanda Marcotte covers the Road to Majority Conference held by the Faith & Freedom Coalition and some recent victories in the war on sexual abuse. Also, RH Reality Check Senior Legal Analyst Jessica Mason Pieklo helps us sort out some recent reproductive rights court decisions.

Insurance Coverage of Vasectomies and Condoms, and Blaming Abortion for Everything

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On this episode of Reality Cast, Guttmacher’s Adam Sonfield explains why we need Obamacare to cover vasectomies and condoms. Host Amanda Marcotte mixes things up with a segment of good news, and for some reason, a lot of conservatives are saying really weird things about abortion lately.

Reproductive Rights Advocates Suffer Setbacks

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On this episode of Reality Cast, Shoshannah Sayers of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina explains what’s going on in her state. Also, Texas gets closer to all but banning abortion, and Jeb Bush gets in trouble for his hateful comments from 20 years ago.

News
HB 2 bans abortion after 20 weeks, limits the prescription of medication abortion, requires abortion-providing doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and requires facilities that provide abortion care to operate as ambulatory surgical centers.

HB 2 bans abortion after 20 weeks, limits the prescription of medication abortion, requires abortion-providing doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, and requires facilities that provide abortion care to operate as ambulatory surgical centers.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s denunciation of the Confederate flag last week has in some ways overshadowed her refusal to act in other areas related to structural inequality, such as refusing to expand health-care access to low-income communities across the state.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s denunciation of the Confederate flag last week has in some ways overshadowed her refusal to act in other areas related to structural inequality, such as refusing to expand health-care access to low-income communities across the state.

In registration packets for the Western Conservative Summit, which attracted GOP presidential contenders to Denver over the weekend, conference goers received a booklet titled, “Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality.”

In registration packets for the Western Conservative Summit, which attracted GOP presidential contenders to Denver over the weekend, conference goers received a booklet titled, “Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality.”

The Ohio Senate on Wednesday approved a ban on abortion after 20 weeks' gestation only hours after it went through committee.

The Ohio Senate on Wednesday approved a ban on abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation only hours after it went through committee.

The 5-4 decision ends the flood of cases challenging state-wide same sex marriage bans across the country.

The 5-4 decision ends the flood of cases challenging statewide same-sex marriage bans across the country.

A state court judge ruled from the bench Thursday the law, which bans the most commonly used method of ending a pregnancy in the second trimester, should be blocked while a trial on its constitutionality proceeds.

A state court judge ruled from the bench Thursday the law, which bans the most commonly used method of ending a pregnancy in the second trimester, should be blocked while a trial on its constitutionality proceeds.

The Poland "abortion drone" is causing a splash in the media and excited buzz in the reproductive rights community, but it has also become a source of misinformation and anxiety.

The Poland “abortion drone” is causing a splash in the media and excited buzz in the reproductive rights community, but it has also become a source of misinformation and anxiety.

The Planned Parenthood Center for Choice will be able to move forward with a plan to expand access to abortion care in New Orleans.

The Planned Parenthood Center for Choice will be able to move forward with a plan to expand access to abortion care in New Orleans.

Conservatives opposed to the expansion of health-care access lost big before the Roberts Court Thursday as the Court ruled 6 to 3 that subsidies to purchase insurance be available nationwide.

Conservatives opposed to the expansion of health-care access lost big before the Roberts Court Thursday as the Court ruled 6 to 3 that subsidies to purchase insurance be available nationwide.

After years of controversy, sex education will now be mandatory in Hawaii schools just as data suggests recent efforts to improve sex ed have worked to reduce teen pregnancy and abortion rates.

After years of controversy, sex education will now be mandatory in Hawaii schools just as data suggests recent efforts to improve sex ed have worked to reduce teen pregnancy and abortion rates.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) may not be allowed to vote in the House, but she is still threatening to make life difficult for House Republicans if they keep trying to overturn D.C.’s new Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) may not be allowed to vote in the House, but she is still threatening to make life difficult for House Republicans if they keep trying to overturn D.C.’s new Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act.

People experiencing homelessness in California will have an easier time accessing public assistance programs under a new state law that will allow those without homes to get birth certificates and state IDs for free.

People experiencing homelessness in California will have an easier time accessing public assistance programs under a new state law that will allow those without homes to get birth certificates and state IDs for free.

Michigan legislators are pushing to repeal the state’s infamous ban on insurance coverage of abortion and have introduced legislation that would prohibit employers from discriminating against people based on their use of contraceptives.

Michigan legislators are pushing to repeal the state’s infamous ban on insurance coverage of abortion and have introduced legislation that would prohibit employers from discriminating against people based on their use of contraceptives.

Senate Republicans released a funding proposal on Tuesday that would significantly cut funding for women’s health, including Title X low-income family planning and a key evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program.

Senate Republicans released a funding proposal on Tuesday that would significantly cut funding for women’s health, including Title X low-income family planning and a key evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program.

The conservative court of appeals handed the Obama administration an important victory in its defense of the Affordable Care Act's birth control benefit.

The conservative court of appeals handed the Obama administration an important victory in its defense of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit.

A study released Monday found that Gardasil 9, the newest version of the vaccine that protects against HPV, remains effective for years after it’s given to pre-teen and teen boys and girls.

A study released Monday found that Gardasil 9, the newest version of the vaccine that protects against HPV, remains effective for years after it’s given to pre-teen and teen boys and girls.

Georgia’s maternal mortality rate is the worst in the United States, and researchers and medical professionals analyzing state health statistics are beginning to understand the data behind the problem and moving towards creating solutions.

Georgia’s maternal mortality rate is the worst in the United States, and researchers and medical professionals analyzing state health statistics are beginning to understand the data behind the problem and to move toward creating solutions.

An Ohio abortion clinic will remain open despite an almost yearlong effort by anti-choice state officials to shutter its doors, thanks to a county judge’s ruling on Friday that the state’s abortion clinic licensing laws are unconstitutional.

An Ohio abortion clinic will remain open despite an almost yearlong effort by anti-choice state officials to shutter its doors, thanks to a county judge’s ruling on Friday that the state’s abortion clinic licensing laws are unconstitutional.

Roundups
Whether we are being charged for cheering at a graduation or treated like delinquents for attending a pool party, this week has been a reminder that Black people are still criminalized for being human.

Whether we are being charged for cheering at a graduation or treated like delinquents for attending a pool party, this week has been a reminder that Black people are still criminalized for being human.

This week, teens get health and sex information on the web, condom demonstrations are allowed in New York City public school health classes, and a British woman serves time for being too loud.

This week, teens get health and sex information on the web, condom demonstrations are allowed in New York City public school health classes, and a British woman serves time for being too loud.

This week, a study finds women are just as willing as men to have sex with a stranger, high school seniors in Arizona face rising rates of sexually transmitted infections, and a few cups of coffee a day may keep erectile dysfunction away.

This week, a study finds women are just as willing as men to have sex with a stranger, seniors in Arizona face rising rates of sexually transmitted infections, and a few cups of coffee a day may keep erectile dysfunction away.

Commentary
I know firsthand that for many people, poverty is often related to a lack of access to basic health care, including abortion. This growing burden, carried primarily by poor people, is a blind spot for many legislatures and courts around the country.

I know firsthand that for many people, poverty is often related to a lack of access to basic health care, including abortion. This growing burden, carried primarily by poor people, is a blind spot for many legislatures and courts around the country.

For years, medication abortion ranked far behind surgical abortion in popularity. But now that may be changing, as women increasingly see the pill—legal or not—as a way to get around draconian abortion restrictions.

For years, medication abortion ranked far behind surgical abortion in popularity. But now that may be changing, as women increasingly see the pill—legal or not—as a way to get around draconian abortion restrictions.

Title IX changed the course of history for many individuals when it comes to athletics and being able to partake in programs that discriminate against individuals based on sex. But when we talk about the landmark legislation, people still don't seem to understand what it truly means—and doesn't mean.

Title IX changed the course of history for many individuals when it comes to athletics and being able to partake in programs that discriminate against individuals based on sex. But when we talk about the landmark legislation, people still don’t seem to understand what it truly means—and doesn’t mean.

Congregants of the Greater Allen AME in New York City at St. Albans Memorial Park on June 20 in solidarity with Charleston, South Carolina's Emanuel AME.

When we stop talking about racism and racially motivated violence, we push the dream of a fair and equitable society even further into the distance.

Chipotle may not be the ultimate tipping point, but we could may be inching closer to a moment at which the government will be compelled to act, mandating a higher minimum wage, paid sick leave, and other benefits for workers in the United States.

Chipotle may not be the ultimate tipping point, but we could may be inching closer to a moment at which the government will be compelled to act, mandating a higher minimum wage, paid sick leave, and other benefits for workers in the United States.

Over the past week, our story about a California lawmaker who suggested the state's drought represents God's wrath over abortion has gained significant traction in state and national media. Now Grove is desperately trying to walk back from her embarrassing gaffe.

Over the past week, our story about a California lawmaker who suggested the state’s drought represents God’s wrath over abortion has gained significant traction in state and national media. Now Grove is desperately trying to walk back from her embarrassing gaffe.

The lack of LGBTQ inclusive, comprehensive, and medically accurate sexual and reproductive health education is a public health concern that many lawmakers, educators, and doctors are letting slip through the cracks.

The lack of LGBTQ-inclusive, comprehensive, and medically accurate sexual and reproductive health education is a public health concern that many lawmakers, educators, and doctors are letting slip through the cracks.

While a new Associated Press report suggests the abortion rate is declining in almost all states, we still don't know whether there's been an increase in reproductive wellness. Focusing only on a lowered abortion rate as metric of health and well-being is both inaccurate and stigmatizing of abortion.

While a new Associated Press report suggests the abortion rate is declining in almost all states, we still don’t know whether there’s been an increase in reproductive wellness. Focusing only on a lowered abortion rate as metric of health and well-being is both inaccurate and stigmatizing of abortion.

Actors and their supporters alike have launched a variety of campaigns over the past few months issuing calls to action around the gender pay gap in Hollywood. Let's continue fighting not just for the few in the limelight who have made it, but also for the many who haven’t.

Actors and their supporters alike have launched a variety of campaigns over the past few months issuing calls to action around the gender pay gap in Hollywood. Let’s continue fighting not just for the few in the limelight who have made it, but also for the many who haven’t.

ABLC Blog
I'm supposed to believe yelling "You did it, baby!" at a high school graduation ceremony necessitates hundreds of dollars in fines and possible jail time? Give me a break. In fact, give all of your breaks to me.

I’m supposed to believe yelling “You did it, baby!” at a high school graduation ceremony necessitates hundreds of dollars in fines and possible jail time? Give me a break. In fact, give all of your breaks to me.

Apparently, Ohio Republicans need to protect the integrity of the election process by making sure that Johnny McVotesalot only votes once per election—and not “a lot” as his name suggests. This, even though voter fraud in the state is basically nonexistent.

Apparently, Ohio Republicans need to protect the integrity of the election process by making sure that Johnny McVotesalot only votes once per election—and not “a lot” as his name suggests. This, even though voter fraud in the state is basically nonexistent.

To certain people in this country, it seems that any gathering of Black people is comprised of thugs. A barbecue? A bunch of thugs eating ribs. A church picnic? Just a bunch of thugs in fancy hats. A hip-hop show? A bunch of thugs listening to a bunch of other thugs.

To certain people in this country, it seems that any gathering of Black people is comprised of thugs. A barbecue? A bunch of thugs eating ribs. A church picnic? Just a bunch of thugs in fancy hats. A hip-hop show? A bunch of thugs listening to a bunch of other thugs.

Analysis
The Roberts Court surprised many on Thursday by upholding an important provision of the Fair Housing Act, with Justice Anthony Kennedy emerging as an important voice for civil rights jurisprudence.

The Roberts Court surprised many on Thursday by upholding an important provision of the Fair Housing Act, with Justice Anthony Kennedy emerging as an important voice for civil rights jurisprudence.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled states can refuse to print license plates displaying the Confederate flag. But the decision is not the win it looks like for reproductive rights advocates.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled states can refuse to print license plates displaying the Confederate flag. But the decision is not the win it looks like for reproductive rights advocates.

The Court's decision in Elonis v. Facebook offered no clarity for those who face violent online harassment.

The Court’s decision in Elonis v. Facebook offered no clarity for those who face violent online harassment.

Investigations
“I honestly understand why a lot of people don’t report rape,” Kiyona Phillips told RH Reality Check in an interview. “Because if you’re not half-dead or beat in the face or it’s not recorded in any kind of way, you really have to prove that this happened to you.”

In cases of rape, the “he said, she said” dilemma has outgrown the realm of legitimate legal query, and has instead come to justify the systemic failure of police and prosecutors nationwide to properly process forensic evidence that could lead to more sexual assault convictions, and also to identifying serial rapists who otherwise remain at large.

At the California ProLife Legislative Banquet last week, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove told a roomful of advocates, activists, and clergy that "God has His hold on California.”

At the California ProLife Legislative Banquet last week, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove told a roomful of advocates, activists, and clergy that “God has His hold on California.”

Why would Texas, a state renowned for its fierce defense of local rights, prohibit the good people of Denton—and any other municipalities—from banning hydraulic fracturing if that is what they choose to do? Look no further than Dan and Farris Wilks.

Why would Texas, a state renowned for its fierce defense of local rights, prohibit the good people of Denton—and any other municipalities—from banning hydraulic fracturing if that is what they choose to do? Look no further than Dan and Farris Wilks.

Q & A
Amy Hagstrom Miller and Amanda Williams at ChoiceWorks speak about their vision for their new nonprofit Shift, why they’ve chosen to launch in Texas, and what the end of abortion stigma might look like in red states.

Amy Hagstrom Miller and Amanda Williams at ChoiceWorks speak about their vision for their new nonprofit Shift, why they’ve chosen to launch in Texas, and what the end of abortion stigma might look like in red states.

Yamani Hernandez recently chatted with RH Reality Check about her work to build a broad human rights movement that lives up to its inclusive values, her unconventional professional trajectory, and the people who inspired and stoked her activism.

Yamani Hernandez recently chatted with RH Reality Check about her work to build a broad human rights movement that lives up to its inclusive values, her unconventional professional trajectory, and the people who inspired and stoked her activism.

Dr. Chastine fights back against anti-choice threats and intimidation by providing the best possible care to her patients, who often travel long distances as additional political and economic hurdles are put in their way.

Dr. Chastine fights back against anti-choice threats and intimidation by providing the best possible care to her patients, who often travel long distances as additional political and economic hurdles are put in their way.