Last week, we were all: “Spring has sprung! What a beautiful time to be alive! Let’s literally sing about it!” Joke’s on me, because the first few days of spring have featured an astonishing series of mishaps. To give you a sense: On Monday night, a stranger passed out and pooped himself on the seat next to me in a bar, and that was kind of a high point!

It’s not just me, though — it’s been a grease fire of a week for reproductive rights on both the state and national level, too. I won’t give it away here, but you’ve got a lot of darkness to take in below.

Because I am a grown woman who — like all grown women — has had to deal with some periods of difficulty in her life, I have developed some methods for dealing with stress. Not all of them are healthy! But I’ll share some of the better ones as chasers this week, and hopefully they can serve as some inspiration for your own coping strategy. Good luck out there, people.

This real news is powered by you. Support Grist

SHOT: The big reproductive news story of the week: On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Zubik v. Burwell, a consolidated case arguing that religious nonprofits are morally burdened by the process of exempting themselves from the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefits. That process? A wildly burdensome two-page form.

To quote Ruth Bader Ginsburg in court on Wednesday, as reported by the Guardian: “That’s all?”

CHASER: Many of us learn how to deal with the ebbs and flows of constant, throbbing anxiety from our parents — which means that I leaned how to bake. This lemon-rosemary loaf — I picked the rosemary myself from the side of my road, which made me feel like a goddamn fairy princess forager — has really been giving me life this week.

SHOT: A fundamental piece of religious organizations’ objection to covering birth control in the Zubik v. Burwell case is the straight-up false belief that long-acting birth control like the IUD or hormonal implant actually cause abortion. This week, Media Matters breaks down this very harmful myth.

CHASER: Do you remember Limp Bizkit? Wait — hear me out. There is something uniquely soothing about “Break Stuff.” The summer in between my junior and senior years of college, my roommate and I spent an afternoon painting our living room while listening to “Break Stuff” on repeat, and we felt fantastic at the end. The color was lavender, thank you.

SHOT: It’s been said before, but it should be said over and over again until we get what we’re asking for: Universal access to contraception is necessary for gender equality. Elizabeth Deutsch, a law student at Yale, puts it perfectly in The New York Times: “The Supreme Court should recognize that it is only when women’s health care rights are fully recognized by the law that women can participate in society as equals.”

CHASER: When I’m especially stressed, I go to Sephora and try about 20 perfume samples but almost never buy any of them. It’s free aromatherapy, sort of! I don’t feel bad about this because they get enough of my money already.

SHOT: Yesterday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed an anti-abortion bill so restrictive, even anti-choice legislators in the state have objected to it. Among the restrictions: Criminalizing doctors who perform abortion based on race, sex, or disability; restricting fetal tissue donation; and requiring — a la HB2 in Texas — doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital.

CHASER: If you are a mobile twenty-something, you are likely very far from a lot of your dearest friends. So text them. Have rollicking, marathon text conversations with them. They will make you laugh. It will feel good.

SHOT: And in South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley will likely sign a proposed 20-week abortion ban — “The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” because you can’t make this shit up — into law. REMINDER: The victims of late-term abortion bans are overwhelmingly low-income, young, or otherwise disadvantaged women who have been unable to access the procedure at an earlier point in their pregnancy.

CHASER: Sleep. I cannot stress this enough. Get eight hours of sleep. Nine, if you can! If that means you get home from work and literally get into bed without dinner, do it. It makes a big difference.

SHOT: So what’s the best way to lower abortion rates? By providing long-acting, effective birth control to women, of course — but there are plenty of barriers that keep women from accessing those methods. Upstream USA is working to help more women across the country get IUDs and other LARCs (long-acting reversible contraceptives) by ensuring that the procedure is quick, convenient, and affordable.

CHASER: Do you know about the Puffin Cam? If you do, you clearly have your life in order and don’t need me to be giving you advice. Anyway, Audubon is doing right by all of us and sharing the most soothing live feed you never knew to ask for.

SHOT: It’s a day that ends in Y and Donald Trump is a misogynist. But if that surprises you, I can’t help you.

CHASER: Ariana Grande, the petite warbling demon, just released a flawless pop song. I listened to it on repeat for an entire day and I still have no idea what it’s about, but she says “we’re gonna be alright” over and over again and, you know what, I believe her.


Why do we do this news roundup every week? Even if each subsequent development in access to sexual education, contraception, and abortion is hair-tearing-ly frustrating, it’s really important that women know that they’re happening.

But why should all environmentalists (and humans, honestly) care about reproductive rights? Watch our video to find out more: