2020 has tested our rights, our hearts, and our livelihoods like no other year in recent memory. From the rise and continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the uprisings for racial justice, the mass exit of women from the workforce, the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the struggle to protect her legacy, and the relentless struggle for world that values our dignity, humanity, and civil rights.
This year has tested us for sure, but it has also made clear our purpose and called us to action. Through it all, Gender Justice has pushed forward guided by our north star - the fight for justice.
Minnesota has some of the strongest civil rights protections in the nation thanks to our State Constitution and the Minnesota Human Rights Act. However, these rights are only as secure as our ability to enforce them - and if this year has taught us anything, it’s that we need to make sure our protections are rock solid and able to endure the political tumult on both the federal and state levels.
This is our lane. And it’s where we win - even in 2020.
Right now Gender Justice represents 10 clients in 7 different cases - all fighting for basic rights to bodily autonomy, safety, health, and opportunity. As we lift up these efforts to secure justice, we also want to highlight (and celebrate!) some of our major case wins this year:
Doe v. Minnesota Motion to Dismiss: In June, a district court judge ruled to deny the state’s motion to dismiss - allowing our legal challenge to Minnesota’s harmful and unconstitutional abortion restrictions to proceed. Abortion access is essential to the health and safety of Minnesotans. This summer’s decision was a critical step forward in our fight to repeal the medically unnecessary abortion restrictions that stand in the way of Minnesotans’ essential right to make decisions about our own bodies.
Positive ruling in our case against Anoka-Hennepin: This fall we celebrated a victory when the state Court of Appeals ruled that it is a violation of both the Minnesota Human Rights Act and the Minnesota Constitution for school districts to segregate transgender students from their peers in locker room facilities. This was a huge victory for our client, a transgender student, and thanks to this ruling, we can move the case forward and fight for N.H. - and all students - in district court.
Bringing a Gender Lens to the MN Supreme Court: Gender Justice brought our nuanced understanding of gender discrimination directly as amicus curiae in the Minnesota cases Abel v. Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Kenneh v. Homeward Bound. Amicus briefs have the power to educate judges and inform a fair and just ruling. We were so pleased to learn that these amicus efforts contributed to two positive rulings affirming and defending our right to workplaces free from sexual harassment and discrimination.
Foundation Support for Anderson v. Thrifty White: As a small organization, strategic and impact litigation cases can be a big, expensive undertaking without a guarantee of success. That’s why we were thrilled to receive news in September that the Barbara McDowell and Gerald S. Hartman Foundation have committed $50,000 toward our case Andrea Anderson v. Thrifty White. We believe this case is the first in the nation on behalf of someone who has been denied emergency contraception due to a provider’s religious beliefs. This case moves us closer to a world where everyone has access to the health care they need, regardless of the personal beliefs of their medical provider.
Thank you for making our work possible. Together we can win big in the courts, strengthen the power of our laws and protections, and safeguard our human and civil rights