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For these groups, 2016 was a big year for civil and human rights in the USby Fernando Hurtado
People#humanrights

WATCH  | Despite what may seem to have been a down 2016 for some, there were groups who scored major victories, and others saw some progress. Let's take a look back at the five groups that scored victories when it came to human and civil rights in the United States.

Bethany Van Kampen, left, hugs Alejandra Pablus as they celebrate during a rally at the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27, 2016, after the court struck down Texas' widely replicated regulation of abortion clinics. (Photo: Associated Press)

1. American Vaginas

In June, the Supreme Court struck down Texas' abortion access law, which would have required abortion clinics to have hospital-like standards, and for doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Opponents of the legislation argued it would have closed down a majority of abortion clinics in the state.

Native American veterans join an interfaith ceremony at the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., on Dec. 4, 2016. (Photo: Associated Press)

2. The O.G. Americans

We ended the year with an historic victory for Native Americans. After months of protests, the Standing Rock Sioux were able to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

Native Americans and activists said the pipeline would have threatened the water supply and land that's considered sacred.


Rohingya women and children wait in a queue to collect water at refugee camp in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Photo: Associated Press)

3. Refugees in the United States

The Obama administration announced the United States will accept 110,000 refugees from around the world in 2017.

That's a nearly 60% increase from 2015.

Abortion rights advocates, left, protest in the State Capitol as anti-abortion rights supporters pass them in the stairwell in Austin, Texas. (Photo: Associated Press)

4. Contraceptives and Religion

The U.S. Supreme Court said it wouldn't rule on the challenge to contraceptive coverage within Obamacare.

Certain religious employers wanted to withhold birth control coverage to its employees. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower courts to work out a compromise.

Demonstrators march in a Black Lives Matter rally in Oklahoma City on July 10, 2016. (Photo: Associated Press)

5. Black Lives Matter

The killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling by police sparked uproar, but they also propelled the Black Lives Matter movement.

In November, the officer who shot Castile was charged with manslaughter. In the last year, states have passed at least 40 measures related to criminal justice, ranging from police body cameras to racial profiling.

The year ahead

The new year will start with plenty of unresolved issues. Black men are being incarcerated at six times the rate of white men, according to the Pew Research Center. Hundreds of thousands of children are reportedly working on U.S. farms for less than minimum wage, according to Human Rights Watch. And it's now illegal in North Carolina for transgender people to use the bathroom for the gender for which they identify.

Here's hoping 2017 levels the playing field a little more for everyone.