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For these groups, 2016 was a big year for civil and human rights in the US

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For these groups, 2016 was a big year for civil and human rights in the US

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.

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Bethany Van Kampen, left, hugs Alejandra Pablus as they celebrate during a rally at the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 27, 2016, after the court struck down Texas' widely replicated regulation of abortion clinics. The justices voted 5-3 in favor of Texas clinics that had argued the regulations were a thinly veiled attempt to make it harder for women to get an abortion in the nation's second-most populous state. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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.

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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., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Tribal elders have asked the military veterans joining the large Dakota Access pipeline protest encampment not to have confrontations with law enforcement officials, an organizer with Veterans Stand for Standing Rock said Sunday, adding the group is there to help out those who've dug in against the four-state, $3.8 billion project. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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.


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In this Dec. 3, 2016 photo, Rohingya women and children wait in a queue to collect water at the Leda camp, an unregistered camp for Rohingya in Teknaf, near Cox's Bazar, a southern coastal district about, 296 kilometers (183 miles) south of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Some 15,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh over past month, often brought in by smugglers, according to police and intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity. They have joined up to 500,000 undocumented Rohingya who have been living in Bangladesh after arriving from Myanmar in waves since the 1970s. In refugee camps in Bangladesh, survivors of a wave of violence that has swept Myanmar in recent weeks say government forces have targeted minority Rohingya villages, burning many to the ground, killing the innocent and raping women. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

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.

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FILE - In this July 13, 2013 file photo, abortion rights advocates, left, protest in the State Capitol as anti-abortion rights supporters pass them in Austin, Texas. A coalition of national advocacy groups sued Texas on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, seeking to block Texas' soon-to-be-implemented rules mandating the burial or cremation of fetal remains. The lawsuit filed Monday by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights is the latest legal battle in a state whose tough anti-abortion laws were already largely voided this summer by the U.S. Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa File)

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.

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FILE - In this Sunday, July 10, 2016 file photo, people march in a Black Lives Matter rally in Oklahoma City. Black Lives Matter has quietly established a legal partnership with a California charity in a sign of the movement's growth and expanding ambition. The Associated Press has learned that IDEX is managing the group's financial affairs, allowing Black Lives Matter to focus on its mission, including building local chapters and experimenting with its organizational structure. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

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.

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