Martha Kempner on Sexuality in the U.S.: ‘This Is a Really Scary Moment for Sexuality and Sexual Agency’

Martha Kempner spoke to Ms. about her weekly newsletter ‘Sex on Wednesday’ and the current political climate in the U.S. Sex, sexuality and sexual health are her subjects—and lately, she has no shortage of material to draw from.

“We are in a really critical period right now. This is a really scary moment for sexuality and sexual agency.”

‘Dark Prison Mirrors the Dark Future of Afghan Women’: A Firsthand Account of a Former Taliban Prisoner

Since the fall of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021, Afghan women—many of whom dedicated their lives and careers to working for equality—have experienced a systematic campaign of violence and subjugation. Many took to the streets to protest, and in turn have been beaten, arrested, tortured and murdered. This firsthand account of Mursal Ayar’s life and arrest is a powerful reminder of our common humanity, and the duty we all share to protect the world’s most vulnerable—yet remarkable—activists. 

“After those 13 days, I am like a little girl who is afraid of the night. I sleep next to my mother. The Taliban have not only taken my country from me; they have taken everything from me. My peace, my dreams, my hope and courage. I left the Taliban prison, but I could not regain what I have lost forever.”

National Youth Poet Laureate Alyssa Gaines Breaks Down the Realities for Young Women in a Post-Roe World

Young people are taking to the streets to protest, lobbying their elected officials and taking to activism in droves to make abortion accessible for those who need it. National Youth Poet Laureate Alyssa Gaines is using her writing to affirm the need for abortion care and to reach those most impacted by anti-choice legislation.

“It’s my responsibility to reach out and try to connect to those people instead of just writing them off.”

Our Abortion Stories: ‘He Said if I Got Pregnant, He’d Marry Me. I Got Pregnant. He Left.’

On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned the longstanding precedents of Roe v. Wade, representing the largest blow to women’s constitutional rights in history. We’re chronicling readers’ experiences of abortion pre- and post-Roe.

“I had just told my husband that I was leaving him when I got the news that I was pregnant. At the time, I already had two daughters under the age of six. I was figuring out how I was going to be a single mother with a demanding job that paid very little. … I don’t think we would’ve turned out with the lives we now have if there had been another mouth to feed. Nor, frankly, should I have to explain myself or my situation to anyone.”

War on Women Report: Texas Teen Raises $2.2 Million for Abortion Funds; 43 Abortion Clinics Closed; WNBA’s Brittney Griner Sentenced to Nine Years

U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back.

This week: State courts are shaping the future of abortion; Texas teenager raises $2.2 million for abortion care; WNBA star Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison; and more.

Ms. Global: Historic Kenyan Elections; Malaysia Passes Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill; Germany Introduces Self-Determination Act

The U.S. ranks as the 19th most dangerous country for women, 11th in maternal mortality, 30th in closing the gender pay gap, 75th in women’s political representation, and painfully lacks paid family leave and equal access to health care. But Ms. has always understood: Feminist movements around the world hold answers to some of the U.S.’s most intractable problems. Ms. Global is taking note of feminists worldwide.

This week: news from India, Germany, Malaysia, Iran, and more.