Ms. Global: Protests Against Taliban Bans on Women’s Education; Iran Ousted From U.N. Panel; Increased Calls for Press Freedom in India

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 healthcare. 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 month: Activists, students and professors protest the Taliban’s ban on female university students; Mexico’s Supreme Court and the country of Peru both get their first female president; a revised curriculum in South Korea removes reference to LGBTQ communities and “gender equality”; Brazilian women fight to end fatphobia; and more.

Are Women’s Rights the Canary in the Coal Mine of a Democracy in Decline?

Today, half of the world’s democratic governments are on the decline. Advocates questioned the correlation between regression on women’s rights and degraded democracies. A New York Times article asserted that such a descent is precisely when “curbs on women’s rights tend to accelerate.” However, that proposition should be considered in reverse.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Roe decision and continue to grapple with the new status quo, this much is clear: The tenets of reproductive health, rights and justice—and those of a healthy democracy—are not only inextricably interconnected, but essential to our nation’s promise.

New York Shield Law Would Protect Clinicians Mailing Abortion Pills to Patients in Red States

New York could become the second state, after Massachusetts, to pass a shield law extending to telemedicine abortion providers serving out-of-state patients. The proposed law would protect clinicians and pharmacists throughout the state from criminal prosecution, extradition, loss of license or malpractice insurance, and from subpoenas of their medical records for prescribing and sending abortion pills to people who need them anywhere in the United States.  

‘Gray Love’: Yes, Older People Have Desires

Gray Love: Stories About Dating and New Relationships After 60 showcases men and women’s own voices, showing the nitty-gritty headiness of first dates, the joy of getting to know someone’s history, politics and quirks, and the inevitability of decline.

Nan Bauer-Maglin, co-editor, says it’s rare for books about love to intertwine with aging. “I hope that younger readers will learn that older people have desires and still want to date and have romantic relationships. I hope that they will see that older people do not want to spend the rest of their lives longing for a person who is no longer there.”

Plan B Does Not Cause Abortion, Says FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally changed the labeling of the emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step, removing an inaccurate statement that the medication may function by blocking a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb.

The inaccurate language resulted from a compromise with anti-abortion science advisers to the FDA when the medication was approved for over-the-counter-sales in 2006. Anti-abortion advocates, who claim that “life” begins at the moment of fertilization, have used the FDA label to justify their belief that emergency contraception causes abortion.

FDA Allows Pharmacies to Sell Abortion Pills—But Requires Unnecessary and Burdensome Certification Process

On Jan. 3, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new certification process for brick-and-mortar pharmacies to become eligible to sell the abortion pill mifepristone for the first time. Reproductive rights advocates celebrated the change, but the FDA is still blocking mifepristone from being available in pharmacies like any other drug, despite the fact that mifepristone is safer than many over-the-counter medications.

“Today, we celebrate this progress and tomorrow, we’ll continue to work towards a world with no restrictions on medication abortion care.”