The Arizona Abortion Fight Is a Reminder That Progress Is Not Linear

April’s U.S. political news admittedly brought many horrors—from Alabama legislators advancing a bill to define sex based on “reproductive systems,” not gender identity; to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing an Idaho ban on gender-affirming care for minors to take effect; to the Arizona Supreme Court upholding an abortion ban from 1864, which opens the door to criminalizing health providers with up to five years of prison time if they provide abortion services. Tucson Mayor Regina Romero called the ruling “a huge step backwards.”

Legal changes in the present may appear to be reversing earlier advancements, as Romero said. But advocates of equity need a better grasp of history so they are realistic about the intermittent successes of movements for social change. The fight for full gender equality is a long game.

‘Clear Eyes. Full Heart. Can’t Win.’ The N.C. Woman Running a Losing Campaign Against Republican Gerrymandering

Kate Compton Barr is a behavioral scientist, entrepreneur and mother of two. She’s also running her first race for office: a seat in the North Carolina state Senate. Shockingly, though, her campaign slogan is “Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t win.” Ms. talked to Barr about what purpose her campaign serves if not to be elected. 

“We have six years to draw so much attention to this practice that even our Republican leadership can’t be quite so blatant the next go-round.”

(This article originally appears in the Spring 2024 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

Women Use Lived Experience to Fight for Second Chances for Incarcerated Women: ‘I Am Not an Eternal Criminal’

We see more than 600,000 people released from U.S. prisons each year. This April, Second Chance Month, is an opportunity for us to bring to light the difficulties for those seeking a successful return back to society.

Incarcerated women in particular face unique challenges compared to their male counterparts, and their rate of entry has accelerated at twice the pace of men over the past three decades.

‘Invisible, Disappeared, Erased’: The Systematic Oppression of Afghan Women and Girls Since the Taliban Takeover

The U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan in August 2021, leaving the Taliban as the de facto authorities. Since then, the Taliban has issued hundreds of repressive decrees designed to systematically oppress and marginalize Afghan women and girls, from denying them education, to restricting their movement.

Ms. sat down with Dr. Lauryn Oates, executive director of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, a nonprofit organization that supports Afghan women and girls by investing in basic education, literacy and technology for education; providing grants and scholarships and other financial support; and engaging in policy advocacy to restore Afghan women and girls’ fundamental human rights and dignity.

“The Taliban’s treatment of women is a threat to women everywhere. Other groups are taking note that the Taliban is getting away with these restrictions, that it can literally strip women and girls of all rights and there’s no consequences.”

Keeping Score: Women’s Basketball Reaches New Heights; France Protects Abortion, While Florida Tightens Its Ban

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in this biweekly roundup.

This week: Women’s college basketball smashed viewership records; France passed a constitutional amendment protecting abortion; Florida will soon have a six-week abortion ban; Beyoncé makes history on the country album charts; IWMF honors Palestinian journalist Samar Abu Elouf; Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) managed to include $1 billion for childcare in the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills; federal employees will soon have access to insurance plans that cover fertility services; President Biden announced a new plan to cancel student debt; the Supreme Court allowed Idaho to maintain its ban on gender-affirming care for minors; and more.

Final ‘Pregnant Workers Fairness Act’ Regulations Were Released—And It’s Great News for Women

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its final regulations implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The landmark statute mandating “reasonable accommodation” of workers’ pregnancy-related needs went into effect last summer, but the regulations explain the PWFA’s protections in more detail, providing additional guidance to workers, employers, and the courts so that the full force of the law is given effect. 

Virginia Becomes the First State in the South to End Child Marriage

Virginia became the 12th U.S. state and first in the South to end child marriage last week, after Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) signed HB 994 into law. The law completely ends child marriage in the state by establishing a minimum marriage age of 18 without exceptions and removes a legal loophole that previously allowed emancipated minors to marry in Virginia. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2024.

Child marriage has been shown to result in increased risk of future poverty, particularly for teen moms, as well as greater vulnerability to sexual and domestic violence, human trafficking, coercive control, financial abuse, homelessness and mental illness.

Would the O.J. Simpson Trial Be Different Today?

At the time of the original O.J. Simpson trial, many feminists were horrified that a woman who was stalked, beaten and raped by one man, and who asked for help many times, was then brutally murdered—and that in the trial, she should have gotten her justice, but it was instead turned into a carnival in which Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman were mere sideshows.

Many of the dynamics at play in the Simpson trial have not changed as much as one would hope—including deep racism in policing and criminal justice, a resulting deep skepticism that the system is fair, and a related impulse to filter facts and information through the lens of identity first and reality second.

The Florida Supreme Court Didn’t Just Uphold a Six-Week Ban—It Denied Women Their Constitutional Privacy

Adopted by Florida voters in 1980, Article 23 of Florida’s Constitution states: “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life except as otherwise provided herein.” 

By compelling a woman to continue her pregnancy, Florida denies women exactly the kind of privacy it says its Constitution protects. 

A Comedian in the War on Abortion: The Ms. Q&A with Lizz Winstead and Ruth Leitman

Lizz Winstead, comedian and founder of Abortion Access Front, teamed up with director Ruth Leitman to create the hilarious, heart-filled documentary No One Asked You.

“There’s nothing shameful about needing to have an abortion,” Winstead told Ms.

“It’s a medical procedure that people need to help them achieve their life goals, and to help them have the life that they want to have,” said Leitman.