Meet the Anti-Feminist Women’s Group Leveraging Their ‘Independence’ to Convince Americans to Vote Republican

The anti-feminist Independent Women’s Voice/Forum (IWF/V), backed by billionaires and anti-abortion zealots, is poised to use its leaders’ identities as women to convince voters that the GOP will protect Americans’ rights and freedoms, like access to birth control and the ability to choose if and when to have children. IWF/V’s past positions, the known agendas of their funders and their membership to Project 2025 belie their true intentions. 

So Goes Reproductive Freedom, So Goes Democracy

When people consider what it means to be a democracy on the decline, plot points of the recent film Civil War come to mind: a U.S. president who disregards the Constitution to nab a third term. Crackdowns on dissent and the media. Leaders using the military to break up public demonstrations.

While that is, of course, representative of growing authoritarianism, recent history suggests that rollbacks on bodily autonomy and reproductive freedoms are also flashing red lights for would-be regimes. 

Keeping Score: Right-Wing Activists Spread Disinformation on Birth Control; Larry Nassar’s Survivors Reach $138.7 Million Settlement; Breast Cancer Screenings Should Start at Age 40

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: the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on emergency abortion care and criminalizing homelessness; new EEOC and Title IX regulations protect sexual violence survivors, pregnant people and the LGBTQ community; Arizona repealed their 1864 abortion ban, while Florida now has a six-week ban; birth control misinformation goes viral on TikTok; the United Methodist Church repealed their ban on LGBTQ clergy; the chilling effects of the global gag rule; three in five Americans support a national law protecting access to medication abortion; and more.

If Sex Ed Isn’t Critical, Can We Really Call It Comprehensive?

“Comprehensive sex education” has become a lightning rod for controversy, igniting moral panic around young people learning about gender theory, sexuality, safe sex, abortion care and more. But my experience designing sex education programs has taught me that “comprehensive” sex education isn’t comprehensive enough. What’s missing is a critical approach to sexual education that examines the political, cultural and economic factors shaping sexual decisions and health. 

Menopause in Three Parts: Where Rivers Flow, Split and Unravel

When Rivers Flow: “Menstrual blood came with its own set of messages, whispers from my womb space that only I could decode. It was like embarking on a treasure hunt within myself, armed with nothing but a compass made of intuition and a hefty dose of trial and error. Creating my own map of this internal landscape wasn’t easy. I had to channel my inner cartographer and chart new territories with each cycle.”

When Rivers Split: “There was something special about a bunch of Black women who had already been where I was calling me with joy in their voices. … forming a kinship with our wombs is about learning to love ourselves, to treat ourselves with the same grace, kindness and high regard that the world demands of us as Black people with wombs.”

When Rivers Unravel: “Menopause would be that queer initiation, that modern-day rite of passage I had so longed for. And it would come at a price. My transition initiated a second puberty that changed everything about my body. This rite of passage pried off the mask of societal expectations I had inherited from my foremothers. Menopause set the mask on fire.”

Ms Global: Thailand on Track to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage, Denmark Mandates Military Service for Women and More

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 Hong Kong, Mexico, Denmark and more.

New Title IX Rules Offer ‘Comprehensive Coverage’ for LGBTQ+ Students and Sexual Violence Survivors

Advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and sexual violence survivors are largely applauding the Department of Education’s newly released federal regulations to protect the rights of these groups in schools, though they also expressed reservations about the lack of clear protections for transgender athletes. Unveiled on Friday, the final rule under Title IX includes provisions that strengthen the rights of sexual violence survivors during investigations and of LGBTQ+ individuals to experience school in a way that aligns with their gender identity. Title IX is a historic civil rights law preventing federally funded academic institutions from practicing sex discrimination. 

“We are glad that the Biden administration finally fulfilled its promise to student survivors to return Title IX to its original intent of protecting their civil rights in the aftermath of sexual violence.”

Black Trans Femmes Find Freedom Through Art

Black trans femmes are from the future. We exist in bodies that the world has not yet evolved to accommodate. We speak a language that has yet to be written. We claim freedoms that are not yet accessible. But when we create art, we pull pieces of that future into the present—disrupting, reshaping and unraveling the confines of the modern world.

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.