The Terrifying Global Reach of the American Anti-Abortion Movement

When performed properly, abortion is considered extremely safe. But nearly half—45 percent—of the 73 million abortions performed worldwide each year are unsafe.

One big reason: American anti-abortion policies.

For decades, the U.S. has used the power of the purse to force poorer nations to abide by the anti-abortion values of American conservatives or forgo aid for family planning and other healthcare—giving women around the globe no alternative but to seek backstreet abortions that send some to emergency rooms and others to their graves.

War on Women Report: Unprovoked Attacks Against Women in New York City; Texas Medical Board Refuses to Clarify State Abortion Ban

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 is the War on Women Report.

Since our last report: The Protect Victims of Digital Exploitation and Manipulation Act aims to ban the production and distribution of non-consensual, deepfake pornography; an award created to honor the life and accomplishments of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being awarded to four right-wing men (and Martha Stewart); the Texas Medical Board refused to further specify the rules around the state’s highly restrictive ban on abortion; police made their first arrest in connection to an onslaught of unprovoked attacks against women in New York City; and more.

Lessons from Bosnia to Gaza and the Urgency for Change

As someone who lived in a war zone for over five years, north of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital, Sarajevo, I have borne witness to the horrors inflicted upon innocent souls women and children, my own community torn apart by violence and despair. Yet, in the face of such darkness, I have also seen the flicker of resilience, the unwavering spirit that refuses to be extinguished.

The failure of the international community to support a timely intervention in Bosnia has been well documented, but as I witness new conflicts across the globe in the three decades since, I see that we did not learn anything about protecting humanity. We cannot ignore the cries of innocent lives, including all the hostages caught in the crossfire of this conflict. Now is the time for decisive action; advocating to end relentless fighting and supporting urgent adequate delivery of humanitarian aid and medical assistance.

The Future of Gender Justice, Now: An Intergenerational Framework for the ERA

The Dobbs decision marked the first time in U.S. history millions of Americans lost a fundamental right. We understand the overturning of Roe v. Wade as just the beginning. Nearly half the states in the country have severely restricted or banned abortions. Escalating legislative attacks on bodily autonomy, against the LGBTQ+ community in particular, put young people in harm’s way and put schools and libraries on the frontlines. 

As young advocates in the movement for gender justice, we believe these mounting attacks demand that we imagine new paradigms for envisioning justice and intergenerational equity. The successes of other movements may provide inspiration for revolutionizing our own.

(This essay is part of “The ERA Is Essential to Democracy” Women & Democracy collection.)

‘Gaza Is at Breaking Point’: Health Workers and Patients Describe an Unfolding Catastrophe in Rafah

Since the escalation of hostilities in October 2023, around 1.7 million people have been displaced in Gaza, with an estimated 1.5 million crowded into Rafah. As food, fuel, clean water and medical supplies run desperately low, disease, illness, severe hunger and acute malnutrition are rife, particularly among the more than 155,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women and their newborns.

U.N. Rights Experts Make False Promises About Prostitution

A guidance paper produced by a U.N. human rights group on eliminating discrimination against “sex workers” actually advocates for policies that will endanger women and girls.

Prostitution is not labor (as the term “sex work” entices us to believe), but a harmful cultural practice. Its inception parallels that of other forms of gender-based violence, such as female genital mutilation or domestic violence. It is a system that relegates women to second-class status and offers men the opportunity to purchase domination. From Bangladesh to the Netherlands, from South Africa to Colombia, and every country in between, the sex trade generates significant profits for both those who exploit women and the state.

The Ms. Q&A With Mary Robinson, Ireland’s First-Ever Woman President

When Mary Robinson made history as Ireland’s first woman president, she declared, “I was elected by the women of Ireland, who, instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system.” This quote encapsulates a woman who was set on disrupting the system to pursue fair representation.

Ahead of International Women’s Day, RepresentWomen had the esteemed privilege of interviewing Mary Robinson for Ms. In this interview, we explore the depths of her humanitarian work, her political journey, and the heartwarming tradition she initiated with her grandchildren, who hold a special place in her heart. 

The Case for Safe Abortions for Refugee Women

On the eve of International Women’s Day, President Biden will deliver his State of the Union address. Kate Cox, a Texas woman denied access to abortion to terminate an unviable pregnancy that threatened her health, will attend as First Lady Jill Biden’s guest. Cox was able to travel to another state to access a safe abortion. While she should never have been put in that position in the first place, thankfully, she was able to get care.

Globally, options for women who are refugees are often significantly more limited. That’s why Congress must provide increased funding for international family planning programs, without any new restrictions.

Experts Concerned for Plight of Women and Children Civilians in Gaza

In a 15-2 ruling, the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—which is the U.N.’s high court—ordered Israel to do more to help civilians and to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. The ICJ also ordered the immediate release of hostages taken by Hamas militants during the invasion of Israeli territory on Oct. 7.

U.N. Women recently released a report documenting the gendered impact of the crisis in Gaza. During the 100-plus days since the Oct. 7 attack, “women and girls make up the majority of those killed, wounded and displaced,” said U.N. Women executive director Sima Bahous. “Some 1 million women and girls are displaced in Gaza, two mothers killed every hour, while around 10,000 children have lost their fathers. … These are people, not numbers, and we are failing them. That failure, and the generational trauma inflicted on the Palestinian people over these 100 days and counting, will haunt us all for generations to come.”

U.N. Commitment to Ending Gender Apartheid Should Not Overlook Taliban Violations

Since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, Afghan people—especially women and girls—have lived under harsh edicts and orders. Yet a U.N. assessment released last month does not mention the Taliban by name once. Although it describes the issue of women’s rights critically, it does not make any recommendations concerning women’s rights—except to say the current system violates the U.N. Convention to Eliminate Sex Discrimination. Incredibly vague phrasing sums up the overall message of the report. 

The United Nations’ commitment to ending gender apartheid must not waver.