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This week’s front page editor

Adam Bychawski

Adam Bychawski is an editor assistant at openDemocracy

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Re-imagining the American Dream: a decade of sisterhood with Positive Women’s Network

Women living with HIV are mobilising to demand visibility and rights in the US. Our collective voice, vision and leadership offer hope.

Women’s bodies have become a battleground in the fight for Iran’s future

A regressive law to boost the population has restricted the reproductive choices and rights of all Iranian women. Though some suffer more than others.

Argentina abortion vote divides the nation, from senators to doctors

The senate votes this week on a potentially groundbreaking bill to legalise voluntary abortion. Opponents include some doctors and health facilities.

This ultra-conservative institute has infiltrated the Polish state, on a relentless quest to ban abortion

Ordo luris is an extreme anti-choice group whose founders were ‘inspired’ by a controversial Catholic fundamentalist network. How has it gained so much political power?

Breastfeeding is best for HIV-positive mothers too – but corporate interests and weak health systems hinder progress

As a paediatrician and health researcher in South Africa, I am acutely aware of the ongoing support that women need to breastfeed.

How ‘conscientious objectors’ threaten women’s newly-won abortion rights in Latin America

From Uruguay to Chile, medical staff are refusing to provide abortion services even after their legalisation. Español

Why the world needs a Vagina Museum to combat shame and stigma about women’s sexuality

Talking about vaginas and vulvas remains taboo – and this can have serious consequences for our health. Español.

How El Salvador’s evangelicals have joined the backlash against women’s reproductive rights

The changing religious landscape in this historically Catholic country has not been good news for women, who live under one of the world’s harshest anti-abortion laws. Español

Italy’s new government is bad news for women and minorities

There will be hard times ahead in Italy, unless you are a heterosexual, cisgendered, white man. The new families minister opposes abortion, immigration and LGBTI rights.

How did Northern Ireland lawmakers carve out an anti-abortion ‘ghetto’ within the UK?

Northern Ireland remains a blind spot for equality for women and members of the LGBTIQ community. Will Ireland’s abortion referendum change this?

The crisis in trans healthcare in the UK killed my daughter Synestra

A new book, Transition Denied, exposes 'system failures' to protect vulnerable trans teenagers in Britain. This excerpt is from its prelude, by Synestra de Courcy’s mother.

'A historic victory for women's rights': how the world responded to Ireland's abortion referendum

Media from the UK to Argentina react to the results of Friday’s vote, laying the path to legislation for safe abortion services for Irish women.

MPs criticise Facebook’s “not fit for purpose” foreign ad ban as Ireland votes on abortion

British and Irish parliamentarians call for major changes to unregulated social media campaigning following openDemocracy revelations – but too late for Friday’s historic vote.

Six ways Ireland’s abortion referendum could be hacked this week

Anti-abortion money, Facebook ads and boots-on-the-ground volunteers have piled in from across the world to try and swing Friday’s historic vote. Will they succeed?

‘Nice Irish girls don’t have sex’ is the old idea at the heart of historic abortion rights battle

Even if abortion is legalised in Ireland, this mindset must be challenged if women are to fully access their reproductive rights.

Who benefits from sensationalised media coverage of abortion? Hint: not women, whose lives are at stake

Media outlets too often cover abortion-related news in inaccurate and derogatory ways. Activists and progressive journalists must work together to change this.

Revealed: the US ‘Christian fundamentalists’ behind new Netflix film on millennial sex lives

A new film about youth ‘hookup culture’ follows students at ‘Spring Break’ beach parties in Florida. Does it have a hidden agenda?

Listen to a recorded audio version of this article courtesy of curio.io.

Foreign and 'alt-right' activists target Irish voters on Facebook ahead of abortion referendum

New data shows how social media has become a battleground in a transatlantic backlash against abortion rights for Irish women.

Teen Mom Tanzania: denied sex education, then criminalised for pregnancy

Pregnant teenagers face expulsion from school, arrests, even death. The backlash against sex education in Africa is punishing our girls, and must end now.

'The Tories cut, we bleed': the story of Women’s Lives Matter in Doncaster

Joyce Sheppard talks about the campaign to save South Yorkshire’s Women’s Aid – one of many domestic violence services impacted by government cuts.

‘We won’t give up’: 25 years of feminist resistance to the war on women’s bodies in Poland

In 1993, the Polish government took away our right to abortion – starting a war on women’s bodies which continues to this day.

A tribute to the fearless Laura Lee: freedom fighter for sex workers’ rights, and my friend

Laura Lee died on 7 February 2018. She was a leading activist who campaigned fearlessly for the decriminalisation of sex work in the UK.

Can Sierra Leone’s female secret societies be allies in the fight against female genital mutilation?

FGM is a deeply-rooted and widespread practice in the country. Can its locally-powerful practitioners help curtail it?

Mexico City is an island in a sea of anti-abortion states – and the right to choose is threatened here too

Anti-choice activists are increasingly active in Mexico’s capital city, strategically targeting and “inciting fear” in women accessing services that were decriminalised a decade ago. Español, RU

How Italian women are organising against ‘obstetric violence’

This gender-based violence, perpetrated by health workers, is widespread In Italy. A recent survey said it impacts one in five mothers.

The invisible #MeToo: how anonymous testimony can help survivors of sexual abuse

A college campus project showed me how anonymity can give survivors critical freedom to tell their truth, free from judgement or interruption.

“Mum, I am into kink”: why it’s so hard to talk to parents about sex

Talking about cunnilingus with parents may sound like a type of medieval torture. But we pay for silence in lost pleasure – and health risks.

Tracking the backlash: why we're investigating the 'anti-rights' opposition

Growing and globalising networks of conservative and fundamentalist groups are pushing back against our sexual and reproductive rights. Help us investigate.

Look that monster dead in the face: tackling domestic violence in lesbian relationships

Art can create safe spaces for queer women to address often-ignored domestic violence. This is important to end the silence, and to heal.

Period poverty flows worldwide, and it’s a bloody injustice

From costly sanitary products to feelings of stigma and shame – why do we put up with this?

“It’s so taboo but we want it so damn bad”: introducing 50.50 columnists Tiffany Mugo and Claudia Torrisi

These 50.50 authors will delight and challenge us with monthly comment and analysis about sexuality in Africa, and reportage on intersecting forms of oppression in Italy.

Reproductive rights on the move: refugee women in Greece struggle to access contraception

Half of female asylum-seekers in Europe are aged 18-34. With little control over their environments, how can they retain control over their bodies?

Too many Afghan women in London face racism, sexism – and unwanted pregnancies

Recent research on Afghan immigrant women in London has revealed a multi-layered crisis. What can be done to address this, and to empower them?

Abortire in Italia: come l'obiezione di coscienza è diventata una minaccia per i diritti e la salute delle donne

Quasi 40 anni dopo la legalizzazione dell'aborto – tra proteste e movimenti di liberazione culturale – le donne faticano ancora ad accedere ai servizi essenziali. Read this article in English.

Abortion in Italy: how widespread 'conscientious objection' threatens women’s health and rights

Almost 40 years after abortion was legalised – amid mass protests and a broader cultural liberation movement – women still struggle to access crucial services. Leggi questo articolo in italiano.

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