Maternal Death

The Center's Federal Advocacy Program works with Congress and the executive branch to protect and promote reproductive rights and health. We advocate for domestic and foreign policy that advances reproductive health and freedom and allows women and families to prosper.

Our advocacy efforts support the following important goals:

  1. Promote unbiased information about reproductive and sexual health;
  2. Improve access to contraception;
  3. Secure women's right to choose and obtain abortion;
  4. Improve healthcare for pregnant women;
  5. Support reproductive rights in foreign assistance programs;
  6. Promote recognition of and protection for reproductive rights as human rights at the United Nations.
  7. To assist policymakers, we supply critical facts and legal analyses that support these objectives. A description of our recent efforts can be found below.

With 2010 underway and landmark healthcare legislation finally signed into law, our office is committed to ensuring that the Center's voice is heard during the rulemaking and implementation processes that will give effect to the healthcare bill.

The Center's Federal Advocacy Program remains committed to stopping harmful federal regulations and policies, such as the Federal Abortion Ban. In November 2009, the Center launched a campaign to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal dollars from being used to pay for abortion services.

The Center also urged President Obama to repeal the Department of Health and Human Services "conscientious refusal" regulation, which allows anyone involved in providing healthcare services to refuse to provide reproductive services and information because of religious and moral beliefs.

Another key goal is to secure Senate ratification of the International Treaty for the Rights of Women. This important treaty, often described as an international bill of rights for women, defines what constitutes discrimination against women and provides a framework for national action to eliminate discrimination. In failing to ratify the treaty, the U.S. has positioned itself alongside Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Vatican City, and aand a few small Pacific island nations.

Since November 2009, the Center has called on President Obama to undo many harmful polices of the Bush Administration on reproductive health, and to put the United States on track to resume its position as a world leader in championing equality and human rights, and in supporting access to essential reproductive healthcare. The Center asked the President to promote reproductive health policies guided by science and not ideology by striking funding for abstinence-only programs from his proposed budget, and by appointing agency heads, including the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Food and Drug Administration, who will not allow politics to trump science.

In March, the Center launched a video and issued a call to action to urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take steps to remove unnecessary age and point-of-sale restrictions currently limited access to emergency contraception. Last year, in response to litigation brought by the Center, a federal judge found that the restrictions resulted from political, ideological influence from the Bush Administration, rather than the scientific recommendations of its own experts. We are urging swift action from the FDA to open up use of emergency contraception to all those who may need it.

We also stress the critical importance of appointing judges to the federal courts (including the Supreme Court) that are committed to supporting established constitutional rights, including women's right to choose abortion.

On the international front, we ask that the President support reproductive rights and health at the United Nations and within foreign assistance programs by repealing the Global Gag Rule, restoring funding to the United Nations Population Fund, and nominating representatives to the United Nations who are committed to living up to the U.S.'s prior commitments to promote and protect reproductive rights.

En Vedette

Our Top Five

In the face of ongoing, aggressive attacks on reproductive freedom in 2014, we continued to give our all to protect women’s fundamental rights—with big results…

We Can Be Moved

Join us for "Vote for Our Lives: What's at Stake for Black Women's Health", a Twitter chat with Ebony Magazine and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, on Monday 10/27 at 2 pm ET. Follow #EbonyChat.

Preventing Maternal Death

Maureen, a maternal health advocate in Uganda, remembers losing her cousin—a young woman in her first year of university. During a secret abortion performed in haste, her intestines were accidentally pierced…

Spotlighting Racial Bias

In LaKeisha’s hometown of Atlanta, African American women die in childbirth at a rate more than three times the national average. Following an emergency c-section, LaKeisha experienced a brush with this unsettling statistic when she developed a…

Shaming El Salvador on the Global Stage

Manuela’s story is the stuff of nightmares. The young mother from El Salvador had not been feeling well for several years. She sought medical attention for what seemed to be tumors on her neck, but received no treatment or diagnosis—just some pain killers…

In Pursuit of Justice

Twenty-eight-year-old Alyne de Silva Pimentel, a poor Afro-Brazilian woman with a young daughter, was six months pregnant with her second child when she began to experience severe nausea and abdominal pain.  When her symptoms intensified, she sought help at a private health center…

Maternal Mortality: Implementation and Accountability

As the world moves forward with negotiating a post 2015 development agenda, this event will give states, UN agencies, and non-governmental…

El Salvador’s Disgrace

The Center’s president and CEO, Nancy Northup, reflects on the agonizing plight of an El Salvadoran woman known publicly as Beatriz, who for many weeks has faced the risk of death and suffered cruel and inhuman treatment because of the country’s complete ban on abortion…

CEDAW Committee addresses a wide range of reproductive rights violations in its review of Pakistan

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) recently issued concluding observations from its February review of Pakistan's compliance with CEDAW and called out the government for lack of access to health care and policies that routinely ignore…

Concluding Observations on Tanzania Recommend a Number of Reforms

In August, the Center for Reproductive Rights submitted a shadow letter to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the Committee) regarding sexual and reproductive rights in Tanzania…

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