Legal Protections

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

Historic Hearing on the Hill

At the end of June, the Center for Reproductive Rights led an energized group of women’s health advocates to Capitol Hill to lobby for a piece of legislation called the Women’s Health Protection Act…

Women’s Rights Leaders Talk to Cosmo

Three prominent voices of the women’s reproductive rights movement knock it out of the park in a compelling interview over at Cosmopolitan.com this week…

NYT Editorial Endorses Women's Health Protection Act

On the eve of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s historic hearing on the Women’s Health Protection Act, The New York Times has published an opinion

Fixes Proposed for Buffer Zone Ruling

The Boston Globe reports this week on some of the first proposed legislative responses out of Massachusetts after last…

11 Things You Need to Know: State of the States 2014 Mid-Year Review

One thing that 2014 has proved so far: this fight isn’t over by a long shot. …

MKB Management Corp et al. v. Burdick et al.

This case challenged North Dakota Senate Bill 2305, which requires any physician providing abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility.

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The Center

Filipino Women React to New Rights

This week The Star Online, a Malaysian-based newspaper, explores the personal impact of the Philippine Supreme Court’s landmark decision to uphold a law expanding access to birth control and reproductive health education. …

Women Must Have Control Over Their Own Bodies

Earlier this year France was the latest to join a handful of progressive countries to expand access to reproductive health services — with its National Assembly amending the country’s laws to affirm a woman’s right to an abortion through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and criminalize…

The State of the States 2013

Over the past year, we have had to double the size of our team of attorneys and experts who track state legislation and policy. And the reason why couldn’t be more apparent: the assault on reproductive rights continues at an unprecedented level. …

An Open Letter to Michigan Legislators

 

Dear Speaker Bolger and Senator Richardville,…

Our Work in Focus

In the United States, state legislatures wield enormous power to control women's access to abortion and other reproductive healthcare services…

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