Of Counsel, Winter 2008
Message from our President Nancy Northup
I write to you in a new year, with renewed vigor and focus. 2008 sees the launch and implementation of our new–and very bold–strategic plan for the Center’s work. In addition to the cutting-edge and absolutely necessary litigation work that we do so well in the United States and across the globe, we are fully incorporating a human rights strategy into all aspects of our work. More than a legal strategy, human rights offer a powerful moral language that asserts women’s equality and dignity. In recent years, regional and UN human rights bodies, as well as national courts around the world, have increasingly recognized access to reproductive health care, including abortion, as a basic human right. The Center has been instrumental in many of these victories, and now we want to bring that success home to the U.S.”Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right.” These words could so easily be from our new strategic plan. In fact they are the words of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It is vital that all policymakers and their staffs be educated regarding that statement, our most basic claim. The Center has already developed a federal policy agenda that sets forth concrete and attainable goals for legislators: Increasing federal funding for family planning. Expanding access to emergency contraception. Ensuring health care for all pregnant women. Protecting a woman’s right to abortion through a federal Freedom of Choice Act. Repealing restrictions in foreign assistance that undermine reproductive health care, such as the global gag rule. These are the actions lawmakers should take to support women’s reproductive health and autonomy. The Center has widely distributed that agenda, and will continue to promote it vigorously with officeholders, political candidates, the media, think tanks and advocacy groups. On January 24th, Center attorneys went to Capitol Hill to brief congressional staff on our work. With so much at stake this year, that briefing was particularly important.As the cover story details, our new Director of the Domestic Legal Program joins us with many years experience in the human rights community. We are thrilled to add Cynthia Soohoo’s experience as a lawyer, an educator and an advocate to the expertise of our team.We are full of hope and energy as we begin 2008, and hope that you share our enthusiasm. We do great work, and we can only do it with you working alongside us. Thank you so much for your support. You make it possible for us to be creative, bold and innovative. You make it possible for us to be so effective.