Annual Report: Defending Reproductive Rights


Primary Content

Since its inception, the Center for Reproductive Rights has catalyzed the power of law and the moral force of human rights standards to attain reproductive self-determination for women around the world. Our pioneering litigation, tireless legal advocacy, and savvy human rights strategies both safeguard the gains we have already made and revolutionize how courts and lawmakers understand reproductive health and rights.

In our 2009 Annual Report, the Center looks back at the gains it's made for the reproductive rights movement, both in the U.S. and around the world, and how to build on these victories, confront challenges, and strategize for the future.

Key Accomplishments

The Center's talented legal staff pushed the United Nations Human Rights Council to recognize maternal mortality as a grave human rights concern and partnered with local legal groups and advocates in India to hold the government accountable for maternal health. The Law School Initiative brought scholars and advocates together to invigorate teaching and thinking on reproductive rights as human rights.

In the aftermath of Dr. Tiller's devastating murder, the Center published a human rights fact-finding report that documented the state of siege under which abortion providers live and work. And, from Peru, to Chile, to Moldova, to Kenya, to Manila, to Arkansas, to New York the Center has demanded accountability for human rights violations and strengthened a body of law to protect women's access to quality reproductive healthcare.

In the face of the hardships facing low-income women, the Center focused on dismantling the financial barriers surrounding reproductive healthcare. It played a pivotal role in the healthcare reform debate, creating a strategic ad campaign and strongly advocating for federal money to cover abortion services. Disappointingly, Congress ignored the voices of the Center and the millions of Americans demanding real change. But victories abroad, such as our ground-breaking victory in Nepal which resulted in government funding for abortion, gives us hope and inspiration that change is possible on this issue in the U.S. as well.

The stakes are high: as the stories in the annual report make clear, women's very dignity and lives depend on their ability to obtain the full range of reproductive healthcare services, while opponents of reproductive self-determination are unrelenting.

Yet we are unafraid to take on seemingly intractable challenges—or break new ground. All our work converges on one point: building a robust body of law that will guarantee safe and accessible reproductive healthcare and, with it, every woman's equality and human rights.