272553 Health Justice for Women: Defending reproductive rights and challenging corporate profiteering, racism and disease mongering

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Cynthia A. Pearson , National Women's Health Network, Washington, DC
Byllye Avery , Black Women's Health Imperative, Provincetown, MA
Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH , Center for Policy Analysis, San Francisco, CA
Judy Norsigian, BA , Our Bodies Ourselves, Cambridge, MA
Karuna Jaggar , Executive Director, Breast Cancer Action, San Francisco, CA
Hundreds of pieces of legislation proposing restrictions on abortion, strident opposition to insurance coverage of contraception, and repeated attempts from both private and public funders to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. These fierce attacks on women's reproductive health services have been met with a full-throated defense of reproductive rights. Responses have included spontaneous demonstrations in state capitols, well-organized and diverse reproductive freedom lobby days, hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions, and millions of individual contributions to Planned Parenthood. This powerful response has led to important short-term victories.

Yet it takes more than a robust defense of abortion and contraception to achieve health justice for women. The women's health movement must build on the short-term reproductive rights victories, using them as a foundation for achieving longer-term reproductive justice goals, such as reversal of policies that deny low-income women access to abortion by restricting public and private insurance coverage for that care. Moreover, women's health is also threatened by racism, corporate power and disease mongering, among other problems. The women's health movement is directly confronting these issues, primarily through grassroots organizing that enables individuals to see the connection between their personal health issues and larger societal forces. Campaigns challenging the medicalization of normal experiences expose disease mongering and empower individuals. Wellness support groups sponsored by women of color-led organizations enable women to make the connection between individual health conditions and institutional racism. Grassroots projects to create health materials result in information responsive to issues identified by communities.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
On this panel, leaders in the women’s health movement will describe and discuss the challenges they face as they organize to confront corporate power, racism and disease mongering as well as threats to reproductive rights.

Keywords: Women's Quality Care, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a recognized expert in women's health issues working full time in advocacy around these issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.