Board Chair Nancy L. Stanwood, MD, MPH

Dr. Nancy StanwoodDr. Nancy Stanwood is on faculty at the Yale School of Medicine as Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Section Chief of Family Planning. She is also the Associate Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Dr. Stanwood joined the board of Physicians for Reproductive Health in June 2008 and became secretary of the executive committee in 2009. She became chair in June 2013.

Dr. Stanwood in the news:

Statement from Board Chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood on Oklahoma Bill to Criminalize Abortion Providers

On May 19, the Oklahoma state senate passed legislation that would criminalize doctors who perform abortions, amounting to a complete ban on abortion services in the state. Physicians for Reproductive Health Board Chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood issued the following statement:

“This dangerous and unconstitutional legislation in Oklahoma is yet another egregious example of politicians attempting to illegally ban abortion by intimidating doctors from providing services. It would limit our ability to meet the needs of women and threaten us with penalties for providing safe, compassionate, and necessary care. I hope reason prevails and Governor Fallin vetoes this harmful bill.

“As a doctor, I am especially concerned that the Oklahoma legislature is suggesting that abortion is somehow separate from the practice of medicine. Nothing could be further from the truth. Abortion is an essential part of the full spectrum of women’s health care, and with this legislation politicians are creating a grave and irresponsible barrier against women in need of reproductive care. That’s why major medical organizations oppose this type of blatant interference into the doctor-patient relationship.

“The doctors in our organization know that women deserve better. We know that access to reproductive care is essential for women to make the best health choices for themselves and their families. So even as we face a growing number of restrictions and attacks, we are proud to continue to provide abortion care to women across the country. Our decisions to provide are not based on politics, but on the real people we work with every day. And the stories of why we provide are a testament to the importance of providing abortion access to everyone, regardless of where they live — and to protecting women’s ability to make private decisions in consultation with their doctors. Our patients deserve to have access to care with dignity and respect.” 

Doctors Share Their Stories, Call on Supreme Court to Stop Sham Laws

Physicians is proud to file an amicus brief before the United States Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole. In March, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over portions of Texas law HB2—a measure designed to shut down clinics that provide safe, legal abortion under the false pretense of improving women’s health. The amicus brief, authored by lawyers from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, shares personal stories from several doctors, illustrating their manifold reasons for providing abortion care.

“It’s crucial that we doctors share our stories and in doing so advocate for our patients,” Physicians board chair Nancy Stanwood, MD, MPH, said. “As physicians who provide abortions, we are humbled and honored to be there for our patients—whether it’s when they come to our offices or when they need us to speak up for their reproductive rights. This brief, which features doctors from many different backgrounds and from all over the country, is a testament to why we provide this essential care.”

Read excerpts from the brief here, or download the entire brief here.

For more than 40 years, the Supreme Court has said the constitution protects a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her health and family. Physicians calls on the Court to reject political schemes and sham laws that prevent women from acting on these personal decisions. 

Doctors’ Stories at the Heart of Amicus Brief

“It’s crucial that we doctors share our stories and in doing so advocate for our patients.”

New York, NY—Physicians for Reproductive Health has filed an amicus brief before the United States Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole.  In March, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over portions of Texas law HB2—a measure designed to shut down clinics that provide safe, legal abortion under the false pretense of improving women’s health. The amicus brief, authored by lawyers from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, shares personal stories from several doctors, illustrating their manifold reasons for providing abortion care.

“It’s crucial that we doctors share our stories and in doing so advocate for our patients,” Physicians board chair Nancy Stanwood, MD, MPH, said. “As physicians who provide abortions, we are humbled and honored to be there for our patients—whether it’s when they come to our offices or when they need us to speak up for their reproductive rights. This brief, which features doctors from many different backgrounds and from all over the country, is a testament to why we provide this essential care.”

Excerpts from the brief:

“I decided to become an ob/gyn because I believe that educating and providing reproductive health care can effect one of the most profound, positive changes in the life of a woman as well as in the lives of those around her. In the course of a morning, I can counsel a woman on terminating an unwanted pregnancy, provide prenatal care to another, and speak to a third about fertility treatments. The ability to give a woman the option to take control of her health and fertility, thereby empowering her to take control of her life, is not an obligation of my profession but a privilege that I am fortunate to fulfill.”Rachna Vanjani, MD, Contra Costa, CA

“My goal as an abortion provider is to create a non-judgmental space for women to make their decision and to provide the best quality medical care. The longer I have worked in this area, taking care of patients in so many different situations with different responsibilities, medical histories, or family structures, the more I recognize that it isn’t my role to have a say in their decision. I feel really good providing this care because I know I’m helping these women when they need it. That’s my calling as a doctor.” — Sarah Wallett, MD, MPH, Kentucky

“I had the opportunity to work abroad in Zimbabwe, where abortion is illegal. I saw many women who were suffering from botched, unsafe abortions— women who never recovered. The experience made me realize how important safe, legal abortion is in the United States, but also how tenuous that right can seem these days. As a doctor and an advocate, I’m determined to make sure that abortion remains accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live or how much money they make.” — Andrea Jackson, MD, MAS, San Francisco, CA

“My belief in God tells me that the most important thing you can do for another human being is to help them in their time of need. That’s why I have provided abortions full-time since 2009. I do not miss my easier path. I know that providing abortion care is just and noble and right.” Willie Parker, MD, MPH, MSc, Birmingham, AL

The amicus brief can be read and downloaded here: bit.ly/PRHamicusbrief

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

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Physicians’ Statement on Planned Parenthood Colorado Springs Attack

On behalf of Physicians, our board chair Nancy L. Stanwood, MD, MPH, has issued the following statement:

Yesterday our medical community, and our country, were rocked by a heinous act of terrorism against a clinic that provides reproductive health services. As physicians, we stand in solidarity today and every day with our colleagues across the nation.

This campaign of terror — waged over decades against those of us who provide this critical care — is reprehensible and must end. The poisonous environment that incubates this terrorism, and the passivity of elected officials who tolerate it, must end as well.

This morning, our hearts are heavy but our resolve is strong. And this morning, just as we did yesterday morning, doctors, nurses, and clinic staff went to work at reproductive health clinics across our country.

We are there because our conscience compels us to be there. We are there because we see our patients’ need and we must respond. We are there because no act of violence is stronger than an act of compassion. And that is what we do for our patients: we serve them not only with excellent medical care, but with the compassion they deserve.