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:

Physicians at the Supreme Court!

Dr. Lin-Fan WangOn Tuesday, March 25, reproductive health advocacy fellow Dr. Lin-Fan Wang stood on the steps of the Supreme Court and joined colleague organizations and supporters in speaking out on the importance of birth control coverage:

We are here because women are at risk of losing access to birth control. Not because it isn’t safe. Not because it doesn’t work. But because somebody’s boss may not like it. That is bad policy and that is bad medicine.

Read the rest of her speech here. And share this graphic on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #NotMyBossBusiness!

On Monday, Dr. Wang published an opinion piece on Talking Points Memo titled, “The Danger Of Giving Science And Religion Equal Weight On Birth Control Cases”:

When reporting on medical issues, weighing a religious belief as equal to scientific and medical evidence is disingenuous and confusing to the reader. And often there is no opportunity to correct misinformation. As a women’s health care provider, this disappoints and frustrates me.

Update: Watch Dr. Wang’s speech below.

Dr. Nancy Stanwood

On, our board chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood coauthored an opinion piece with Dr. Jeanne A. Conry, president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

As physicians dedicated to improving the health of women, we ask: Why is contraception still seen as controversial in the face of overwhelming evidence about its benefits? Why is birth control questioned, in this day and age, despite its widespread acceptance and use? In the current debate, science and facts are being drowned out by highly vocal and misinformed voices; as physicians, we must set the record straight.

Read the entire piece here.

Current Leadership Training Academy fellow Dr. Tania Basu published a piece on RH Reality Check titled, “Five Reasons Contraceptive Coverage Is Essential”:

As an OB-GYN and a patient advocate, I want to move the discussion out of the courts for a moment and into my clinic, to focus on the lives of women and their families. I feel an immense sense of responsibility to the women I care for, and part of that responsibility includes advocating for insurance coverage of birth control.

Another current fellow, Dr. Antoinette Danvers, published a letter to the editor in the New York Times:

Contraception is important for women’s health, freedom and equality. We have to protect women’s right to make their own decisions about contraception. I hope the Supreme Court agrees.

Yet another fellow, Dr. Luu Ireland, spoke to the Orange County Register (California) about the importance of contraception access for her own patients.

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Celebrate Abortion Providers Today!

NDAAPNSToday is National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers, observed every year on the anniversary of the day in 1993 when Dr. David Gunn was murdered by an anti-choice extremist. Every year, we honor the courageous medical practitioners who provide this much-needed service and fight the stigma surrounding this safe, legal medical care.

How can you celebrate? Read our Leadership Training Academy Fellows’ stories about why they provide. Download and share our doctors’ messages on social media and say #Thx2AbProviders. Make a donation to Physicians today in honor of your local abortion provider.  Read More

Health Care Providers Object to Religious Exemptions Sought By For-Profit Companies for Contraceptive Coverage Rule

File brief in Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius arguing that allowing an exemption interferes with a patient’s relationship with her health care provider and would have ramifications beyond contraception 

New York, NY—Today major groups representing a wide spectrum of health care providers are filing a brief in the Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius case currently before the Supreme Court. These four groups, Physicians for Reproductive Health (Physicians), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Nurses Association (ANA), all object to the religious exemption being sought by for-profit companies.

“Contraception is essential to women’s health and to public health. We are united in defending access to this critical component of preventive care,” said Physicians Board Chair Nancy Stanwood, MD, MPH. “Medical evidence and patient choice—not the private beliefs of an employer—should drive the care a woman receivesAn exemption could keep the most effective methods of contraception that have higher upfront costs, out of reach of millions nationwide, especially hourly and low-wage workers Allowing an exemption could also impact care beyond contraception. Rather than the public health steps forward we all know we need, it would be a huge step back for the health of women and families.”

acog_logo“Access to contraception is an essential component of health care for women,” said ACOG President Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD. Women should be able to make their own personal medical decisions in consultation with their physicians, without interference by outside parties. Employers have no legitimate role in deciding whether their employees use contraceptives and should not be permitted to interfere in the patient-physician relationship.”

AAPlogo“From childhood immunizations and developmental screenings to counseling parents about child safety, preventive care is at the core of pediatrics,” said AAP President James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP. “Exempting a private employer from one of the Affordable Care Act‘s preventive coverage requirements can have dire consequences that extend far beyond contraception. A pediatrician‘s recommendations should determine which preventive services children and adolescents receive. Interfering with this doctor-patient relationship would set a dangerous precedent that puts children‘s health at risk.”

ANA_Logo“The law is clear and helps protect the health and well-being of women and their families through access to critical preventive health care services,” said ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Private employers should not be allowed to circumvent the law and deny care based on individual beliefs.”  Read More

Clinic Buffer Zones Keep Patients, Health Care Workers Safe

Our doctors have seen firsthand what can happen without these zones

New York, NY—On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in the case of McCullen v. Coakley. The petitioners in this case are challenging the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that makes it a crime for clinic protesters to remain on a public way within 35 feet of an entrance to a reproductive health care facility.

Physicians for Reproductive Health (Physicians) representatives expressed concern about the legal battle to dismantle Massachusetts reproductive health clinic buffer zones.

Physicians board chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood:

“Although protesters and their supporters claim that this case is a First Amendment issue, it’s not. Buffer zones ensure that women and their health care providers can enter clinics safely, without fear of threats, intimidation, or violence. As physicians who provide comprehensive reproductive health care, my colleagues and I have witnessed firsthand what happens outside clinics when such protection is absent. Here are two of many stories that highlight the necessity of buffer zones.”

Physicians Leadership Training Academy Fellow Dr. Julie Johnston, who practices outside of Boston, Mass.:

“Abortion has been needlessly separated from other basic health care services and, therefore, clinics dedicated to providing reproductive health care are easily targeted by anti-abortion protesters. As a family doctor, I witnessed the scare tactics used by protesters before the current buffer zone law was enacted. Protesters dressed as the Grim Reaper shook scythes at patients. Others tried to physically impede access to clinic entrances. Our state’s buffer zone law ensures that Massachusetts women can receive legal and safe medical care in these clinics without having to make their way through hostile crowds.”

Former Leadership Training Academy Fellow Dr. Jen Russo, who worked in Pittsburgh, Penn., and has coauthored a study on clinic harassment and protesters:

“When I worked at a clinic in a city without a buffer zone, I walked a gauntlet of protesters who tried to verbally abuse and intimidate me and my patients. Not far from the clinic where I worked, a volunteer was asked by a protester, ‘How do you prefer to die? By knife or by bullet?’ I treated countless women who felt threatened and traumatized by the protesters’ loud and disruptive presence.”

“As state governments become increasingly hostile to abortion care through onerous restrictions that have no medical purpose, women who need abortions are singled out for punishment. Why wouldn’t protesters who harass and intimidate patients and clinic employees follow suit? It is especially at this time when anti-choice voices are so loud that we need to ensure protection from harassment, not roll back protections for women seeking abortions.”

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