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:

Dr. Stanwood to Politicians: Get Out of Our Exam Rooms

Our board chair, Dr. Nancy L. Stanwood, spoke on a panel at a Yale Law School event titled "Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment." Dr. Stanwood addressed the profound harm caused by legislation that interferes with the doctor-patient relationship, particularly as it pertains to reproductive health care:

"The practice of medicine by legislators who have no medical background and have an ideological agenda is incredibly damaging to the profession of medicine, and I'm hoping that more physicians will see this, and that it's not just those of us who … provide abortion services for patients but that other doctors will also see this."

Watch the 11-minute video of her talk here or on YouTube.

Texas: Our Board Chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood’s Statement

Dr. Nancy StanwoodStatement from Board Chair Nancy Stanwood, MD, MPH:

"The assault on access to safe and legal abortion for the women of Texas continues. Overnight, nearly 1 million women have been left without access to abortion as clinics providing compassionate, quality abortion care are forced to close due to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to allow medically unnecessary abortion restrictions to go into effect. This ruling will have a devastating effect on those women’s lives and on the health and well-being of Texas women and families.

"As a doctor-led advocacy organization that uses medical evidence to advocate for reproductive health access for all, we stand against legislation that undermines the ability of health care professionals to provide women with safe care. Abortion has an enviable safety record, with a 99 percent safety rate and a less than one percent complication rate. We are deeply concerned for the women of Texas who are left today with no access to services, and for the health care providers who are no longer able to care for the women in their communities."

Proactive Senate Bill Fails; Doctors Group Responds

Women deserve insurance coverage that meets their reproductive health needs

New York, NY—Today, the Senate voted on the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, S. 2578 (a.k.a. the Not My Boss’ Business Act), which attempted to rectify the decision handed down by the Supreme Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Unfortunately, despite overwhelming public support for contraceptive coverage, the bill failed to pass.

The bill would have prevented bosses from discriminating against their female employees by making it illegal for any company to deny their workers specific health benefits that are required to be covered under federal law, including birth control.

Physicians for Reproductive Health (Physicians) is disappointed by the outcome of today’s vote, but buoyed by the Senate’s support of proactive health care legislation. Physicians board chair Nancy L. Stanwood, MD, MPH, said:

“I see patients every day who rely on access to contraception—preventive care that is crucial to the health of women and their families. I also know that when money is tight, some women are forced to go without birth control. This bill would have made a difference for lower-wage employees across the country, allowing them to rest assured that their coverage was guaranteed no matter where they work.

“My colleagues and I have spent years advocating for affordable contraception because our patients’ health depends on it. Preventive care, including birth control, is basic health care for women—and the decision to use birth control is a conversation between a woman and her medical provider, not a woman and her boss. I want to thank Senators Murray and Reid and the more than 40 cosponsors who stood up on behalf of the majority of Americans who support access to the full range of contraceptives. These leaders said firmly and without equivocation that women’s health has value, that preventive care is crucial, and that insurance coverage should meet their reproductive health needs.”

In January 2014, Physicians for Reproductive Health joined with major medical groups representing a wide spectrum of health care providers to file a brief in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. 

Doctors Speak Out for Women’s Health Protection Act

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a groundbreaking piece of proactive, pro-choice legislation: the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would create much-needed federal protections against state-level restrictions on reproductive rights.

Dr. Nancy StanwoodPhysicians for Reproductive Health submitted written testimony from board chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood (left) in support of the Act. From her testimony:

“Every woman has her own unique circumstances and must be able to make personal medical decisions, including the decision to have an abortion, without political interference.… As physicians, we work every day to make sure our patients receive the high-quality health care they need in a safe, respectful environment. We need the Women’s Health Protection Act to ensure that all women have access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion, regardless of where they live. It is critical to the lives and health of our patients that this bill passes.”

Read the entire testimony here.

Dr. Willie Parker at WHPAIn addition, our board member Dr. Willie Parker (pictured at right, with Center for Reproductive Rights president and CEO Nancy Northup, who also testified) testified on behalf of the women he serves in Mississippi, where there now is only one clinic at which women can access safe, legal abortion care. Speaking about his work, Dr. Parker testified:

“I want for women what I want for myself: a life of dignity, health, self-determination, and the opportunity to excel and contribute. We know that when women have access to abortion, contraception, and medically accurate sex education, they thrive. It should be the same for all women, no matter where they live.”

Watch video of his testimony on C-SPAN here, and read his testimony here