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:

Doctors Group: House Seeks Win at Expense of Patients’ Health and Well-Being

“H.R. 7 threatens insurance coverage for a safe, legal medical procedure, care that one in three women will receive in her lifetime.”

New York, NY—Late yesterday, as they were losing support from their constituents and fellow House members, anti-choice representatives abandoned efforts to pass a dangerous and unpopular 20-week abortion ban.

Subsequently, and at the eleventh hour, they resurrected an old piece of legislation: A bill that would dismantle insurance coverage for abortion. Just like its previous incarnations, this bill shows a reckless disregard for the health and well-being of millions of people. Physicians for Reproductive Health Board Chair Nancy L. Stanwood, MD, MPH, explains:

“H.R. 7 threatens millions of women by effectively stopping insurance coverage for abortion. My colleagues and I see all too many cases of the suffering experienced by women who can’t afford abortion care, either because they don’t have insurance or because their insurance won’t cover this safe, legal, vital medical procedure. This bill is so dangerous that it could even take away benefits from women whose plans had previously covered abortion care.

“From the point of view of physicians, this last-minute switch looks like a cynical attempt to wrest a win out of a losing situation—all at the expense of the well-being of the women we care for every day. One minute they champion a later abortion ban, and when they see that the public won’t stand for that, they pivot to push a ban on insurance coverage. Whether it’s by narrowing the window, or making care unaffordable, they are determined to take away women’s autonomy and decision-making when it comes to accessing needed medical care. It would be absurd if it weren’t so dangerous.”

“H.R. 7 threatens insurance coverage for a safe, legal medical procedure, care that one in three women will receive in her lifetime, women we know and love. A woman’s health insurance should meet all her health needs and cover a full range of medical procedures, including abortion. For her to be able to make a real decision based on what’s best for her and her family, she needs to be able to afford her care. I urge Congress to stop this deeply harmful and uncaring bill in its tracks.”


Doctors Group Decries Dangerous Attack on Women’s Health and Well-Being

“H.R. 36 ignores the realities of a woman’s life and threatens doctors with extreme penalties for providing medical care.”

New York, NY—On the eve of the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Congress has the opportunity to either protect and improve women’s access to reproductive health care or to turn their backs on women in difficult and complicated situations. Physicians for Reproductive Health (Physicians) applauds the House and Senate for introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act, proactive legislation that will prohibit states from imposing restrictions on reproductive health care providers that apply to no similar medical care, interfere with women’s personal decision making, and block access to safe and legal abortion services.

At the same time, Physicians joins other major medical groups in opposing H.R. 36, a dangerous ban on abortion at 20 weeks that will threaten the health and well-being of women facing complicated circumstances.

Physicians Board Chair Nancy L. Stanwood, MD, MPH, commented, “Tomorrow is an anniversary that physicians and women honor because Roe v. Wade made a dramatic change in women’s lives 42 years ago. The Supreme Court recognized the need for women to decide, with guidance of a medical professional, when and if to have a child. However, anti-choice politicians have chipped away at this right with fervor, ignoring the lives of women. State after state has passed onerous legislation, taking away women’s rights through manipulative regulation.

“That is why we support the reintroduction of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would restore many of the original rights guaranteed by Roe and confirm that the right to have an abortion should be ensured like any other right. Just as access to free speech doesn’t change based on your zip code, neither should access to this essential health care right.

“And yet, at the same time, anti-choice proponents have chosen to mark the occasion by voting on H.R. 36, a bill that bans almost all abortion care at 20 weeks. Physicians and their patients may determine abortion care at 20 weeks is the best medical option for many important reasons. This bill, which has only limited exceptions and no provisions to protect a woman’s health, would take that decision out of the hands of patients and their trusted physicians and put it in the hands of politicians. My colleagues and I who provide abortion care understand that every woman is unique, and every pregnancy is different. We must be able to provide women with the best medical care. H.R. 36 would jeopardize the health of women and put doctors at risk of criminal penalties for doing what is medically best. This is a terrible bill for women and we urge members of Congress to vote No.”




Tell the President: Stand Up for Abortion Access for All

Every year, Congress denies abortion coverage for women who receive health insurance through the federal government. President Obama could do something about that, however. That’s why we’re asking you to tell the President to take a step toward protecting and expanding women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care by excluding these bans in his budget.

Our board chair, Dr. Nancy Stanwood, said:

These restrictions have been a part of federal budgets since 1977. Withholding insurance coverage for abortion creates profound hardships for women and their families, particularly for those who already face significant barriers to receiving high-quality health care. This is a terrible injustice, and it needs to end this year. Thirty-eight years of inequity is enough!

Please take a moment and take action today

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.