Founder Seymour L. Romney, MD

Dr. Seymour RomneyDr. Seymour “Cy” Romney was the founder of Physicians for Reproductive Health. A practicing obstetrician/gynecologist until age 90, Dr. Romney earned his medical degree at New York University and did his postdoctoral training at the Boston Beth Israel Hospital, the Boston Lying In and Free Hospital for Women, and Harvard Medical School. He went on to teach at Harvard Medical School and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and authored more than 150 articles on a range of reproductive health issues focusing on gynecological malignancies and the pathophysiology of pregnancy.

Dr. Romney’s support for reproductive rights began early in his medical career. As an ob/gyn in the 1940s, he was horrified by the many young women he saw suffering from botched attempts to end unwanted pregnancies. His desire to help women avoid such tragedy led him to fight for legal abortion both in New York State and nationally—in fact, he was present in 1970 when Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed the law making abortion legal in New York.

In the early 1990s, when legal abortion was under violent attack, Dr. Romney had a vision of a physician-led organization that would work to protect comprehensive reproductive health care access. Believing that doctors could be effective spokespeople, and that they had a public health responsibility to speak out, in 1992 he gathered together a handful of other concerned doctors and created what is now known as Physicians for Reproductive Health.  He then served as the first chair of the board of directors from when it was created in 1995 until 2001.

Dr. Romney passed away in August 2010. But his vision continues to grow: Since its founding, Physicians for Reproductive Health has grown into a $6.5 million organization with a team of 26, staff in San Francisco, Washington, and New York, programs in public policy, communications, and medical education, and representing doctors from a variety of disciplines in all 50 states.

Read a profile of Dr. Romney here.