Public Voice in Action: Summer 2012 Advocacy Update
OBOS’s Public Voice and Action program uses the high quality information resources we develop, often in collaboration with others, to advocate for public policies that enhance reproductive health and justice for women and girls.
Since we are a small, well-respected organization, we identify a select number of policy initiatives each year and offer sustained, in-depth engagement and leadership. We are lucky to have a large circle of OBOS colleagues who work closely with us to substantially expand our impact.
OBOS’s books, website, blog, newsletters, media outreach, public speaking, and use of social media all provide direct avenues for educating the public and for engaging more activists committed to sexual and reproductive health. Our domestic and international partnerships continue to grow as we seek greater reproductive justice and improved policies on both local and global levels.
Recent radio and TV interviews (ranging from Fox Television to Al-Jazeera) have focused on sexuality and body image, access to contraception and abortion, expanding access to midwifery care, the damaging effects of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs, assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), and conflicts of interest in education, research and clinical practice.
Specific examples of our current activities include:
- Highlighting the ongoing sexual violence crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by disseminating a statement developed in collaboration with our global partners and other reproductive health leaders. The idea for this statement, directed at both the DRC government and the media, emerged from our 40th anniversary global symposium in October.
- Encouraging infertility clinics and centers across the country to promote awareness of the Infertility Family Research Registry at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Given how much more we need to learn about many ART practices - including the risks of multiple egg extraction practices that attract many college-age women needing to support their education - participation in this NIH-funded volunteer registry is vital.
- Blogging about the current “war on women,” including in-depth coverage of the short-lived Komen decision to defund Planned Parenthood and the role of online activism. In addition, OBOS staff member June Tsang spoke at the Unite Women Against the War on Women rally at Boston City Hall Plaza in April, and Ayesha Chatterjee and Judy Norsigian contributed an article to On The Issues magazine titled, “Can We Choose to Move Forward on Reproductive Justice? And How?”
- Developing more effective responses to the growing global reproductive “tourism” industry, especially the engagement of low-income women in commercial surrogacy.
We also continue to be involved with issues related to breast cancer and contraception. OBOS is one of only two women’s health groups serving as co-plaintiffs in the ACLU lawsuit against Myriad Genetics. This suit, which is challenging the patenting of human genes (as opposed to the patenting of a novel invention), will likely be heard by the Supreme Court later this year. OBOS also raised awareness of the evidence of harm posed by drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives such as Yaz, especially when compared with other oral contraceptives, and raised concerns about a problematic process that led to the FDA’s decision to keep Yaz on the market.