Impacting Lives in South Florida: Carol Cohan

By OBOS — April 27, 2009

From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011

Entrant: Penny Kfare Jacobs

Nominee: Carol Cohan, Executive Director, Women’s Emergency Network

carol-cohanCarol is the pro bono executive director of Women’s Emergency Network (WEN), an abortion fund in Miami, Florida.  She manages all facets of the organization including client care, coordination with clinics, volunteer force, and all administrative and fundraising activities.

Under her leadership, WEN’s operating budget increased from $60,000 per year to $250,000 per year and WEN’s client capacity increased from 170 to over 900. She has built a coalition of reproductive rights advocates and organizations to prevent passage of 2004 parental notification law, and when that law was passed, organized the first attorney assistance for minor girls seeking judicial waivers, a project which developed into the Florida Path Project providing pro-bono assistance for girls seeking judicial bypass throughout the State of Florida.

She also spearheaded a coalition to improve access to emergency contraception for low-income women, developing a multi-media awareness campaign, including a dedicated website, which was adopted by 17 communities nationwide.  She has been an inspiration to board members of abortion funds throughout Florida and the United States.

In conjunction with her leadership of WEN, Carol sits on the board of the National Network of Abortion Funds, where she co-chaired the Emergency Contraception Task Force. She is also a member of the Ethics Committee of the Health Council of South Florida, the Florida Healthy Teens Coalition, and the Florida Prevention First Coalition.

In addition, she served on Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Health Care Working Group, the Steering Committee of the Low Income Access Program of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, the Florida State Coalition for Women’s Health, and the planning committee of the Florida Abortion Conversation Project.  She is a 2007 recipient of the National Council of Jewish Women’s Woman of Valor award.

Carol is a true Women’s Health Hero!

37 responses to “Impacting Lives in South Florida: Carol Cohan”

  1. Any person that runs a W omen’s Emergency Network deserves to be sainted at every level….but now that i am a funder in south florida, there is no greater need in our country!!!! Please, please consider sending a message to the world that south florida can still be saved, but only with the help of people like Carol….


  2. Carol is an impactful member of the Florida funds. We all benefit from her insight into how to negotiate through these horribly rough waters we are currently experiencing. Too bad we can’t clone her

  3. A thousand stars for Carol! She has truly made an incredible difference for the many women the WEN has helped. Our hats are off to her, and our hearts reach out to her and her work.

  4. Carol is an enormous inspiration to men and women who aspire to serve their fellow human beings in a competent, knowledgable and effective manner. Carol has tirelessly researched, published, fund-raised, counseled and encouraged others in the support of poor women in South Florida who find themselves in crisis pregnancies. She is most deserving of this award.


  5. Carol Cohan demonstrates what Margaret Mead meant when she said that an individual can make a difference, and that in fact only an individual can. Her vision and commitment in a funding environment that denies women in economic distress access to birth control, abortion and tubal ligation has made a critical difference for many women. She deserves this honor–and many more.

  6. Carol has left a positive mark where ever she has lived and worked for the betterment and freedom of women. She is smart, tireless, practical, creative and effective. She’s always had my admiration.

  7. Carol is certainly a very unique and special angel who is the role model for all of us to follow. Above all she realizes that life is not simple but it can be beautiful, especially if each of us is allowed to make our own decisions with the wise counsel of those who have gone before us. Carol is a gem and we are bless to have her shining amongst us.

  8. Carol is a a true Woman of Valor and is so deserving of this award. Having worked with her through NCJW as part of the Emergency Contraception Coailtion, I saw Carol in action- a woman who believes in what she does and inspires others to do more than they think they can. She has a zest and passion for the work of WEN and creatively finds ways to do more with less. She is a person I am proud to know and is deserving of the nomination and has my VOTE.

  9. Carol is tireless and ingenious – there are no obstacles that she cannot figure out a strategy to overcome. She is also extremely able to educate those who are not sure abut WEN’s mission as well as respectfully demolish those who oppose WEN. She isn’t discouraged by the slow progress of reproductive rights nor does she despair at setbacks. And she inspires us all with her leadership.

  10. Carol has done an amazing job over, what we will hope is, the worst of times. She is dedicated and relentless and is well deserving of this recognition of nomination. She is an inspiration to all who work with her. Consider this a vote for Carol Cohan.

  11. Carol works tirelessly for WEN in South Florida, and to protect women’s reproductive rights everywhere. I vote for Carol!

  12. Carol Cohan works consistantly to improve the lives of women and girls in South Florida.

  13. Carol works tirelessly to identify resources, plan strategically, and set high standards for community goal setting. The women in need throughout south florida have her to thank for the many accomplishments she has achieved to provide them with access to care, to information and to preventive services. In addition, she is incredibly knowledgable about healthcare issues and articulate and eloquent in advocating for women.

  14. A strong voice, defending women and girls in need of reproductive healthcare, and protective their rights. A leader that continues to lead Women’s Emergency Network to undertake new projects without hesitation. Thank you, Carol, for listening and responding to our clients. You definitely have our vote.

  15. Carol has certainly been a strong voice for abortion access both in Florida and around the country. Her work in Florida on the behalf of low-income women is to be commended. She has played a significant role in helping to further the work of the National Network of Abortion Funds through her participation on the board of directors. Carol is most deserving of this recognition.

  16. i strongly support carol’s nomination. she is compassioate,repectful and sensative to the needs and rights of woman

  17. I cast my vote for Carol Cohan. She is an amazing leader in the reproductive rights arena. She has helped thousands of women secure the needed funding for abortions. She is awesome!

  18. I add my voice to supporting Carol’s nomination. In her sensitive, determined way, she fights for informed choice, education, and an empowered future for the women of South Florida.

  19. My vote is for Carol Cohan who has and continues to work selflessly to help the women in need in S. Florida.

  20. As demonstrated by her tireless efforts to help women in need and bring greater reproductive rights to all women, Carol is a woman of passion and determination like few others.

  21. The women of South Florida do not realize how blessed they are to have Carol, who has turned WEN into a power fund. She has never been afraid to use media sensation events of abused and abandoned children to champion WEN and the effects on women who feel they are “forced” to carry unwanted pregnancies to term because of public opinion and pressure. She has been instrumental in binding all the Florida funds into one cohesive working group, unlike any other state. The women of Florida are truely blessed to have such a hero living and working for them in their state.

  22. Carol has not only brought Women Emergency Network administratively to heights no one could have ever suspected or imagined; she has also increased the available funds to the clients substantially. This financial support has assisted so many women who were in dire need. Her persistent leadership is to be admired and mimicked. May you continue to prosper as you remain a relentless advocate for womens’ right to choose.

  23. Carol has the dedication and devotion to WEN of a saint. She has tirelessly and often times singlehandidly led this organization to provide so many women the needed services they could get nowhere else. Hats off to her and to you for nominating her.

  24. I salute Carol Cohan for the countless hours over many years that she has devoted to the work of reproductive rights for women in South Florida. Her commitment to this work of advocacy, her outstanding abililty to increase funds available to women in need and her intelligent, passionate leadership have inspired many and given hope to many. I am pleased and proud to support her nomination. I cast my vote for Carol Cohan!

  25. I salute Carol Cohan for the countless hours over many years that she has devoted to the work of reproductive rights for women in South Florida. Her commitment to this work of advocacy, her ability to dramatically increase funds available to women in need and her intelligent, passionate leadership have inspired many and given hope to many. I am pleased and proud to support her nomination. I cast my vote for Carol Cohan!

  26. Carol is an inspiring and dedicated leader of women’s rights and is deserving of this recognition. Congratulations Carol!

  27. I strongly support Carol Cohan. She is compassionate, sensative and respectful to the needs and rights of woman.


  29. I met Carol Cohan many years ago when I became the Administrator of All Women’s Clinic. I was receiving numerous phone calls from women who were in need of financial help for abortion care. I searched the internet and found WEN and Carol Cohan set up an interview with our clinic and staff to be sure we met the standard of care expected for the women seeking financial help from WEN. After meeting Carol, and being accepted together we helped many women from the homeless, sick, and students trying to get an education. I admire and respect Carol.


    Denise Sparda, R.N.

  30. Carol has been a dauntless advocate of the women of South FL, helping countless with her passion and compassion. We are truly fortunate to have her as a leader in this arena and in our community. Please count my comments as a vote for her.

  31. Carol Cohan is one of the most dynamic, intelligent, and caring women I know. She uses these qualities to lead her organization, to guide women in need, to plan for the future. Carol is indeed a “hero” and deserves to be honored.

    Note: Joni also nominated Carol as her health hero.

  32. In the over two decades that my husband and myself have known Carol Cohan, both professionally and personally, the most oustanding aspect of her entire persona, is her fierce determination and unstinting intelligence and persuasiveness in the cause of bettering the lives of all women. No greater tribute than that now proposed could be affiorded her, and by extension, the entire South Florida health community . A more deserving candidate would be hard to represent the honor this award conveys.

  33. Carol has my admiration, respect and certainly my vote! For many years, she has been the voice for women and girls who might otherwise have been left alone to secure the assistance they so desperately need.

  34. I nominate Carol Cohan for her tireless time and efforts to help all women have a “Choice” in their reproductive health. Many hours are spent writing grant applications and searching for new and innovated ways to get new donors For Women’s Emergency Network, the larges Fund in Florida and one of the largest Funds in the country. Her dedication for Women’s Rights is never ending. We need more women like Carol Cohan.

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