Not for Women Only – Family Planning for Families

I’m in a Planned Parenthood health center. Men are in the waiting room, as well as women and infants. Primary care, including dermatology, urology, and pediatric care, are offered to all comers. But that is not all. In one adjacent building, there is a cooking class and an adjacent café where the teen (and some adult) budding cooks sell their culinary creations to the public. In another building, teens are learning to cut and style hair; next door teens are measuring customers for made-to-order clothes; and in yet another space, teens are rehearsing a play about responsible decision making and warning against illegal abortion. Nearby are the classrooms of a primary school for the orphan children of the neighborhood. A steam bath in another building has a steady stream of customers from the community.

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Halfdan Mahler

Halfdan Mahler, the former Director General of IPPF from 1988 to 1995, died on December 14, 2016 in Geneva. Dr. Mahler was formerly the Director of the World Health Organization and served there during the onset of the AIDS crisis from 1973-1988. I met Dr. Mahler at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994. He was an imposing presence, at ease in the corridors of power and comfortable within the UN system of reaching consensus, even as he led IPPF in pushing for the recognition of the empowerment and rights of women in the final document. In addition to AIDS, Dr. Mahler focused on unsafe abortion as a scourge that must be eliminated. His leadership brought the IPPF Member Associations into uncharted (for some) territories of AIDS, abortion and the rights of women and he will be remembered for his firm vision and diplomacy that made it happen.

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Pregnancy and “Illness”

Audra McDonald, the star of Shuffle Along on Broadway, found herself pregnant last May, and, a month later, the show’s producers cancelled the remainder of the run, instead of bringing in another performer to take over her role. The producers had purchased an insurance policy from Lloyds, which reportedly covered them in case Ms. McDonald was unable to perform because of “accident or illness”. Putting aside whether the pregnancy was an “accident” (this will be litigated), is it an “illness”?

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Talking With Margaret Sanger’s Grandson on the 100th Anniversary of Planned Parenthood

Talking With Margaret Sanger’s Grandson on the 100th Anniversary of Planned Parenthood


Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

On Sunday, Planned Parenthood celebrated 100 years since its first clinic opened its doors. That very first clinic, opened by birth-control activist and educator Margaret Sanger in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, was shut down after being open only ten days. Sanger was sentenced to 30 days in a workhouse for being a public nuisance. (She’d avoided jail only two years prior for distributing an illicit newspaper on the subject of birth control, called Family Limitation.) One hundred years later, there are 650 Planned Parenthood clinics serving communities across America — but the fight for women’s reproductive rights and access to care is not over.

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Planned Parenthood celebrates 100 years of activism from its NYC roots

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Chirlane McCray, front, as Planned Parenthood marks it’s 100th anniversary at City Hall. Sunday.


One hundred years after a Brooklyn nurse was jailed for selling her patients an illegal pamphlet on birth control methods, Planned Parenthood is still redefining activism.

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