Audio Media Conference: Facts about the Kermit Gosnell Trial

It has recently been suggested that an alleged mainstream media “pro-choice bias” led to a failure to cover the murder trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. But who has covered what, and when? Further, what issues are at stake in this trial? On April 16, 2013 RH Reality Check hosted a fact-based call to help journalists and bloggers get a full picture. Listen to a recording of the call above.

We were joined by experts from the reproductive health community who shared their perspectives:

Jessica González-Rojas – Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Jessica González-Rojas is the Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national reproductive justice organization that specifically works to advance reproductive health and rights for Latinas. She has been a leader in progressive movements for over 15 years. Jessica is successfully forging connections between reproductive health, gender, immigration, LGBTQ liberation, labor and Latino civil rights, breaking down barriers between movements and building a strong Latina grassroots presence.

Jessica is a strong voice for Latinas and a regular presence in national and local media outlets. She was honored by El Diario/La Prensa, the nation’s oldest and largest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, as one of 2009’s “Mujeres Destacadas” (Women of Honor). She is a regular contributor to El Diario/La Prensa and Huffington Post Latino Voices on pressing reproductive health issues in the Latina community, as well as a regular media voice in local and national outlets such as National Public Radio, the Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC-FM), the Boston Globe and The New York Times.

Jessica frequently speaks about the National Latina Institute’s work at national conferences, and provides policy expertise including testimony at congressional briefings. She worked with Lake Research Partners and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project in conducting groundbreaking opinion research, which has proven that old stereotypes about what’s important to Latino voters are wrong and that unraveled assumptions about the way Latino families view sexual health issues. Jessica provided content for the groundbreaking publication, “Reproductive Justice Briefing Book: A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change”, contributed an NLIRH publication in the anthology, Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, 2nd Edition (Routledge Press, 2010) and served as an Advisory Member for the publication of Latina/o Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies (Rutgers University Press, 2010).

Jessica is a long-time leader in community and electoral politics. She was elected to the New York State Democratic Committee for the 39th Assembly District from 2002-2006, representing the diverse communities of Jackson Heights, Corona, Elmhurst and Woodside. She has received proclamations from the New York State Senate, New York State Assembly and the New York City Council for local and national leadership. She also served as a community liaison in two district offices of Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez.

Jessica has held leadership roles in numerous local and national organizations that promotes social justice advocacy. For 11 years, she served on the Board of Directors of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a New York City-based non-profit whose mission is to ensure that immigrants can build social, political and economic power. She is a featured expert for the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW), and an Advisory Member for several organizations and coalitions, including the Women of Color Policy Network (WOCPN), Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ), Raising Women’s Voices and the We Belong Together Campaign. She has also served as a board member for Medical Students for Choice and the Latina Political Action Committee (LPAC).

Jessica is an Adjunct Professor of Latino and Latin American Studies at the City University of New York’s City College and has taught courses on reproductive rights, gender and sexuality. Jessica holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, with a concentration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Public Policy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Boston University, where she graduated cum laude, and completed a certificate program from the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.

Carole Joffe – Professor at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco

Carole Joffe, PhD, is a professor at the UCSF Bixby Center’s Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) Program and a professor of sociology emerita at the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on the social dimensions of reproductive health, with a particular interest in abortion provision. In January 2010, Dr. Joffe’s book, Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us, was published by Beacon Press. Besides writing for an academic audience, she also writes frequently for the general public on the topics of reproductive health and reproductive politics. In 2010, Dr. Joffe received the Irwin Cusher Lectureship by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. In 2006, Dr. Joffe was awarded the Public Service Award by the Academic Senate of the University of California, Davis.

Deborah A. Reid – Staff attorney at the National Health Law Program and a board member of the Black Women’s Health Imperative

Deborah Reid joined the Washington, DC office of the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) as a staff attorney in May 2005. NHeLP is a national public interest law firm that works on behalf of limited income populations to improve access to quality health care and protect the right to health. NHeLP provides legal and legislative analysis; policyadvocacy; class action litigation; and technical assistance to advocates, Congressional staff, and administrative agencies. Ms. Reid is currently a senior attorney, who is involved in legislative and policy advocacy for health-related legislative, legal and regulatory developments, particularly as they relate to Medicaid and health reform. Specifically, she works on other developing issues that impact the health of communities of color and low-income populations, including: racial and ethnic health disparities,
women’s health and reproductive rights and justice, human rights, and health information technology.

Ms. Reid is also currently a board member of the Black Women’s Health Imperative.

Prior to coming to NHeLP, she was an attorney advisor in the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, D.C. In that capacity, she served as team leader on a number of civil rights project teams. In addition, Ms. Reid was responsible for advising the agency on administrative law matters; providing findings and recommendations on a variety of civil rights issues in such areas as environmental justice, health care, voting rights, and police practices; and contributing to drafting the agency’s civil rights reports. Prior to this time, she was a senior health care program planner analyst at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), as well as a coordinating manager and an administrative resident at a HHC facility, Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn, NY.

Ms. Reid has a juris doctor degree from Rutgers University School of Law-Newark; a master’s of professional studies degree in health services administration and a certificate in quantitative health studies from the New School for Social Research (Milano – The New School for Management and Policy) in New York City; and a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Rutgers College of Rutgers University.

Tara Murtha – Senior writer at Philadelphia Weekly

Tara Murtha is senior writer at Philadelphia Weekly, where she focuses on news, crime, policy and social justice issues with particular interest in sexual violence, gender/media issues and reproductive rights. Murtha is an Ochberg Fellow at Columbia University’s Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma and teaches journalism at Temple University. She is currently working on Bobbie Gentry: Ode to Billie Joe for Bloomsbury Academic’s critically acclaimed 33 1/3 music book series, to be published in 2014. Follow her on twitter at @taramurtha.

Tracy Weitz – Associate Professor and Director of the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco

Tracy Weitz is an Associate Professor and Director of the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Weitz’s passion is for those aspects of women’s health that are marginalized either for ideological reasons or because the populations affected lack the means or mechanisms to have their concerns raised. Her current research focuses on innovative strategies to expand abortion provision in the U.S. Dr. Weitz also serves as the Associate Director for Public Policy at the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, and was its founding executive director over a decade ago. She is a current board member of the Society of Family Planning, the ACLU of Northern California, and Breast Cancer Action. In 1999, she received the UCSF Chancellor’s Award for the Advancement of Women and in 2012 the UCSF Academic Senate Distinction in Mentoring Award. She has an MPA degree in public administration with an emphasis in health care and a PhD in medical sociology from the University of California, San Francisco.