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Are Ovaries Necessary to See Need for Birth Control?

Gloria Feldt is a leading expert in women's rights, women's health, and politics from where the personal meets the political.

Part two of a small series in honor of the Oct. 16, 2006, anniversary of the first American birth control clinic, with the purpose of exploring why birth control is still at stake today and what we must do to secure the right and access to it:

Fresh out of ob/gyn residency at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston in the late 1960's, a young physician went to Nigeria to teach obstetrics. Dr. Allan Rosenfield was distressed to his core by the state of health among the women he saw. So when the Population Council, a U.S. based nonprofit organization, offered him a position working with the Thai Health Ministry to help start Thailand's family planning program, he jumped at the opportunity.

He visited training programs for traditional birth attendants in rural Thailand, where he concluded maternal health would not be significantly improved unless women could also get emergency care for complications and contraception to prevent pregnancies from coming too close together. He saw the dire consequences of unsafe abortion.

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Humpty Dumpty Keroack

Gloria Feldt is a leading expert in women's rights, women's health, and politics from where the personal meets the political.

With W, up is down and down is sideways. We've grown inured to the duplicity, the sleight of hand, the wink while Halliburton profits as our sons and daughters die in Iraq, the ruthlessness with which the 1 percent get richer while the rest of us get a burgeoning national debt and fewer of us get health insurance.

So it's no surprise that the man talks piously about creating a culture of life while taking funding from lifesaving prevention programs like family planning and giving it to abstinence only preachers. This makes the U. S. the laughingstock of the world's public health organizations and in the end paradoxically increases disease, unintended pregnancies, abortions, and deaths.

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Toward Securing Motherhood in Freedom

Gloria Feldt is the author of "The War on Choice," keynote speaker, and former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She is currently working on a book with Kathleen Turner called "Take the Lead, Lady!"

Part one of a small series in honor of the Oct. 16 anniversary of the first American birth control clinic, with the purpose of exploring why birth control is still at stake today and what we must do to secure the right and access to it:

I'm not much for remembering dates. Birthdays and anniversaries tend to escape me, even my own. Maybe especially my own–some people call that denial.

But I have been thinking about the upcoming 90th anniversary of the first American birth control movement on Oct. 16. And I've been wondering what Margaret Sanger would think if she could spend a day with me checking out the state of the movement that dates its beginning with the opening day of that clinic on Amboy Street near Pitkin Avenue in the Brownsville district of Brooklyn.

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