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Champions for Choice 2016
On Wednesday, October 19, over one hundred members of the pro-choice community gathered at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge to honor the work of Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Susan Yanow, and the student leaders of NARAL Pro-Choice at Clark University.
Thank you so much to everyone who joined us in celebrating the incredible accomplishments of our 2016 Champions for Choice!
Photo credit to Leah C-S Photography
At Champions for Choice, we recognize exceptional leaders and advocates whose work has advanced reproductive rights and health in Massachusetts. We were delighted to honor Susan Yanow & Dr. JudyAnn Bigby as our 2016 Champions for Choice!
Susan Yanow is an advocate for reproductive health and rights both domestically and abroad, with a particular focus on expanding access to abortion. A longtime activist and social worker, she co- founded the Abortion Access Project, now known as Provide; Creating a Clinician Corps (C3), an organization that connects abortion providers who are willing to travel with clinics in states without providers; Women Help Women, which works to increase access to medication abortion internationally; and Expanding Abortion Services in the South Project (EASE), supporting clinic services in Alabama and Mississippi. She also works with Ibis Reproductive Health, where she coordinates the Later Abortion Initiative and the Later Abortion Network, and she partners with activists in several U.S. states to increase knowledge about self-managed medication abortion procedures. A former board member of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, she currently serves on the boards of the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women, and Chennai Children.
Dr. JudyAnn Bigby is a physician and health policy expert who served as the Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 2006 to 2012. In this role, she oversaw the implementation of Massachusetts’ landmark health care reform law and advised Governor Deval Patrick on reproductive health policies including funding for comprehensive sex education; improving access to family planning services; and coverage of the human papilloma virus vaccine. During her time as director of community health programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission, she developed community-based initiatives to reduce disparities in infant mortality, with a focus on the role of unintended pregnancy in poor birth outcomes. She has also served as Director of Harvard Medical School’s Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. In 2011, President Obama appointed her as an inaugural member of the President’s Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.
In celebration of the next generation of pro-choice leaders, the 3rd annual Ellen Paradise Fisher Activism in Action Award was presented to the student leaders of NARAL Pro-Choice at Clark University.
NARAL Pro-Choice at Clark University is a chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts’ campus program, a statewide network of student leaders who fight for reproductive freedom on their campuses and in their communities. Student leaders at Clark University have built an outstanding chapter since its inception three years ago, creating a large, cohesive on-campus community and implementing sweeping reforms with a substantial impact on the lives of Clark students. Their successful campaign achieved free emergency contraception and condoms for the student body; gender-neutral bathrooms on campus; and comprehensive resources for sexual assault prevention and response.
We were proud to celebrate Clark University student leaders Hallie Blashfield, Eliana Stanislawski, Alana Shapiro, Molly Weilbacher, Natalie Wolpert, Carolina Otero, Madi Carleton, Kacey Legare, Marin Smith, and Isabella Frederick for their leadership and determination. Their work is a model for pro-choice activism on campuses in Massachusetts and around the country.
Want to check out past years' events?
Champions for Choice 2015 - Honorees Karen Edlund and Sam Perkins
Champions for Choice 2014 - Honorees Ellen Fisher and Deval Patrick
Champion for Choice 2013 - Honoree Byllye Avery
Champions for Choice 2012- Honoree Judge Nancy Gertner
Champion for Choice 2011- Honorees Rev. Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale and Paula Johnson, MD, MPH