NAPW's Board President Jeanne Flavin - Honored and Attacked for her Integrity

NAPW is very lucky to have Jeanne Flavin, Professor of Sociology at Fordham University, serving as our board president. We wish to congratulate her for two significant achievements.

First, Jeanne is the recipient of the 2013 Feminist Activism Award of Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS).This award goes to a member who "consistently uses sociology to better the lives of women." The award honors a person whose efforts embody the goal of service to women and the identifiable improvement of women's lives. And, apparently these stellar characteristics are why Jeanne has come under fire from the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) - which brings us to the second significant achievement we wish to recognize.

As a new Catholic for Choice (CfC) investigative report explains, CNS is an organization that purports to "renew and strengthen Catholic identity in Catholic higher education," and does so by identifying "supposed breach[es] of dogma" at Catholic Universities and engineering negative publicity against the University and the individuals who have been targeted. According to one of the many Catholic critics of CNS quoted in the CfC report, it is an organization that "neither represent[s] the church nor the academic community. . . and yet they want to censor the academic community in the name of the church."

The CNS is known for its efforts to ban The Vagina Monologues from being performed on American Catholic school campuses. As the CfC report explains, the CNS is particularly quick to "jump on any perceived heterodoxy on issues including the following: abortion, contraception, LGBT issues, assisted reproductive technologies, euthanasia and women's ordination."

Among those targeted by CNS is Jeanne Flavin. According to the CfC report "The CNS suggested Flavin should not be working for [Fordham University, a Catholic University in the Jesuit tradition] because she is president of [the board of directors of] National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which advocates for reproductive rights."

NAPW could not be prouder or more appreciative!

According to the CfC report, Jeanne Flavin and other individuals have been targeted by CNS because of their support for "abortion and/or contraception." Jeanne is in very good company; the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ellen Goodman, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, among others were also identified as objects of CNS's ire.

In contrast to the Cardinal Newman Society, Jeanne is a strong advocate for encouraging dialogue and respecting differences of opinion as she beautifully explains in On Reproductive Justice and the Importance of Listening to People with Whom We Disagree.

Jeanne Flavin is the author of the award winning book Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women's Reproduction in America and such commentaries as How Catholic Universities' Contraceptive Ban Fails Our Students and That Sound You Don't Hear: Catholic Leadership's Response to Project Prevention.

More recently, Jeanne co-authored with Lynn Paltrow, NAPW's founder and executive director, this study "Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women's Legal Status and Public Health" published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. Jeanne is particularly proud of the favorable coverage this study has received across the political spectrum, from the National Review Online.

Please help us honor and celebrate NAPW's Board President - the brave, the magnificent Jeanne Flavin!

P.S. Jeanne would like NAPW supporters to note that she is embarrassed by the attention but loves NAPW too much to deny them their request to circulate this activist update.