National Summit to Ensure the Health and Humanity of Pregnant and Birthing Women

November 09, 2006

Dear Friends and Allies:

National Advocates for Pregnant Women and more than 50 co-sponsors invite you to attend the National Summit to Ensure the Health and Humanity of Pregnant and Birthing Women, Thursday, January 18– Sunday, January 21, 2007 at the Hilton Airport Atlanta, Atlanta, GA.

While politics and media like to divide the world into neat bundles of opposites—pro-abortion vs. pro-life, pro-choice vs. anti-choice—the reality of women’s lives often do not fit these simplistic and divisive labels. We can disagree on many things, but we believe it is time to recognize common threats and celebrate common threads that will ensure the humanity, dignity and well-being of pregnant and birthing women and their families.

Register Today for this Groundbreaking Event:

Reserve your hotel room at the special, discounted rate - based on availability - now through December 15, 2006:

Support this Groundbreaking Event


Today's highly politicized and polarizing abortion debate creates the false and destructive illusion that there are two kinds of women -- women who have abortions and women who have babies. The reality is that they are all the same women:

• By age 25, approximately half of all women in the United States have experienced at least one birth.
• By age 44, this figure is approximately 85%.
• Sixty-one percent of women having abortions already are mothers, raising one or more children.
• A majority of those having abortions, but not yet raising children will someday become mothers and spend much of their lives raising and caring for their children and other loved ones.
• At least 15-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriages or stillbirths.

All of these women are facing increasing limitations on access to care as a result of conflicts with professional organizations, imposition of religious directives in health care institutions, anti-abortion/fetal rights laws and rhetoric that affect all pregnant women including those continuing to term, and issues concerning health care financing that interfere with women's ability to make decisions regarding their pregnancies, birthing options, the childbirth process, their lives and their families' well-being.

The fundamental goal of the Summit is to bring people together who are committed to ensuring the health and humanity of all pregnant women -- regardless of what their decisions may be -- and recognizing that there are strong and diverse opinions about both abortion and about how best to birth a child.

Who should attend the Summit? Doulas, midwives, physicians, nurses and other reproductive health care providers, birthing rights activists, reproductive and social justice activists, and all who are committed to the health and humanity of pregnant women, their families and communities.

This Summit recognizes that while much attention is paid to policies that restrict women who are seeking to end unwanted pregnancies, these and other restrictions are also violating the civil and human rights of women seeking to continue their pregnancies to term. Examples of these violations include pregnant women who have been shamed, coerced, or forced into having unnecessary cesarean sections and the application of punitive criminal and civil child welfare laws to women who are continuing to term.

This summit will address barriers to care for all pregnant and birthing women as well as strategies for change. This summit will also address the fact that regardless of their views on the abortion controversy, pregnant women are increasingly confronting discriminating employment, environmental, health insurance and drug policies, among others, which threaten their health and wellbeing as well as their children's and families'. Summit speakers will address the fact that pregnant women across party lines and of diverse experiences, faiths and backgrounds continue to face domestic violence and discrimination based on race, class, language and ability. And, our presenters will address the fact that, once parents, women face a host of policies that undermine their ability to provide for their loved ones.

The National Advocates for Pregnant Women’s 2007 Summit will acknowledge, honor, and benefit from the recognition that the realities of women’s lives often do not fit simplistic and divisive political labels. This historic event will honor differences of opinion but at the same time recognize common threats and CELEBRATE common threads: Together we can develop policies and strategies that will ensure the humanity, dignity and well being of pregnant and birthing women and their families.

NAPW Mission

The National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) works to secure the human rights and dignity of all women, focusing particularly on pregnant and parenting women and those who are most vulnerable – low income women, women of color and drug-using women. Through litigation, grassroots organizing, public education and bridge-building across public health and social justice movements, NAPW is working to change policies that threaten pregnant women and mothers and undermine the well being of children and families.

The Summit

Pre-Summit Coalition Training, Thursday January 18, 2006

All summit participants are invited to a one-day pre-summit coalition training facilitated by Be Present Inc. ( This training will provide an opportunity for participants to spend time getting to know one another, to understand how they came to do the work they do, and to acknowledge the personal as well as the political aspects of taking on extremely controversial issues. This training will provide an essential forum for a diverse group of people to take time for themselves, to learn who their allies are in the struggle to ensure the humanity and dignity of pregnant women, and to learn more about the personal and political work it will take to build effective advocacy efforts. Please join us for this day of extraordinary inspiration and insight.

The Summit Program: Friday January 19- Sunday January 21, 2006

The Summit planning committee is soliciting suggestions for plenaries, workshops and events. Suggestions for presentations are due Sept 15, 2006: Information about submitting a proposal is available as an RFP (Request for Presentations) on our web site.

Among the topics to be covered:

• Getting on the Same Page: What the millions of women who become pregnant each year in the US each have in common.
• Barriers to Care and Control, From VBAC bans to TRAP laws, do women have a say in pregnancy and childbirth?
• How May You Be Prosecuted? Let Me Count the Ways: Criminalizing Women’s Reproductive Health Choices and Women's Reproductive Health Care Providers.
• Who Controls our Health Care?
• How Health Disparities Impact Women’s Reproductive Health and Family Lives.
• Strategies that work: establishing affirmative grassroots and legislative strategies to ensure the rights of pregnant, birthing, breast-feeding and parenting women.

The summit will have a special emphasis on lived experiences and all presentations will include those directly affected by current policies and practices. A few of the committed participants and presenters include:

• Linda L. Layne, Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Account of Pregnancy Loss in America
• Carole Joffe, Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion Before and after Roe v. Wade and The Regulation of Sexuality: Experiences of Family Planning Workers
• Dorothy Roberts, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty // Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare
• Robbie Davis Floyd, Birth as an American Rite of Passage
• Loretta Ross, co-author, Undivided Rights, Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice
• Barbara Katz Rothman, The Encyclopedia of Childbearing: Critical Perspectives

Organizational Co-Sponsors
Our Bodies Ourselves, International Center for Traditional Childbearing, Citizens For Midwifery, Inc., Mothers United For Midwifery, Realbirth Education Center, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Gynuity Health Projects, Vanderbilt University Women’s & Gender Studies Program, Justice Now, Feminist Women’s Health Center-Cedar River Clinics-WA State, ProKanDo, Abortion Access Project, Inc., Civil Liberties & Public Policy Program and Population & Development Program, Hampshire College, Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Catholics for a Free Choice, Choice USA, Harm Reduction Coalition, Brooklyn Childcare Collective, Exhale, Ipas, USA , Pro-Choice Public Education Project, Center For Reproductive Rights, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Real Cost of Prisons Project, Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents, National Organization for Woman, Inc., The Tatia Oden French Memorial Foundation, ACLU Foundation, Family Violence Prevention Fund, The Rebecca Project for Human Rights, Causes in Common, a national organizing project of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, Breaking the Chains: Communities of Color and the War on Drugs, HIV Law Project, Inc, Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice & Healing,
Family Violence Prevention Fund,
Mother's First Initiative,
Feminist Women's Health Center, 
National, Women's Health Network,
Salud Promujer, School of Medicine University of Puerto Rico,
The MergerWatch Project, Conextions, Inc, Harm Reduction Project, National Network of Abortion Funds, Law Students for Choice, NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia, NARAL Pro-Choice New York, The Institute for Reproductive Health Access, Democracy in Action, South Dakota, Reproductive Health Access Project, American College of Nurse Midwives, Committee on Women, Population and the Environment.
(List in formation)

To register for the Summit please go to:

Don’t have access to the Internet or Email? Call or fax us with your request for faxed information on the Summit to Ensure the Health and Humanity of Pregnant and Birthing Women.

Summit to Ensure the Health and Humanity of Pregnant and Birthing Women
January 18-21, 2007 - Atlanta, GA
Summit phone: 347.427.9255  Summit fax: 866.684.7419