The Center for Reproductive Rights uses the power of law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world.
We envision a world where every person participates as an equal member of society with dignity, regardless of gender; where every woman is free to decide whether or when to have children and whether to marry; where access to quality reproductive health care is guaranteed; and where women can make these decisions free from coercion or discrimination.
During a year of unprecedented challenges, the Center for Reproductive Rights has been a leader in the global fight for reproductive health and rights. Through it all—the COVID-19 pandemic, a long-overdue reckoning over racism and inequality, authoritarian governments threatening democracy, and the hugely consequential U.S. election and changed Supreme Court—we stood steady, strong, and true. Our unwavering commitment to the power of law is more vital than ever.
We achieved major victories this year at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the U.S. Supreme Court, and courts and legislatures around the globe. Each success brought us closer to the world we envision, where reproductive rights are guaranteed and every person is free to make personal decisions without government interference. As we look to the future and new opportunities ahead, we stand ready to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world.
We are deeply grateful to every friend and partner whose support made this year’s progress possible. Thank you for standing with us as we forge ahead to build on that progress in the years to come.
President & CEO
Amy Metzler Ritter
“This case is similar to, nearly identical with, Whole Woman’s Health. And the law must consequently reach a similar conclusion. Act 620 is unconstitutional.”
– Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the plurality in June Medical Services v. Russo
Just four years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, we were back before the Court, fighting and successfully defeating an identical Louisiana law in June Medical Services v. Russo. Our Supreme Court win in June Medical Services preserved abortion access in Louisiana and upheld the precedent protecting abortion rights. The stakes in this case were extremely high, as the law would have devastated abortion access for the one million women of reproductive age in the state.
With dozens of abortion rights cases moving through the federal courts towards a changed Supreme Court, we remain undaunted and resolute in our commitment to protect reproductive rights for all.
“It is now clear that my Paola was the victim of a terrible abuse that led her to suicide. Sexual aggressors will no longer be protected. Justice was finally done for my Paola!”
— Petita Albarracín, mother of Paola Guzmán Albarracín
Eighteen years after her daughter’s tragic death, Petita Albarracín finally secured justice. Paola Guzmán Albarracín was an Ecuadorian schoolgirl who took her own life at the age of 16 after experiencing sexual abuse by her school’s vice-principal. With Paola’s mother, we brought her case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the most powerful human rights judicial body in the Americas, and secured a historic and far-reaching decision that will help protect girls from sexual violence across Latin America and the Caribbean. The ruling requires countries in the region to safeguard young people’s sexual and reproductive health and holds Ecuador responsible for failing to protect Paola from the sexual violence she suffered. We brought the case with our partner, the Ecuadorian Center for the Promotion and Action of Women (CEPAM-Guayaquil).
“Abortion care constitutes essential health care and must remain available during the COVID-19 crisis.”
— Elizabeth Broderick, Chair of the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls
The COVID-19 pandemic has incited new threats to reproductive rights and exacerbated barriers to care around the world. In the U.S., we took bold action when politicians tried to exploit the crisis to ban abortion, analyzing every state order and filing emergency lawsuits in four states—successfully keeping clinics open. In Europe, we established a pro bono clearinghouse to provide free advice on COVID-19 legal issues for health care providers and other organizations. In El Salvador, we fought to free women unjustly imprisoned because of the country’s total abortion ban, given their risk of exposure to the virus. We provided expert legal analysis and advocacy across the globe—engaging human rights bodies and governments and providing resources for partners, allies, and judges—to better protect reproductive rights and access during the pandemic and beyond.
“We cannot and we will not stop until access to safe and respectful maternal health care is a reality for all birthing and postpartum people.”
— Jennie Jacoby, Federal Policy Counsel, the Center for Reproductive Rights
At a time when most other countries are making progress on maternal health, we are seeing rising maternal mortality and morbidity in the U.S. Black, Indigenous, and low-income communities are disproportionately affected—and the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the impact of structural racism on health and access to care. We are committed to addressing these inequities and improving access to maternal health care. Working closely with partners, we played a critical role in the passage of a Georgia law that extends Medicaid coverage for postpartum health care from 60 days to six months—in the state with the worst maternal health outcomes. We supported introduction of the Black Maternal Health “Momnibus” Act, a package of nine federal bills, and partnered closely with the Congressional Black Maternal Health Caucus to address the maternal health crisis and improve outcomes for the communities most impacted.
“[This case] will solidify the understanding that reproductive rights, when it comes to how women experience childbirth and all of the other determinants of health, are human rights issues.”
— Onyema Afulukwe, Senior Counsel for Africa, Center for Reproductive Rights
Nigeria is one of the richest countries in Africa but has one of the world’s highest rates of maternal mortality, with many causes well-known and preventable. After years of advocacy with local partners, we secured a groundbreaking step forward when the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights agreed to hear our case against Nigeria for its failure to address these factors and reduce maternal deaths—the first time the Commission is hearing a case on maternal or reproductive rights. A favorable ruling would be far-reaching, since the African Commission ensures that states throughout the region comply with human rights obligations. Our partners in the case are Dullah Omar Institute of the University of the Western Cape, the Africa Alliance, and the Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC).
“The moment is now to draw the line on the decades of assaults on women’s rights.”
– Nancy Northup, President and CEO, Center for Reproductive Rights
We cannot rely on the courts alone to protect access to abortion care in the U.S. The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) is a critically important federal bill that would assure the right to access abortion care in every state, for every person. In February 2020, our president and CEO, Nancy Northup, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives—its first proactive legislative hearing on abortion in over 25 years—to highlight the need for WHPA to protect abortion rights from the onslaught of state-level restrictions. Along with the bill’s champions on Capitol Hill and over 100 reproductive health, rights, and justice partners in the Act for Women coalition, we are working to ensure the right to abortion is a reality for all. The bill is on track to be reintroduced in the next Congress.
“The fear and intimidation that has been created, the stigmatization—these are things that affect the young women and the girls in the camps.”
— Humanitarian service provider in Nigeria, quoted in a report from the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Legal Defence and Assistance Project
Women and girls face extraordinarily high rates of sexual and reproductive health and rights violations in conflict zones. We have achieved key milestones towards addressing this crisis. We helped secure a landmark resolution from the United Nations Human Rights Council to protect women’s and girls’ human rights in humanitarian situations. With CARE International, we launched a pilot program at the Adjumani refugee settlement in Uganda, which is home to more than 300,000 people. In Nigeria, along with the Legal Defence and Assistance Project, we conducted factfinding and issued a report that calls on the government and other actors to address the widespread, systematic sexual violence and other sexual and human rights violations faced by thousands of Nigerian girls and women due to the Boko Haram insurgency.
We had another record-breaking year in financial growth during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, allowing us to expand our impact around the world. Total revenue raised was $37.37 million – a 14% increase over the previous year. Seventy-five percent of our expenses went directly to program.
*Based on the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), our audited financial statements for fiscal year 2020 reported total net assets at the close of the fiscal year were $40.9 million and the total recognized revenue was $31.4 million.
Through our Pro Bono Program, we worked with 822 dedicated attorneys in 46 countries on over 270 matters this fiscal year. They contributed a total of $27.3M in legal services and strengthened our work around the world. We are deeply grateful to our pro bono partners and their enduring commitment to our mission, year after year.
Everything we do is made possible through the generosity of the friends and partners who share our vision and commitment. Your investment in the Center’s mission and work supported the achievements described in this report, as well as many other victories. Thank you for helping us to protect and advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the globe.
Amy Metzler Ritter, Chair
Nancy Northup, President & CEO
Joseph Stern, Vice Chair
J.B. Kittredge, Treasurer
Lorraine Clasquin, Secretary
Heidi Fugeman Lindelof, Assistant Secretary
Kathleen Tait, Assistant Secretary
David H. Hoffman
Janice Mac Avoy
Karla L. Martin
Michele Coleman Mayes
Mary E. Rubin