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Reprod Health Matters. 2007 May;15(29):119-29.

Building coalitions to support women's health and rights in the United States: South Carolina and Florida.

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Women's Health and Human Rights Initiative, Clinical Population and Family and Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA. <>


There is a health care crisis in the United States and women, particularly low-income women and women of colour, are paying the price. The politicisation of pregnancy, sexuality and women's reproductive rights has created a uniquely contradictory situation in many states. Policymakers are working to control women's reproductive choices and sexuality, and restricting sex education, but doing little to address the overall lack of access to quality reproductive health care. This article describes a new reproductive rights advocacy model that was implemented starting in 2003 in two US states, South Carolina and Florida. In-depth research on the status of reproductive health and rights in each state, analysed by race, economic status, county and state policy initiatives relevant to women's health, showed that in both states access to contraception and abortion, cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment, HIV/AIDS-related care and pregnancy care were poor, with African American and Hispanic women faring even worse than white women. Implementing the advocacy model involved identifying and bringing together a diverse set of health care professionals, academics and activists who formed coalitions and are now working together and developing advocacy strategies in support of policies to improve access to reproductive health care and protect reproductive rights in both states.

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