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Nancy Northup

Center for Reproductive Rights

Nancy Northup is the President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a nonprofit, legal advocacy organization that promotes and defends reproductive rights worldwide. She is an attorney with extensive experience in constitutional impact litigation, criminal law, and reproductive rights advocacy.

From 1996 to 2002, Ms. Northup was the Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she litigated a wide range of electoral reform cases and promoted equal participation rights in our democratic processes. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, she was a consulting attorney with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. From 1989 to 1996, she prosecuted federal crimes as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and served as Deputy Chief of Appeals.

Since joining the Center for Reproductive Rights, Ms. Northup has served as key strategist in both domestic and international litigation. Under her leadership the Center has taken on bold cases in the U.S. and abroad. In just the past two years, the Center has, among many other victories, filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its failure to make emergency contraception available over the counter, successfully challenged an outrageous Kansas law that would have required all sexual activity of minors under sixteen to be reported to the state, and defeated the first ever federal abortion ban before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Directed by Ms. Northup, the Center has also broken new ground internationally, winning the first abortion case ever considered by the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The case, K.L. v. Peru, established that access to abortion, where legal, is a basic human right. The Center also spearheaded an International Litigation Advisory Committee, made up of reproductive and human rights experts from all over the world, to develop innovative new strategies to promote reproductive freedom in countries around the world.

Ms. Northup taught constitutional law at NYU as an adjunct professor. She currently teaches a seminar at Columbia Law School on reproductive health and human rights and has trained lawyers in litigation strategy in the Philippines, Nigeria and Bulgaria.

Ms. Northup graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and from Columbia Law School, where she was a Kent Scholar and Managing Editor of the Columbia Law Review. She served as a law clerk to the Hon. Alvin B. Rubin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

All Work

Rewriting Science Fiction: Politics Out of Plan B

Nancy Northup

The FDA, under Dr. Margaret Hamburg's leadership, should take a fresh look at the agency's over-the-counter policy on Plan B to ensure that the policy is based on medical evidence, not ideology. Update 3/24/09: Court rules in favor of evidence!

Because of, Not In Spite of, My Faith

Nancy Northup

It's human nature to want everyone to agree with one's religion or personal moral code. But I also accept that there will always be vast differences among religious and secular perspectives on life. And I believe that government should not help me or anyone else spread our religious beliefs.

The Supreme Test: Will the Roberts-Led Court Follow Established Law And Protect Women’s Health?

Nancy Northup

Nancy Northup is the President of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

We have been down this road before. And we really shouldn't be going down this road again. Let me start with this term, "Partial-Birth Abortion." There is no such medical procedure as "Partial-Birth Abortion." It is a political soundbite.

The Center for Reproductive Rights brings cases[img_assist|nid=1353|title=Special Series|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=89|height=100] both in the United States and around the world and works with women's health advocates to strengthen laws protecting women's reproductive health. And we don't deal with this issue of "Partial-Birth abortion" anywhere else in the world. And that is because it was created as a political soundbite here, for American politics.

This case is about second-trimester abortions. That is all that this case is about. Second-trimester abortions. Babies are not born in the second trimester. Third trimester abortions are outlawed in most states around the United States, as long as there is a constitutional protection for women's life and health. So this is not about babies about to be born.