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Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy

Sharon G. Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy, joined the Center in June 2012, and oversees the Center's work on reproductive health law and policy at the national level. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Levin was Vice President and General Counsel at the National Abortion Federation; a consultant for NARAL Pro-Choice America; and Director of Advocacy at the Washington Area Women's Foundation. Ms. Levin was also Co-Chief Counsel to Senator Charles E. Schumer and Special Assistant for Women's Issues and Legislative Counsel to Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey. Ms. Levin is an Adjunct Professor at American University's Washington College of Law, and holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and a B.A. in history from Columbia University.

My Take

“A Battle for Our Identity”: Energizing the Fight Over the Hyde Amendment

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: April 21, 2015 at 04:31 pm

A very important debate has been raging in the Senate over the past couple of weeks — one that could be critical to the fight to over-turn the Hyde Amendment* thus ensuring that all women get access to abortion despite their income or source of insurance.

As you may know, the Senate Anti-Trafficking bill was stalled because the bill contained an abortion restriction that would have kept the women helped by the bill from being able to get abortions. This provision would have extended the Hyde Amendment onto a fund made up solely of fines from offenders — the first time the restriction would have been applied to a fund made-up solely of non-tax-payer dollars.

Several women’s health champions in the Senate, including Senators Harry Reid, Patty Murray, Patrick Leahy and Diane Feinstein, took to the Senate floor to decry this restriction. “A bill intended to help women should help women,” Senator Murray stated.

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Murphy Brown: Stepping Out of Our TV Sets and Into Reality

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: March 24, 2015 at 11:14 am

While all four of the finalists in the Women’s History Month March Madness Bracket are deserving of the win, Murphy Brown did something that none of the others have ever done… for several months in 1992 she stepped out of our TV sets and into reality. And for that reason, she may be the most important woman fictional character ever on TV.

For those of you who don’t remember, when Murphy Brown debuted in 1988, the eponymous main character of the show (played by Candice Bergen) was someone we’d never seen before on our TV sets. A successful television news anchor, in some ways she was just the next evolution in the line of characters started by Diahann Carroll and Mary Tyler Moore — women who weren’t defined by their relationships with a man but by their careers. But where Julia was a maternal nurse working for a kind male doctor, and Mary was a spunky TV producer working for a gruff male news chief, Murphy was neither maternal nor spunky and she didn’t work for anyone. She was the boss — in reality if not in name.

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Tags: Social Media |

Quiz: And The Oscar Goes To...Movies About Abortion

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: January 14, 2015 at 11:33 am

This year’s Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 15th.  Like many feminist movie fans, I’ll be waiting to learn which movies that I loved — those featuring strong and interesting women — have garnered a nomination.  Obvious Child, the romantic comedy in which Jenny Slate’s character has an abortion, was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards this year and although a very long-shot for the Oscars, made several “Best of 2014” lists.  

While we are waiting to learn which movies have a chance for the golden statuette, here is a quiz about some movies that include women having abortions that have either been nominated for or won Oscars in the past: 

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The Hobby Lobby Decision Takes a Fundamentally Flawed Approach to Reproductive Health

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: October 16, 2014 at 10:50 am

It is hard to underestimate the potential impact of the Supreme Court’s decision Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on women’s equality. That is the case in which the Court held that some for-profit corporations could refuse to provide health insurance coverage of birth control for their employees despite the federal contraceptive coverage law that required it. The Court’s decision, at heart, is rooted in a very old and very outdated misunderstanding about women. And that is the idea that women’s reproductive health is somehow “extra,” “different,” or “separate.” This fundamentally wrong assumption about women’s reproductive health has been used for ages to take away women’s rights. By reinforcing this dangerous approach to women’s reproductive health, the Court has put all aspects of women’s rights at risk. Here’s how it works:

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Abortion Restrictions Can Make it Harder to Leave Violent Relationships: What the New Study Means for Our Current Policy Fights

Posted by Sharon Levin, Director of Federal Reproductive Health Policy | Posted on: October 02, 2014 at 12:35 pm

You may have already read about the first-of-its-kind study that documents the connection between denials of abortion and intimate partner violence.  Now it is up to us to use this important new evidence in the fight to stop bad abortion laws at the state and federal levels.

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