Tuesday, June 12, 2012
(In the current climate in the US we need more women like this to help push back on the war on women.)
Merle Hoffman was born in Philadelphia March 6, 1946 and raised in New York City. She is a legendary women’s rights activist, an award winning journalist, political organizer and health care pioneer. Since the early 1970s, she’s fought on the front lines of the war against women, standing up against anti-choice activists since before Roe v. Wade was passed. In 1971, Hoffman helped found one of America’s first ambulatory abortion centers: the Flushing Women’s Medical Center in New York, since renamed Choices Women’s Medical Center.
Under Hoffman’s leadership, the center has expanded to offer a comprehensive range of both reproductive and primary care services. The medical center is founded under the vision of “Patient Power,” a term Hoffman coined, which is a philosophy grounded in knowledge and education, empowering all patients in the health care system.
She is also the co-founder of the National Abortion Federation, a professional association of abortion providers, and founder of the New York Pro-Choice Coalition, the first umbrella organization of pro-choice individuals and organizations committed to ensuring legal, safe abortion in New York. Hoffman is publisher and editor-in-chief of On the Issues magazine, an online feminist magazine of independent, critical thinking.
In an historic joint venture with the Yelstin Government she worked on developing the first feminist outpatient medical center in Russia as well as organizing Russian Feminists to deliver an open letter to Boris Yeltsin on the state of women's health care. As an activist and organizer, Hoffman was co-founder of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), founder of the New York Pro-Choice Coalition, and organized the first pro-choice civil disobedience action at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. She is a frequent media guest and speaker, including at the 1995 International Women’s Conference in Beijing. She co-produced the documentary film, “Abortion: A Different Light," and produced and hosted a thirty minute cable TV show entitled "MH: On The Issues." In 2002, she was appointed to the National Advisory Board of American Philosophical Practitioners Association. Her archives were acquired by Duke University in 2002 and are a major part of the Sally Bingham Center's women's History papers. Hoffman has been honored for her work by the Department of Corrections of New York City, National Organization for Women (NOW), Women's Health Care Services, Ecovisions, Community Action Network, the National Victim's Center, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Veteran Feminists of America, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, and others. Hoffman writes frequently on topics related to women, politics and medical care, including for the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Journal of American Women's Associations, in addition to her groundbreaking interviews and editorials in On The Issues Magazine.
Today, she continues to serve as the CEO of Choices, now one of the nation’s largest women’s medical facilities. The legacy of Hoffman’s work and the work she continues to this day has had an immeasurable impact on women’s rights.