Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

A Tribute to Cynthia Dailard

The Board of Directors and staff of the Guttmacher Institute mourn the loss of our distinguished colleague, Cynthia Dailard, who died suddenly on December 24, 2006, at age 38.

Spearheading the Institute's policy work on critical issues related to domestic family planning programs, sex education and teenagers' sexual behavior for eight years, Cynthia was a gifted and passionate voice both internally and within the larger sexual and reproductive health community. A lawyer who championed women's rights and advocated for public health, she was also driven by an abiding concern for human relationships, intimacy and commitment, and for sexual and reproductive health within this broader context.

Cynthia pushed us to think deeply and to stretch in new directions. She often anticipated policy concerns and opportunities before they were widely recognized. Some of her recent writings, for example, explored the logistic hurdles to providing widespread cervical cancer vaccination, a restrictive definition of sexual abstinence newly articulated by the federal government, and the sexual and reproductive health implications of marriage promotion efforts. Some of her best-known work revolved around federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which, she argued, are out of touch with teenagers' sexual behavior and thus harmful to young people.

A wife and mother of two young girls, Cynthia also helped the Institute to live up to its own mission to support the full range of reproductive choices by successfully advocating for a significant expansion of our parental leave policy.

Cynthia's critical thinking, creative insights and superb advocacy will be acutely missed by all of us at Guttmacher and by the sexual and reproductive health community she served with such dedication and skill.

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