A Note from the Editors

The time is now. Will you stand up for reproductive health and rights?

First published online:

The Guttmacher Policy Review and its readers recently suffered a tremendous blow. On December 24, 2006, at the age of 38, one of our most prolific and accomplished authors, Cynthia Dailard, died suddenly. Trained as a lawyer and seasoned through her work on Capitol Hill and in the White House, Cynthia, who joined the Guttmacher Institute’s policy staff in 1998, was a disciplined, rigorous analyst and a compelling communicator. She seamlessly blended an authoritative knowledge of research—and an inherent feel for the power it can have in policy formulation—with an insider’s understanding of the policy-making process.

Cynthia was the Institute’s chief policy analyst on issues related to domestic family planning programs, sex education and teenagers’ sexual behavior. Over the course of eight years, she proved herself a powerful, determined advocate, bent on moving a positive sexual and reproductive health agenda forward even in the most difficult political environment. Much of her work, and her writings, revolved around efforts to sustain and expand the reach of publicly subsidized family planning programs serving disadvantaged women, and to ensure the coverage of contraception in health insurance plans. At the same time, she pushed us to think and to stretch in new directions, often anticipating policy opportunities or trends before they were widely recognized. Some of her recent writings, for example, explored the logistic hurdles to providing widespread cervical cancer vaccination, and she painstakingly documented the increasingly restrictive definition of sexual abstinence being articulated quietly, in drips and drabs, by the federal government.

Cynthia Dailard was also a beloved colleague and friend. It is, therefore, not only with respect and admiration but also with abiding affection that we dedicate this issue to her, in her memory and her honor. The compilation on page 17 is excerpted from six of Cynthia’s most influential articles and provides an overview of her thoughts on some of the issues dearest to her. We hope these parting words will educate, illuminate, inspire.
—Cory L. Richards and Adam Sonfield